The traditional Blackjack game is a basic staple of virtually every casino floor on the planet. However, for those who’ve grown a bit bored with the classic deck game — there are many interesting Blackjack variants out there. And among them, there’s rarely one as thrilling and volatile as Spanish 21! So if you want to learn the top 10 secrets of winning at Spanish 21 — read on below!
Understanding the Basics
While the rules of Blackjack are familiar to most avid gamblers, playing Spanish 21 is somewhat different. And if you take a seat at the table expecting to pick the rules up as you play along — you’ll soon find yourself burning through your bankroll. To put it simply, Spanish 21 is a Blackjack variant, but with a different number of cards.
Of course, it’s more complicated than that, and the first rule you need to learn is that you’re not playing with a classic 52 card deck. In Spanish 21, all of the tens are absent — which means you’re playing with 48 card Spanish decks. While this raises the house edge, that difference is offset by a set of super bonuses. These make the game attractive to players who like Blackjack, but are also in the mood for a bigger thrill.
Rules That Benefit the Player
There are quite a few reasons why players with enough Blackjack experience opt for a Spanish 21 table instead. For one — in Blackjack, you can only double down on your initial wager after the first two cards. But in Spanish 21, doubling down is an option after any number of cards. Also, while hitting, splitting, and standing work the same way they do in Blackjack, there are subtle differences. For example, a player may split up to four hands, including splitting on aces. There’s also the ‘late surrender’ — an option which allows players to relinquish their hand at all times, in exchange for half of the bet.
However, the crucial difference is that the player’s 21 is worth more than the dealer’s. In Blackjack, a tie between the dealer and the player means all bets are returned. But in Spanish 21, the player wins in case of a tie. Besides that, Spanish 21 offers a lot of attractive bonuses to its players. You’ll find that a five card 21 pays out 3:2, as well as a 7-7-7 of mixed suits or a 6-7-8. And if you happen upon a suited 7-7-7, you win a super bonus of $1000 or $5000, depending on the size the wager.
Rules That Increase the House Edge
Naturally, there are player drawbacks to the changes Spanish 21 introduces to Blackjack. Firstly, Spanish 21 is usually played with six to eight decks and the dealer who generally hits soft 17. The fact that the Spanish decks have no 10 cards actually increases the house edge by around 2%. Although, with an optimal strategy, the house advantage is actually smaller than in a usual Blackjack game that uses the same rules on whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17.
Card Counting Won’t Do You Much Good
Also, the increased value of the small cards brought about by the 21 bonuses means one crucial thing — card counts are far less lucrative than in normal Blackjack. Because of this, card counters are more prone to choosing the classic version of the game.
Find an Appropriate Strategy Chart
Many players avoid utilizing a strategy chart in their Blackjack games. But if you want to maximize the efficiency of your game and increase the chance of winning some money, using one is basically a must. Bear in mind, though — while Spanish 21 is a Blackjack variant and not a completely different game, the basic Blackjack strategy chart won’t do you much good here. The exclusion of the 10 spot cards, as well as the rules on the dealer standing or hitting on a soft 17, impact the strategy immensely. Considering all of this, you should get a strategy chart that’s optimized for Spanish 21 specifically.
Side Bets Are Not Your Friend
Much like a normal Blackjack game, Spanish 21 also offers a number of side bets. And one of these is Match the Dealer side bet, which the player wins if one of their first two cards coincide with the upcard of the dealer. The payout on this bet depends on the suits of the matching cards. If you want to play it safe, make sure to avoid this side bet.
If you’re playing Spanish 21 with 8 decks, Match the Dealer comes with a 2.99% house edge. Of course, if you’re playing this Blackjack variant because you can’t resist the possibility of huge payouts, this side bet is actually among the lowest when it comes to house edge. On the other hand, the insurance bet in Spanish 21 has a whooping 24.7% house edge on average.
Hitting More Often
When you’re sitting at a classic Blackjack table, drawing a new card carries the risk of a busted hand. And while that’s true for Spanish 21 as well, bear in mind that this is not as probable as you might think. The fact that the Spanish decks contain no 10 spot cards means that you can actually draw a new card more often, with a lower risk of a bust.
Not Surrendering as Much
Sitting at a Blackjack table can prepare you for Spanish 21 in many ways, but it can also hinder your performance. For example — people who have delved deep into Blackjack are prone to using the surrender option on more occasions in Spanish 21 as well. And more often than not, this is a mistake. Tying back into the lower number of 10-value cards, you should remember that it means you’re less likely to bust here than in Blackjack. Considering al this, don’t be as quick to surrender your bets in this game. This is just one of the many reasons you need to readjust the basic strategy you’ve grown accustomed to in the previous game.
Find the Rules That Fit You the Best
The underlying rules of Spanish 21 are largely the same everywhere; but as with most casino games, different establishments have their own specific policies that might impact your game. With that in mind, look for casinos that have a combination of Spanish 21 rules that might improve your chances against the house. For example, try to play in places where the dealers stand on a soft 17. Also, seeing as the game uses 6 to 8 decks. stick to tables that use 6. Lastly, seeing as the number of allowed redoubles also varies, three redoubles is what you’re after.
Remember to Enjoy the Game
Once you get into details of any card game, you may soon find yourself treating it more like a math exercise than something fun. And at its core, that’s what Spanish 21 is — a game. Which is why you should remember to focus on having an enjoyable experience, rather than simply trying to make money. If you don’t do this, you’ll face rising frustration and stress, and end up making rash decisions at the table. So, more importantly than anything else, keep your spirits high and your mind clear — the game will reward that.