28 Aug

What’s so Great about Spanish Blackjack?

Should you play online Spanish 21 instead of Classic Blackjack?

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 align.

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, or 25%.

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 effects.

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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