Spanish 21

Blackjack School

First introduced in Nevada back in 1995, this recent blackjack variant has quickly become one of the most popular blackjack variants as it provides players with a faster game that is both action-packed and gives players a greater chance of winning.

Origin of Spanish 21

The game was invented by a casino employee who was in search of a faster and more exciting blackjack game. The game was bought by Masque Publishing, a company located in Colorado, USA and they are the only ones that can issue licenses to use the game.

Similar unlicensed versions can be sometimes called Spanish Blackjack and in Australia the game received some rule changes and was renamed Australian Pontoon.

The name of the game can make a lot of people mistake it for a Spanish or Latin American game, but it is in fact completely an American creation. The reason it is called Spanish is because the game makes use of a "Spanish deck" that excludes all natural 10's thus making it a 48 cards deck.

Changes to House Edge

Any blackjack player knows that the more 10's in the deck, the better are their chances of beating the dealer. In fact card counters consider a shoe that is loaded with 10's (natural and unnatural) to be a positive deck for the player so the player should make bigger bets.

Removing all the natural 10's from the deck increases the house edge but the special rules and special bonus payments bring it back down again and make this a favorable game for the player with a house edge of 0.40% when dealer stands on soft 17 and 0.42% when dealer hits on soft 17 but redoubling is allowed.

In some land and online casinos it would benefit the player more to play Spanish 21 rather than blackjack, but that of course is depended on the blackjack rules and house edge in the casino of your choice.

Spanish 21 Rules

  • The game uses six or eight decks of 48 cards each (a 52 cards deck with the four 10's removed). The cards can be drawn from a shoe or a continuous shuffling machine (CSM).
  • Splitting all pairs – there are no restrictions on splitting pairs. Splitting aces is also allowed.
  • Re-splitting Aces is allowed.
  • Player may hit or double down after splitting aces.
  • Doubling after split allowed.
  • A player's 21 beats the dealer's 21.
  • Player's blackjack beats dealer's blackjack.
  • Late Surrender allowed.
  • Double Down Rescue allowed – players can surrender after doubling down, losing only their original bet.
  • Player can double down after any number of cards.
Bonus 21

Reaching a total hand value of 21 can award the player a special bonus payout as follows:

Cards Suit Payout
5 Cards Mixed Suit 3:2
6 Cards Mixed Suit 2:1
7 or More Cards Mixed Suit 3:1
6-7-8 Mixed Suit 3:2
6-7-8 Same Suit 2:1
6-7-8 Just Spades 3:1
7-7-7 Mixed Suit 3:2
7-7-7 Same Suit 2:1
7-7-7 Just Spades 3:1

Super Bonus

When playing Spanish 21 a player can receive a Super Bonus if they are holding 7-7-7 of the same suit and the dealer draws a 7 of any suit.

Bets from $5 to $24 usually pay a Super Bonus of $1000 and bets of $25 and over pay a Super Bonus of $5000.

Different casinos may have their own Super Bonus paytable so it is advised to check before you start playing. In most casinos splitting or doubling voids the Super Bonus.

Envy Bonus

When one player hits the Super Bonus, all other players at the table get an Envy Bonus of $50 each.

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