Spanish 21 is not a game that has a long history - unlike some other popular casino games, it doesn't date back to Roman times, or even to the 1700's or 1800's. It's a game that was designed to play off of Blackjack, but has never entered brick and mortar casinos since it was designed to be played online and as a computer software game only. Spanish 21 gets its name because it is played with what is referred to as a "Spanish" deck of cards; it's a 48-card deck. The deck of cards used isn't any different from a normal 52-card deck, it simply has 4 tens removed.
Whether players choose to play the game online or on another computer software, the basic principles of Spanish 21 are the same. It uses the same general rules as regular Blackjack, in terms of forming hands and the value of cards, but the strategy used in this game is slightly different from the classic game that so many players are familiar with. Since the game uses only 48-cards, with the 10 cards removed, Spanish 21 would give the house a greater edge if it were played according to the same rules as Blackjack. For that reason, the rule vary, the bonuses are added, and the payoffs are even better in some scenarios. For example, while in Blackjack players must have a hand of 21 in order to guarantee a win over the dealer, in Spanish 21 it's only necessary to have the larger hand, and even if both the player and the dealer have a hand of 21, the advantage is given to the player.
Spanish 21 was designed as an alternative to Blackjack for players who had grown tired of this classic game, it's been adopted by many casinos online because with this game, it's not possible for players to gain an advantage by trying the counting card strategy, and it offers something that's fresh and different!
Here are some ways the Spanish 21 varies from Blackjack in terms of rules and strategies:
- In Blackjack, if the player and the dealer both have a Blackjack, the dealer always wins increasing the house edge. In Spanish 21, it always goes to the player
- In Spanish 21 players can double and there are no limitations based on the value of cards that they have
- It's always wise to use a double down after aces have been split. However, online casinos and brick and mortar casinos do not always allow this strategy to be used.
- If a player hits after splitting aces, they are able to pull themselves from the hand - however, they do forfeit half their bet
- Casinos may allow re-doubling up to 3 times per round
- A late surrender is allowed in the first 2 cards in Spanish 21, which gives players an increase advantage, and a Double Down rescue is allowed as well!
- When a player doubles down, the doubled portion of the bet can be surrendered if players aren't satisfied with their hand and it hasn't busted. They sacrifice the bet and rescue the original one
- Bonuses are available to players who have 21 with specific combinations if the hand was not doubled
Spanish 21 was a game that originated online, but it has been embraced by other brick and mortar casinos as well. So, if you're growing tired of Blackjack, this is a great variation to play that uses many of the principles but gives players a better advantage!