Spanish 21

spanish 21

Spanish 21 is a version of blackjack that offers more fun options and can pay a little better. It is most noted for its 48-card deck that leaves out 10s. But the possibilities it provides may play in your favor if you play it right. 

The game turned up in Nevada casinos in the 1990s, but its history dates back centuries when Spaniards used the smaller deck. It remained popular for years before coming to the US.

Soon after it hit tables in Las Vegas and Reno, a company called Masque Publishing Inc. copyrighted the game and its name. That is why the game appears in many online casinos under names like Spanish Blackjack, Pirate 21, or even Pontoon

These games have slight variations to the original Spanish 21, so it is essential to find the right game at the right casino. Our lineup of safe and trustworthy casinos has good Spanish 21 versions from top software providers.

Learn the rules, and you’ll have hours of real money play at sites with quick and reliable payouts.

Best Spanish 21 Blackjack Online Casinos

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Spanish 21 Gameplay, Rules & Payouts

The thing that stands out about Spanish 21 is that the deck has no 10s. The play is equal to the standard game until you get down to the options after the initial deal. This is where the special rules make up for the disadvantage of the missing 10s.

You can split more, surrender late, and get paid for 21, even if the dealer has 21.

If you can squeeze a 21 out of five or more cards, you are paid even more. Plus, matching cards pay a special bonus, and many tables have a Super Bonus side bet that pays jackpot prices if you hit 7s.

Some of these extras can vary from table to table. But they all add up to more fun, if a slightly different strategy, than regular blackjack

The Difference Between Spanish 21 and Blackjack

Sure, a deck without 10s may not help you. But consider the things that you get in Spanish 21 that you don’t get with standard blackjack:

spanish 21 blackjack differences
  1. If you have 21, and the dealer has 21, you win.

  2. You can surrender after you double down and get half of your bet back.

  3. Re-splitting Aces is allowed, and you can double down after splitting.

  4. You can double down on any number of cards.

  5. More cards mean more money; not only does a five-card 21 pay extra, but six cards and 21 pays 2:1, and seven or more pays 3:1.

  6. Then there are bonuses. Look for matching-card bonuses, and be sure to look for a Super Bonus side bet that pays $1,000 for your suited 7-7-7 and a dealer 7. If you wager more than $25, those 7s pay $5,000.

These diversions from the standard game add up to a better return to player (RTP) for Spanish 21.

Spanish 21 Odds

Your odds in Spanish 21 get better with more options. It is essential to understand the variations, plus whether or not the dealer can hit on soft 17. Look for games with at least most of the variations listed above.

Spanish 21 House Edge

The best Spanish 21 games have a house edge of just 0.4%, better than standard blackjack. With games in which the dealer always hits soft 17, the house edge increases to 0.75%.

A Match the Dealer side bet does not significantly change the house edge, and the Super Bonus simply offers a jackpot chance.

Spanish 21 Payouts

Blackjack or 21 3:2
6-7-8 or 7-7-7 mixed suits3:2
6-7-8 or 7-7-7 same suit2:1
Match the dealer one card match4:1 six decks, 4:1 eight decks
Suit and rank match the dealer9:1 six decks, 12:1 eight decks

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How To Play And Win At Spanish 21 Online

Playing Spanish 21 is much like standard blackjack as far as the deal and order of play are concerned.

  1. Each player bets and chooses whether to add a side bet.

  2. The dealer deals each player an up card, the dealer hole card, and then another round with the dealer’s upcard last.

  3. If the player has blackjack or matches the dealer card, the player is paid right away.

  4. Then the dealer gives each player the option of a hit, stand, double down, split pairs, or surrender. This is where strategy comes in.

  5. The dealer plays to each individual until the player stands or is paid.

Spanish 21 Strategy

You use some of the same strategy rules in Spanish 21 as regular blackjack, so a standard blackjack strategy is an excellent way to start. For instance, you double down on 11 and split A-A or 8-8 on the initial deal of either variation.

spanish 21 basic strategy

But watch out when you start taking extra cards. In Spanish 21, this is where you have to consider your chances of getting a bigger payout for getting to 21 on five or more cards.

For example, if the dealer shows 6 and you have four cards that add up to just 9, you use the option to double down. It gets even better if your total is 10 or 11. There, you double down on anything except a dealer’s 9 through Ace.

On soft hands like A-2, A-3, A-4, or A-5, don’t consider doubling down. Always hit because of the chance of winning that multi-card 21. In standard blackjack, you would double down in some of those situations.

And except for 6-6, you should almost always split paired cards in Spanish 21.

Just be on the alert for multiple cards with low totals.

A useful chart like the one below comes in handy.

Spanish Blackjack Tips

  • Always hit when you have hard 8 or lower
  • Stand with hard 17 or higher
  • Always hit 12s and 13s
  • Double down on 11
  • Split Aces and 8s.
  • Memorize or refer to a chart
  • Know the rules of’ your particular game

Pros and Cons Of Playing Spanish 21 Blackjack


  • A lot of splitting options

  • Doubling down after split

  • The payout for five or more cards

  • Special bonuses for matches and 7s


  • Smaller deck with no 10s

  • It takes time to learn a strategy

Spanish 21 Blackjack Rules

spanish 21 blackjack rules
  1. There are 48 cards to a deck – no 10s

  2. Most casinos use six or eight decks

  3. The dealer hits on 16 and stands on 17

  4. Blackjack or 21 always wins and pays 3:2 regardless of what the dealer has

  5. Insurance pays 2:1

  6. Players may surrender and get half of the bet back if the dealer does not have blackjack

  7. Players can surrender after doubling down and get the double portion back

  8. A five-card 21 pays 3:2, a six-card 21 pays 2:1, and a 21 with seven or more cards pays 3:1.

  9. A 21 composed of 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of mixed suits pays 3:2, of the same suit pays 2:1, and of spades pays 3:1.

  10. A 7-7-7 suited against a dealers 7 wins a “super bonus” of $1000 for bets under $25 and $5000 for bets of $25 and over

  11. Splitting or doubling down negates the “super bonus.”

  12. Match the Dealer side bet offers a bonus for matching the dealer’s card; matching the rank pays 4:1 on a six-deck game, and 3:1 on an eight-deck game; matching rank and suit pays 9:1 on six decks and 12:1 on eight decks.

Variable Rules

  • Dealer may hit or stand on a soft 17.
  • Six or 8 decks can be used, but sometimes fewer.
  • Some casinos allow redoubling up to three times.
  • Bonuses are not paid after a split.

Rule Variations

  • No drawing to split Aces
  • Ace and 10 after splitting aces pays 3:2
  • Double down only after the first two cards

Match The Dealer Side Bets

The payouts on the dealer match play vary widely, and you should be aware of the payout for the game you are playing. Even with a house advantage of about 3%, the Match the Dealer side bet is worth a play.

Naturally, the more decks there are, the higher the payout. Here are the top payouts we’ve found:

Six Decks

Side BetsPayouts
Two suited matches18:1
One non-suited and one suited match13:1
Two non-suited matches8:1
One suited match9:1
One non-suited match4:1

Eight Decks

Side BetsPayouts
Two suited matches24:1
One non-suited and one suited match15:1
Two non-suited matches6:1
One suited match12:1
One non-suited match3:1

Spanish 21 Basic Strategy Card

spanish 21 strategy card