Ultimate Spanish 21 Guide – What Is Spanish 21 Blackjack?

Ultimate Spanish 21 Guide – What Is Spanish 21 Blackjack?

Staff Writer
Updated October 31, 2023

Spanish 21 or blackjack

Blackjack has been a favorite casino game since as early as the 17th century. Spanish 21 is a Hispanic blackjack variation without 10s in which the player’s 21 always wins.

The seemingly simplified Spanish 21 rules required a modified Spanish 21 strategy. In this blog post, CasinosOnline discusses the difference between standard blackjack and Spanish blackjack.

Furthermore, we tell you how to play Spanish 21, and eventually, how to win at Spanish 21. Finally, you’ll see the best casino sites for this blackjack variant. Let’s learn together.

What Is Spanish 21?

Contrary to popular belief, Spanish blackjack does not originate from that Southern European country.

Instead, Twenty-One is the Hispanic variant coming from the United States. The game was trademarked by Colorado-based gaming company Masque Publishing Inc. Spanish blackjack game first appeared under that name in 1995 making it the latest revival of the classic card game.

Nowadays, Spanish 21 boasts its precedence over any other blackjack variant. There are many reasons to justify this statement.

First of all, the game offers a bigger and more sustainable RTP, decreasing thus the house edge. With such player-friendly circumstances, it is no wonder that a growing number of professional players are choosing Spanish blackjack.

Namely, the house edge in Spanish 21 is always around 0.40%, which is not always the case with the standard variant. In contrast, the world-popular classic variation can indeed have an extremely low house edge – as seen in our comprehensive article.

However, there are also some blackjack versions with tricky rules that largely boost the house edge. Such mishaps never occur with Spanish blackjack.

Spanish blackjack is more profitable than any other similar variation. Why? Other than the RTP, the rules give players an advantage. Namely, the dealer stands at soft 17, making the game more predictable per se.

What’s more, players are allowed to re-double and re-split, even Aces. Not many similar card games allow this luxury.

On the other hand, according to the same Spanish 21 rules, all the tens are removed from the shoe. In turn, theoretically speaking, the absence of tens gives the house advantage.

Nevertheless, all that this change requires of you is to tweak your strategy. Let us tell you how.

What's the Difference Between Spanish And Regular 21?

Difference Between Blackjack and Spanish 21

The main difference between regular and Spanish blackjack is that in the latter, the player’s natural always wins.

But let’s go a little bit more in-depth and compare the two variants in detail.

So, the Spanish blackjack game is playable with either one, six, or eight decks with all tens removed. While the smaller number of cards in the deck (48) strengthens the casino advantage, don’t fret. To counterbalance the house favor, Spanish blackjack offers a range of player-favorable traits.

The so-called Pirate 21 has a general house edge of 0.40%.

On top of that, in blackjack, when both the player and the dealer have a natural, a push is announced. On the other hand, in Spanish blackjack, if both sides hit 21, it is always the player who wins.

So, it doesn’t matter what cards the croupier holds if you have a 21 in your hand.

Moving on, whenever you hit a natural, you qualify for a so-called Bonus 21.

For example, if you use 5 cards to make 21, you get a 3:2 payout. Furthermore, a 6-card twenty-one pays 2:1. The best-case scenario includes a suited, spaded sevens combination, paying 3:1.


5-card 21 Pays 3:2
6-card 21 2:1
7+ 3:1
6-7-8 Mixed 3:2
6-7-8 Suited 2:1
Spaded 6-7-8 3:1
7-7-7 Mixed 3:2
7-7-7 Suited 2:1
Spaded 7-7-7 3:1

So, as there are more payout options in the Hispanic option, players prefer it over standard blackjack.

Another considerable dissimilarity concerns the popular, self-explanatory, risky side bet – Match the Dealer. Payouts in this bonus bet vary; ideally, you get the highest payout for matching the dealer in both rank and suit.

To master the card gamecompletely, take a closer look at notable differences between the two card games below.

Spanish 21 vs. Blackjack – Differences

These traits set the classic and Spanish blackjacks apart:

  1. The player’s 21 wins the dealer’s natural
  2. 10s are removed in Spanish blackjack
  3. Splits & re-splits available even on Aces
  4. Spanish blackjack has bonus bets with huge odds
  5. More popular in land-based casinos than online

What Are the Rules?

There are a few noteworthy rules we’ll address now.

Firstly, Spanish 21 rules regarding standing, hitting, and splitting are the same as the classic ones. So, once you have your first two cards, you can make any decision you want.

Nonetheless, when learning how to play Spanish 21, you can double down whenever you want. Also, you may split any two matching cards, including Aces. This option is possible up to three times for a total of four hands.

Crucially, Late Surrender is acceptable in Spanish blackjack game. Namely, you can give up your hand if you’re feeling risk-averse. For instance, if you’re facing the dealer’s picture card with your 15, you might want to pull a surrender. In a nutshell, you’re preventing potentially huge losses by taking the surrender move.

Next up, the standard gameplay is spiced up by attractive side bets. While we do not recommend placing them too often, bonus bets can be a good way to hit massive payouts.

To exemplify, the Bonus 21 bets are exclusive to Spanish blackjack. According to the chart above, you can win as much as 3:1 for spaded sevens. But again, it’s not advisable to select this bet too often, especially if you’re low on cash.

However, the not so original Match the Dealer side bet might be familiar to seasoned blackjack players. To win the Match the Dealer stake, your hand needs to correspond to the dealer’s one.

Of course, the Match the Dealer side bet relies on luck much more than the basic gameplay bets. Namely, the house edge for the Match the Dealer bet can be as high as 3.63%.

How Do You Win Big at Spanish 21?

Spanish 21 rules

It can be pretty easy to win huge sums on this game as long as you follow the right Spanish 21 strategy. Experienced players of the famous card game know what we’re talking about.

As a game of skills, this title comes with the Spanish 21 strategy sheet. Equivalent to the basic strategy in the standard variant, Spanish 21 charts dictate the optimal strategy to win.

So, to learn how to beat Spanish 21, we recommend going through a well-planned Spanish blackjack chart. This is something that veteran players are well aware of. Applying the perfect Spanish 21 strategy results in considerably sustainable wins.

Regarding alternative strategies, we get, “Can you count cards in Spanish 21?” a lot.

The answer to this question is double-natured. Namely, according to acclaimed author and blackjack devotee Katarina Walker, one can count cards in Spanish blackjack. In her popular book The Pro's Guide to Spanish 21 and Australian Pontoon, Walker underlines the possibility for card counting.

Attempting to answer “how to win at Spanish 21”, Walker highlights counting cards as the best system for games of skills. Although the tens are eliminated from the deck, it is feasible to count cards with modifications.

We at CasinosOnline.com would recommend studying Spanish blackjack charts first and then altering your Spanish 21 strategy accordingly.

Remember that you, as the player, have the upper hand over the dealer’s winning combo. If you follow your Spanish 21 strategy sheet, you’ll be well off.

The best way to learn how to play Spanish blackjack is to play free blackjack. Browse online databases with demo mode games. While practicing blackjack for free, you get to experience how it feels placing bets and winning.

Top Tips to Beat Spanish Blackjack

All that said, we’d like to point out three major rules for winning:

  1. Follow the basic strategy charts closely. For optimal results, use the tried-and-tested basic strategy.
  2. Manage your funds. Make sure to set your limits in advance and stick to your betting plan.
  3. Avoid side bets. Placing bonus bets too often results in stripping of your wallet and going bankrupt quickly.

In short, that is how to beat Spanish 21. Do you use another Spanish 21 strategy? Let us know in the comment section below!

Best Casinos to Play Spanish 21

While this card game is more popular in brick-and-mortar venues, there are a few options available in online casinos.

For example, the most popular online Spanish blackjack provider is Microgaming.

With that in mind, most Microgaming online casinos offer games to try out your Spanish 21 strategy. Moreover, Microgaming internet gambling sites are 100% trustworthy, so you’ll be gambling safely. Always gamble responsibly.

Here are the best Spanish 21 casino sites:



Number of Games

1 Revolution 2,500+
2 LeoVegas 2,400+
3 VideoSlots 5,000+
4 Mr Green 2,500+
5 Casumo 2,600+

Just click on the casino's name to play.

In Summary

So, to sum up, why is Spanish 21 better than blackjack?

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages it has over its siblings is the option to re-split and re-double whenever. Therefore, the rules are more customizable to your needs.

Also, the flexibility attracts many former blackjack players.

For high-rollers who prefer risk, there are also amazing bonus bets, including Match the Dealer. All in all, Spanish blackjack is a thrilling, immersive casino game you have to try if you like card games.

Best online casinos


Finally, let’s wrap up with some sweet answers to the frequently asked questions about the Spanish variant of blackjack.

  • Can you count cards in Spanish 21?

If you ask author Katarina Walker, card counting in Spanish blackjack is a closely guarded secret. In her best-selling book, The Pro's Guide, Walker reveals that it is, in fact, possible to count cards in the Spanish variation. Using the classic hi-lo system can work wonders for your Spanish 21 strategy. Additionally, developing your own system can also be helpful.

  • How do you play Spanish 21?

The rules of standard blackjack and its Spanish counterpart are similar. The main objective of the game is to reach 21 before the dealer. However, in the Spanish case, the player’s natural is the winning hand, unlike regular blackjack, where both the dealer and player hitting 21 ends in a push (tie).

  • Is blackjack and 21 the same thing?

Blackjack and Twenty-One are derived from the French card game Vingt-Un. Essentially, the games are undeniably similar to minor differences in the number of cards. In Twenty-One, there are 48 cards in the deck, whereas the classic game requires 52 cards.

  • How many decks are in Spanish 21?

Spanish 21 is playable with six to eight 48-card decks with no 10s. Additionally, the decks shuffle in a random CMS (continuous shuffling machine), ensuring a fair outcome. The usage of this device makes it difficult to count cards.

  • What has better odds – Spanish 21 or blackjack?

Spanish 21 or blackjack – that is the question. Arguably, the Spanish variant has better odds than regular blackjack, and is, therefore, better.



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