Spanish 21, also known as Spanish Blackjack or sometimes Super 21, is a popular variation of blackjack that has many interesting features – as well as increased payouts!
However, if you’re used to playing classic blackjack then there are several differences you need to be aware of.
In this guide, I will teach you everything you need to know about playing Spanish 21, including the rules, gameplay, and some crucial strategy tips to help improve your returns right from your very first hand.
Spanish 21 vs Blackjack – What’s the Difference?
The rules of Spanish 21 are very similar to those of regular blackjack; however, there are some major differences – many of which are beneficial to you!
- All 10’s have been removed from the deck, but not the face cards. This makes it slightly easier for the dealer to beat the player as they stand less chance of going bust when forced to hit on 16 or less.
- You will have the option to surrender and receive half your bet back. However, only “late surrender” is allowed, meaning you can do this only after the dealer has checked for Blackjack.
- You can double down on any number of cards – not just after the first two.
- Double down after split is always allowed. This is a big advantage when you have a pair of aces against a weaker dealer card.
- Re-splitting Aces is also allowed.
- The player wins if both player and dealer get any 21 (including a natural Blackjack).
How to Play
When playing Spanish 21, the basic objective is the same as other blackjack variations.
Your aim is to beat the dealer by either getting a higher total than them or having a score of 21 without going over. If you go over 21 you will bust and lose your bet, regardless of what the dealer has.
First, each player must make their initial bet, and then both the player and dealer will be dealt two cards. Your cards will both be face up, the dealer will have one card face up (the up card) and the other face down (the hole card).
The player can then choose to stand or hit (draw an additional card) if they have less than 21. Once the player has finished their turn, it is then the dealer’s turn to hit until they reach 17 or above. If the dealer goes over 21, then the player will win.
Odds & Payouts
In any other blackjack version, if you get 21 (and the dealer does not) you are paid out at even money.
But in Spanish 21, not only does a total of 21 automatically win, there are additional payouts available if you achieve this total in specific ways.
The odds for Spanish 21 are as follows:
- 21 with 3 cards valued 6, 7, 8 pays: 3:2
- 21 with 3 cards valued 7, 7, 7 pays 3:2
- If either of the above is suited pays 2:1
- If either of the above is suited in spades pays 3:1
- 21 with 5 cards pays 3:2
- 21 with 6 cards pays 2:1
- 21 with 7 cards pays 3:1
Using blackjack perfect strategy alongside some specific adaptations for Spanish 21 will bring the house edge for this game down to as little as 0.4%.
When playing Spanish 21, it is important to remember a few key strategy tips which may be different from other versions of blackjack.
- Split 2s and 3s against dealer 2-8
- Split 6s against dealer 4-6
- Split 7s against dealer 2-7
- Split 9s against dealer 3-6, 8 and 9
- Always split Aces and 8s
- Double on 9 against dealer 6
- Double on 10 against dealer 2-8
- Double on 11 always
- Double soft 17 and soft 18 against dealer 4-6
- Hit any other total of 13 or lower
- Hit 14 against dealer 2,3 or 7-A
- Hit 15 and 16 against dealer 7-A
- Hit soft 17 unless doubling (see above)
- Hit soft 18 against dealer 9-A
- Surrender 17 against dealer A
- Otherwise stand
This Spanish 21 strategy will give you the best results in games where the dealer stands soft 17. Like most other versions of blackjack, this is the most beneficial rule to the player.
Spanish 21 is an exciting variation of blackjack that offers an opportunity for bigger payouts without the need to take side bets.
The removal of 10s from the deck seems strange at first and does interfere with standard blackjack basic strategy, however if you follow the Spanish 21 strategy adaptations above you will more than compensate for this rule change and you should be able to get better returns.
Spanish 21 is potentially the best bet in the entire casino – the game with the lowest house edge if played correctly. That’s why most brick-and-mortar casinos don’t offer it, and you’ll struggle to find it on the Vegas strip!
However, there are some good online blackjack apps and websites that offer Spanish 21. So if and when you do find this game, I would certainly recommend you give it a try.
Last Updated on December 28, 2022