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Spanish 21 Review

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Overview

Spanish 21 is one of many variations on the classic game of Blackjack.

While there are many similarities between standard Blackjack and Spanish 21, there are also some substantial differences. Spanish 21 uses what’s called a “Spanish” deck. This is a deck of cards that has had the 10 of each suit removes (leaving the Royal cards that are all valued at 10 in Blackjack). As ten valued cards benefit the player more than the dealer in Blackjack (they contribute to Blackjacks, help when doubling and make the dealer bust more often) the removal of these cards is a bad thing for players.

To compensate for this the player is given a number of additional benefits that they do not usually have when playing Blackjack. Firstly a player Blackjack (Ace and a Ten) always beats a dealer Blackjack and a player 21 beats a dealer 21. The player can also Double and Surrender on any number of cards rather than only on the first two cards.

Alongside this the player is offered a number of bonuses on certain hand combinations;

  • 7 or more card 21 pays 3 to 1.
  • 6 card 21 pays 2 to 1.
  • 5 card 21 pays 3 to 2.
  • 6-7-8 of mixed suit pays 3 to 2.
  • 7-7-7 suited with dealer 7 face-up pays 50 to 1.
  • 7-7-7 of Spades pays 3 to 1.
  • 6-7-8 of Spades pay 3 to 1.
  • 7-7-7 suited pays 2 to 1.
  • 6-7-8 of Spades pays 3 to 1.

Spanish21 has an optimum strategy – of Basic Strategy – presented in a similar fashion to Blackjack. This includes a strategy for playing both before and after a Double.

Player’s Hand Dealer’s Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A
5-7 H H H H D H H H H H
8 H H H D D H H H H H
9 H D3 D D D H H H H H
10 D4 D4 D D D D4 D4 H H H
11 D3 D4 D4 D4 D4 D4 D4 D3 D2 D2
12 H H H H H H H H H H
13 H H H H S3* H H H H H
14 H H S3* S4* S5* H H H H H
15 S3* S4* S5 S5 S H H H H H
16 S5 S5 S5 S S H H H H R
17 S S S S S S S5 S5 S5 R
18+ S S S S S S S S S S
A2 H D2 D D D H H H H H
A3 H D2 D3 D D H H H H H
A4 H H D3 D3 D4 H H H H H
A5 H H D2 D3 D4 H H H H H
A6 H H D2 D3 D4 H H H H H
A7 S3 S3 D3 D4 D5 S5 S3 H H H
A8 S S S S S S S S S5 S5
A9 S S S S S S S S S S
22 P P P P P P P H H H
33 P P P P P P P H H H
44 H H H D D H H H H H
55 D D D D D D D H H H
66 H H P P P H H H H H
77 P P P P P P* H H H H
88 P P P P P P P P P R
99 S P P P P S P P S S
TT S S S S S S S S S S
AA P P P P P P P P P P
H Hit
S Stand
S3* Stand on 3 cards or fewer *unless 6-7-8 bonus is possible
S4* Stand on 4 cards or fewer *unless 6-7-8 bonus is possible
S5* Stand on 5 cards or fewer *unless 6-7-8 bonus is possible
D Double else Hit
D2 Double on 2 cards
D3 Double on 3 cards or fewer
D4 Double on 4 cards or fewer
D5 Double on 5 cards or fewer
P Split *unless suited 7s are possible
R Surrender

Post Double Strategy

Player’s Hand Dealer’s Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A
7 D D D D D D R R R R
8 D D D D D D D D R R
9 D D D D D D D D D D
10 D D D D D D D D D D
11 D D D D D D D D D D
12 S S S S S D D R R R
13 S S S S S S R R R R
14 S S S S S S R R R R
15 S S S S S S R R R R
16 S S S S S S R R R R
17 S S S S S S S S S R
18+ S S S S S S S S S S
A2 D D D D D D D D D D
A3 D D D D D D D D D D
A4 D D D D D D D D D D
A5 D D D D D D D D D D
A6 D D D D D D D D D D
A7 S S D D D S S S S S
A8 S S S S S S S S S S
S Stand
D Double else Hit
R Surrender

There are some rule variations available online that would result in some deviations from the Basic Strategy shown above. For the Basic Strategy for other rule sets see (COMING SOON!!)

The House Edge for Spanish 21 is generally around 0.35% when defined in terms of the average bet rather than the initial wager.

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