Spanish 21 is a variation of blackjack owned by Masque Publishing that is located in Colorado. Other versions of this game can be referred to as Spanish blackjack. Pontoon that is widespread in some countries is very similar to Spanish 21. However significant differences in the rules do not allow considering them to be one and the same game.
Six or eight 48-card Spanish decks without four tens are used in Spanish 21. This increases the house edge, but the democratic rules and numerous bonus payouts equalize the chances. Moreover, in some cases, this game is even more beneficial for the player than the classic blackjack. It is possible to play it at any blackjack table, using the same equipment.
Aim of the Game
The aim of Spanish 21 is to beat the dealer by collecting twenty-one points or the hand whose score is as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it.
The value of cards in Spanish 21 is similar to their values in blackjack.
Number of Players
The maximum number of players is determined by the quantity of boxes at the table. However players can make combined bets on one box without exceeding the upper betting limit.
As soon as all players have made bets, the croupier deals the cards according to the principles adopted in blackjack. He deals himself two cards. One of them is dealt face up. If this card is an ace or ten-value card, the dealer checks the hole card, finding out whether he has blackjack or not. If he has blackjack, all bets of the players (except for the boxes with blackjack) immediately lose.
Players may hit, if desired. If the player has blackjack, this box is paid immediately. When all the players have made their final decisions, the dealer reveals his second card and, if necessary, hits until he gets at least 17. The dealer usually stands on a soft 17. If the dealer busts, he loses, and all the boxes are paid. In other cases, the cards of the dealer and players are compared with each other.
If the player has a total of 21, he or she will always beat the dealer with the same score. If both the player and the dealer have blackjack, the player always wins. The winning boxes are paid 1:1. Blackjack is paid 3:2. There are also special payouts for certain hands.
- The five-card hand whose score is 21 is paid 3:2.
- 6, 7, 8 of different suits is paid 3:2.
- 7, 7, 7 of different suits is paid 3:2.
- The six-card hand whose score is 21 is paid 2:1.
- 6, 7, 8 of one suit (except for spades) is paid 2:1.
- 7, 7, 7 of one suit (except for spades) is paid 2:1.
- The seven-card hand (and more) whose score is 21 is paid 3:1.
- 6, 7, 8 of spades is paid 3:1.
- 7, 7, 7 of spades is paid 3:1.
Some casinos also provide a super bonus whose size reaches one thousand dollars for the bets that don't exceed twenty-five dollars and five thousand dollars for the bets that exceed twenty-five dollars. It is paid out for three sevens of one suit if the dealer has a seven. It is interesting to note that the other players at the table receive fifty dollars in this situation.
Bonus payouts are valid even for the hands, which has been formed as a result of the split. However they are not paid out if the player has doubled his bet or split cards.
Additional rules that common for most types of blackjack are available for players. However they have some peculiarities.
- Split - It is allowed to split up to four times per box. There are no additional restrictions for a split of aces. A 21 formed as a result of the split is not considered to be blackjack.
- Double - It is allowed to double on any number of points and cards. It is also possible to double after a split, including the split of aces.
- Surrender - It is allowed to surrender on any player's cards and any dealer's upcard if the dealer does not have blackjack. It is also possible to fold after a double. In this case, the dealer collects the initial bet, and the player receives the chips that he or she has used to double.
- Insurance - Insurance is paid 2:1.
Various variations of rules for Spanish 21 can be found at different casinos.
- Six or eight decks are used.
- The dealer hits on a soft 17.
- It is allowed to double several times (up to three).
- The split of aces may be limited.
- The opportunity to surrender may be limited.
- Blackjack can be formed after a split.
- It may be allowed to double only when the player has two initial cards.
Sometimes there is an opportunity to make a side bet on the fact that the player's and dealer's cards will match. If one or two of the first player's cards match the dealer's cards, the bet is paid in accordance with a multiplier established by the rules. Payouts depend on the number of decks involved in the game and on the fact whether the cards match completely (rank and suit) or partially (only rank).
Data on the house edge for those who play in accordance with the basic strategy are provided (without taking into account the super bonus).
- If the dealer stands on a soft 17, the house edge is 0.37% (six decks) and 0.38% (eight decks).
- If the dealer hits on a soft 17 and it is allowed to redouble, the house edge is 0.42% (six decks) and 0.45% (eight decks).
- If the dealer hits on a soft 17 and it is prohibited to redouble, the house edge is 0.78% (six decks) and 0.8% (eight decks).
It is also important to note that insurance is extremely unprofitable for players. Taking into account the fact there are no tens in a Spanish deck, only three cards out of twelve can lead to the formation of the dealer's blackjack. So, the probability of its formation is 25%. However insurance is paid 2:1. Therefore, the house edge in this case is almost 25%.
The basic strategy for Spanish 21 differs from the version intended for the classic blackjack and deserves the detailed consideration in a separate article. This game is considered to be suitable for those who like card counting due to democratic rules. This fact is discussed in other publications on the portal Casinoz.