Should you play online Spanish 21 instead of Classic Blackjack?
There are well over one hundred different variations of blackjack
available in today’s live and online casinos. Some are played with
traditional rules, while others deviate from the classic precedents.
Some offer bonus payouts just for placing a regular bet, whereas most
offer optional side bets that pay exceptional rewards if the cards
Classic Blackjack falls into the first category in
both regards, offering a traditional set of rules with a very basic
pay table. Spanish 21, on the other hand, falls into
numerous categories. It requires a special deck of cards, and offers
both bonus payouts and side bets. So which one is better for the
online blackjack player?
Play Online Spanish 21 or Classic Blackjack?
To answer this question, we have to take a close-up look at the
rules of both games, because they vary in many ways. As all blackjack
aficionados know, every rule effects the house edge in some way, for
better or worse.
In the case of Spanish 21, there’s a very important rule that must
be addressed right off the bat. The term Spanish defines the type of
deck in use. Spanish decks do not have any tens in them.
Therefore a Spanish 21 deck contains just 48 cards instead of 52; 12
different values instead of 13. And, as we all know, it takes a
10-value card to make a natural blackjack. Removing the 10s
diminishes the number of 10-value cards in a deck from 16 to 12,
thereby reducing the odds of players being dealt a blackjack by 1/4,
That’s a harsh rule, and one that has a devastating consequence on
the house edge – or rather, it would, if the game’s creators hadn’t
loaded it up with just enough player-friendly rules to counter the
Classic vs. Spanish Blackjack
| Rule Variations|| Spanish 21|| Classic Blackjack|
| Deck / Shoe Size|| 8 decks, no 10s|| 2-5 standard decks|
| Dealer Soft 17|| Hit|| Hit|
| Doubling|| Any 2 cards|| 9, 10 or 11|
| Splitting|| Up to 4 hands|| Up to 1-2 hands|
| Double after Split|| Yes|| No|
| Resplit Aces|| Yes|| No|
| Draw to Split Aces|| Yes|| Yes|
| Early Surrender|| Yes|| No|
| Late Surrender|| Yes|| No|
| Double Down Rescue|| Yes|| No|
| Peek for Blackjack|| Yes|| No|
| Tie for Blackjack|| Player wins|| Push|
| Player 21|| Player wins|| High hand wins|
| Blackjack pays|| 3 to 2|| 3 to 2|
| House Edge|| 0.42%|| 0.40%|
By these rules, the games have a lot of differences between them.
In the end, however, the house edge is almost exactly the same.
There’s that minuscule 0.02% variation that might make you want to
side with Classic Blackjack, but don’t forget about those bonus
payouts I mentioned earlier…
Spanish 21 Bonus Payouts
It’s extremely rare to come across a blackjack game that awards
players for being dealt special hands, without requiring any side bet
to be placed. Spanish 21 is among them. Players will receive bonus
pays ranging from 3:2 up to 50:1 (as a multiplier of the base bet)
for receiving any one of the following hands.
| Player / Dealer Hand Requirements|| Payout|
| Player’s first 3 cards are suited 777, Dealer has any 7 showing|| 50 : 1|
| Player’s first 3 cards are 6-7-8 or 7-7-7, all Spades|| 3 : 1|
| 7-card total of 21 exactly|| 3 : 1|
| Player’s first 3 cards are 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 in same suit (not
Spades)|| 2 : 1|
| 6-card total of 21 exactly|| 2 : 1|
| Player’s first 3 cards are 6-7-8 or 7-7-7, in mixed suits|| 3 : 2|
| 5-card total of 21 exactly|| 3 : 2|
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