Spanish 21 is a new variant of Blackjack that uses standard Spanish playing cards. Game play is the same as BlackJack with some rule changes and special payoffs for certain hands. A Spanish deck is the same as a regular deck except that the 10s are removed leaving only 48 cards per deck (the face cards remain). As any card counter knows, cards with a value of ten are beneficial to the player. The more ten value cards left in the dealing shoe, the greater the advantage to the player. By removing 25% of the ten value cards Spanish 21 is off to a bad start from a players perspective. To make up for this Spanish 21 offers a multitude of rules and special payoffs.
A player may double down on any number of cards.
A player can split pairs up to four hands, including resplitting Aces.
A player can hit or double down on split Aces.
Late Surrender is offered.
Spanish 21 uses the Double Down Rescue Rule. A player may surrender half of his bet after Doubling Down if he is unsatisfied with the resulting hand. (By taking the Double bet back while forfeiting the original bet.)
The dealer usually hits on a soft 17.
A players 21 always wins.
A players blackjack beats a dealers blackjack and still pays 3 to 2.
A five-card 21 pays 3:2.
A six-card 21 pays 2:1.
A seven+ card 21 pays 3:1.
A 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of mixed suits pays 3:2.
A 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of the same suit pays 2:1.
A 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of spades pays 3:1.
A 7-7-7 of the same suit when the dealer has a seven face up pays a special bonus of $1000 to $5000.
» BLACKJACK RULES
The special rules and payouts in Spanish 21 make basic strategy much more difficult to learn than Blackjack. Most casinos offering Spanish 21 make the Dealer hit on a soft 17. Under these conditions the House Advantage is just under 0.8% which is worse than almost all blackjack games. In games where the dealer stands on a Soft 17 the House Advantage drops to 0.4% which is better than almost all Blackjack games.
If you are interested in learning Spanish 21 strategy, we highly recommend Custom Strategy Cards. They have Spanish 21 and custom Blackjack Strategies for hundreds of US land casinos.