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Spanish 21 – How to Play

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Spanish 21 is a variation of blackjack and you can learn to play quickly if you already know how to play blackjack. You just need to apply the use of the surrender option, which is not offered at many traditional blackjack tables.

Spanish 21 is usually dealt from a six deck shoe, although eight decks are sometimes used. Each deck consists of just 48 cards. The four cards taken from each deck are the tens. This gives the house a substantial edge, but more favorable rules allow a game that is often better than a standard blackjack game. As with standard Las Vegas rules and "Strip" rules, some casinos hit soft 17, some stand on any 17.

Standard Spanish 21 Rules

Not all casinos use the same rules for their table games, and Spanish 21 is no exception. However, a number of rules that favor the player include:

  • Late Surrender - the player may surrender half of their bet (such as when the player has a 16, 17 or pair of 8's against a dealer's up card ace and no blackjack).
  • Surrender after doubling down with double down rescue
  • Player's 21 wins automatically
  • Player's blackjack beats a dealer blackjack
  • Double on any number of cards
  • Double after splitting
  • Re-split aces
  • Double after splitting aces
Bonuses
  • Five-card 21 pays 3 to 2; six-card 21 pays 2 to 1, seven or more card 21 pays 3 to 1
  • 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of mixed suits pays 3 to 2
  • 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of the same suit pays 2 to 1
  • 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of spades pays 3 to 1
Big Bonuses

A player's suited 7-7-7 when the dealer has a 7 face up pays $1000 if the player's original bet is $5 to $24 and $5000 when the player's bet is $25 or more. Other players at the game who are jealous of the payoff receive an envy bonus of $50.

In some games a side bet is offered called “Match the Dealer." This bet carries a house edge of about 3 percent, higher than the regular Spanish 21 bet. However, it is usually available for just $1. The payoff varies by how many decks are being used.

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