Spanish 21 just might be the most popular variant of blackjack ever created. You can find Spanish 21 in many casinos, both online and offline, and players seem to really enjoy the game. Spanish 21 is easy to learn and shares many similarities with blackjack although there are a couple of very significant differences. The game first made its appearance in Nevada casinos sometime around 1995. The actual license to the game belongs to Masque Publishing, Inc., a Colorado-based gaming publisher. It is not uncommon, however, to find unlicensed versions of the game in many Australian and Malaysian casinos.
One of the most important things to be aware of in Spanish 21 is that this game increases the house edge over the player. The reason for this is because all ten-valued cards are removed from the deck in Spanish 21. With no ten-valued cards in play it becomes far more difficult to make a total of 21.
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The Basics Of Spanish 21
Spanish 21 is very fast-paced. The game operates under the same basic rules as blackjack, but Spanish 21 entices the player with a few rule changes that appear to make the game easier to beat.
As we mentioned above, there are no ten-valued cards in the game of Spanish 21. All 10’s, J’s, Q’s, and K’s are removed from the deck. Each card in Spanish 21 is given its face value.
Otherwise, the rules of Spanish 21 are very similar to blackjack. The cards are dealt in the same manner, and the options available to the player and dealer are the same with some minor exceptions.
Spanish 21 Bonus Structure
The true hallmark of Spanish 21 is the bonus payouts associated with specific hands. This is the definitive difference between Spanish 21 and blackjack. In regular blackjack, players are paid even money on each winning hand except for a blackjack. A blackjack is paid off at 3-2 odds. In Spanish 21, hands that total 21 can qualify for a bonus payout according to the following table:
|5 Card Total of 21||3-2|
|6 Card Total of 21||2-1|
|7 or more Card Total of 21||3-1|
|6-7-8 of a mixed suit||3-2|
|6-7-8 of same suit||2-1|
|6-7-8 all spades||3-1|
|7-7-7 of a mixed suit||3-2|
|7-7-7 of same suit||2-1|
|7-7-7 all spades||3-1|
These bonuses are very enticing to the player, but they can also encourage the player to violate basic blackjack strategy in order to get a bonus payout. For example, basic blackjack strategy dictates that the player should stand on a total of 14 against a dealer’s 6. Many players will disregard this rule and hit their hand in an attempt to make a hand that qualifies for a bonus.
There is also a Super Bonus in most Spanish 21 games. This bonus is similar to other progressive jackpots offered in games such as Let It Ride or Three Card Poker. In order to hit the Spanish 21 Super Bonus and collect a huge payout a player must have hand which contains three 7’s of different suits. The dealer must also hold the remaining 7.
The rules for the Spanish 21 Super Bonus vary from casino to casino, but the basic structure is as follows:
Player Options In Spanish 21
Once the dealer has dealt all of the cards in Spanish 21, each player must act on their hand in accordance with the standard rules of blackjack. This means that a player may elect to hit, stand, double down, split, or even surrender their hand. There is, however, one option for the player which is not found in standard blackjack games.
This option is called the Double Down Rescue. When a hand is doubled down the player must place a new bet equal to his original wager on the table. The player is then given one additional card to improve their hand. In Spanish 21, if a player does not like the total of their doubled down hand they may elect to “rescue” their double down bet and surrender the hand. When this option is exercised the player forfeits the original wager on the hand but rescues the extra wager.
The Double Down Rescue might seem like a pretty good bet, and it does indeed cut the house edge a tad. What one must realize, however, is that exercising the Double Down Rescue still results in a loss of the original wager. In many cases it will be to the player’s advantage to simply stick with the doubled down hand and hope to beat the dealer.
Dealer Options In Spanish 21
After all cards have been dealt in a round of play the players always act on their hands first, unless the dealer shows an ace. If an ace shows the dealer will then check to see if he/she has blackjack. If the dealer has blackjack then the hand is over and everyone loses. If the dealer does not have blackjack, he/she must then act on their hand according to the following rules:
Note that in some casinos the dealer is required to hit what is known as a “soft” 17. This means that one of the dealer’s cards is an ace and that taking a hit cannot bust his hand. The rule forcing dealers to hit a soft 17 is designed to improve the house’s edge by essentially giving the dealer a free card. By hitting the soft 17 a dealer can only improve his/her hand, not bust it. When choosing to play Spanish 21 the player should avoid casinos which force the dealer to hit a soft 17.
Spanish 21 At Online Casinos
You will find many online casinos that offer the Spanish 21 variant of blackjack. The ones I have listed on this site are very good and you should have no problems playing spanish 21 for real money! Many also have began to offer casino games on the ipads, iphones & android OS devices (phones and tablets).