Blackjack vs. Spanish 21

Blackjack vs. Spanish 21

Blackjack is one of the most popular games in the casino. However, there are times where even the most diehard blackjack players want some variety. Fortunately, blackjack’s popularity has spawned numerous variants that offer similar gaming experiences but with a twist.

One such blackjack variant that has gained a following over the years is Spanish 21. This variation has become popular at online casinos and brick-and-mortar establishments.  

With that said, there are some distinct differences between Spanish 21 and blackjack. Keep reading below to see what these differences are, their similarities, and the best online gambling sites to play these two card games at.

Blackjack vs. Spanish 21 Similarities

It is easy to see why so many players believe that Spanish 21 and blackjack are the same game. Here are a few of the game’s most notable similarities:

  • Players Are Dealt Two Cards Face Up
  • The Closest to 21 Without Busting Wins The Hand
  • Hit, Stand, Double Down, Split
  • Dealer Hits On 16 and Stands On 17

Players Are Dealt Two Cards Face Up

In both games, the players and dealer are dealt two cards at the start of each hand. Players will start with one card face up and another card face down.

There is no obvious difference between Spanish 21 and blackjack from this perspective. The game is dealt in a similar fashion.

The Closest To 21 Without Busting Wins The Hand

The ultimate goal of blackjack is to get closer to 21 without going over and busting. Most people are familiar with this basic objective of blackjack. In Spanish 21, players are striving for the same end result against the dealer.

Between the player and the dealer, whoever has the higher hand without busting wins in blackjack and Spanish 21.

Hit, Stand, Double Down, Split

To play blackjack online and at casinos, players must decide to hit, stand, double down, or split their hands. Allowing players to make decisions and control their hands is a significant draw to blackjack.

Fortunately, gamblers that like this aspect of blackjack will not be disappointed with Spanish 21. They will have the power to control their hands with these actions in the Spanish 21 variation, too.

The rules for doubling down and splitting cards can vary from table to table and casino. If you are interested, ask the dealer or management. In Spanish 21, there are slight differences for doubling down and splitting cards, which we will review below.

Dealer Hits On 16 and Stands On 17

In general, the vast majority of blackjack rules require the dealer to hit on 16 and stand on 17. There can be different rules for Soft 17, but the same applies to blackjack as it does to Spanish 21.

While playing on a blackjack app, you may notice that the rules can vary for dealers hitting or standing on Soft 17. You should always play blackjack and Spanish 21 games where the dealer must stand over hitting in this instance.

Blackjack 21 20
Source: AP

Blackjack vs. Spanish 21 Differences

Now that we have talked a little bit about what makes these games so similar, we will dive into the differences between Spanish 21 and blackjack.

Spanish 21 is a player-friendly blackjack variation that should not be passed over in the casino. Many players will pass over it because they don’t understand how to play Spanish 21. However, it is certainly worth searching for at the top online casinos if you can’t find 3:2 single deck blackjack.

We’re going to examine five of the most notable differences between these two games:

  • There Are No Tens In Spanish 21
  • Blackjack and Spanish 21 Payouts Are Different
  • Generally, The House Edge Is Lower In Spanish 21
  • You Can Double Down Any Time In Spanish 21
  • Players Can Split Aces More Often In Spanish 21

There Are No Tens In Spanish 21

The most notable difference between these two games is that there are no 10s in the deck. Spanish 21 is played with a deck of 48 cards, with all four 10s removed from the game.

Face cards and 10s are the most desirable cards in blackjack. Being dealt a 10 can be the difference between hitting a blackjack and losing your hand. While it may not seem like a big deal, when you look at how much it changes the house advantage, you quickly realize that it is indeed a game-changer for your Spanish 21 strategy.

A blackjack basic strategy card will not help you win at Spanish 21. When you play Spanish 21, always remember that a 10 is not coming your way from the dealer. However, face cards, which are worth 10, except an Ace valued at 1 or 11, are in a Spanish 21 deck.

Blackjack and Spanish 21 Payouts Are Different

For decades, if you were dealt a blackjack while playing standard blackjack, the common payout was 3:2 odds on your bet. However, as accountants and executives of casinos started to look at more ways to improve their bottom line, 6:5 blackjack tables have been more prominent over the last decade.

Sadly, the vast majority of the lower-limit blackjack games you will find in casinos will be 6:5 blackjack and not 3:2. That isn’t the case in Spanish 21, though.

In Spanish 21, blackjacks are paid out at 3:2 odds. Also, you won’t have to worry about the dealer hitting a blackjack. Even if the dealer hits 21, you will automatically be paid for a 21 in Spanish 21 rather than a push in traditional blackjack games.

Additionally, Spanish 21 has a variety of bonus payouts available for reaching a total of 21. The bonus payouts are dependent on how many cards it takes to hit a 21:

  • A 5-card 21 pays out 3:2
  • A 6 card 21 pays out at 2:1
  • A 7 card 21 pays out at 3:1
  • A 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 pays out at 3:2
  • A suited 7-7-7 with the dealer also having a 7 as their up card pays out the super bonus of $1,000!

As you can see, there are lots of ways to win more than you bet while playing Spanish 21. The bonus payouts, which aren’t included in traditional blackjack, can add a lot of excitement to the game and your gambling bankroll.

You will never have to settle for a 6:5 blackjack game as long as you are playing Spanish 21!

Generally, The House Edge Is Lower In Spanish 21

As a general rule, the house edge is lower in Spanish 21 than in standard blackjack games. Typically, variations of traditional games in casinos offer worse odds. This is not the case with Spanish 21.

The house edge in Spanish 21 is roughly 0.40%. With respect to blackjack, the house edge can vary from approximately 0.20% to over 1.40%. The house edge in blackjack is dependent on the number of decks, rules, and what blackjack pays.

Advantage players whose card count can push the house edge in their favor. However, most people do not card count, and the most popular game of blackjack in casinos is 6:5 with poor house rules.

Blackjack with 6:5 odds can push the house edge to over 1.40% at most tables. Playing Spanish 21 instead of blackjack is the better option for most gamblers.

You Can Double Down Any Time In Spanish 21

The ability to see the cards and then decide to double your bet is one of the most powerful tools you have in blackjack, but players don’t do it nearly enough.

However, aggressive players that do like doubling down often find it frustrating that they can’t on certain hands, after hitting, and splitting. These concerns are not valid when playing Spanish 21, though.

The Spanish 21 rules regarding doubling down are much more relaxed than standard blackjack. Not only can you double down on any two-card hand, but you can double down even after you hit or split, too!

Furthermore, you can even double a double if you want to! Let’s take a quick look at an example of when these liberal doubling-down rules can make you a boatload of cash.

Spanish 21 Double Down Example:

You are dealt a 5 against the dealer’s up card of an 8. Doubling down to try for 15 isn’t the best move. So, you hit and dealt a 6 for a total of 11. In a standard blackjack game, you will not be able to double down.

However, players are free to double down after hitting. With an 11, you can double down in this spot. And, even double down again if you wish to do so.

If you are playing Spanish 21 instead of blackjack, you can keep hitting even after a double, and if you like your hand, you can even double it again! Being able to get aggressive with your doubles, with the added flexibility of hitting after you double is a major advantage when comparing blackjack vs. Spanish 21.

Players Can Split Aces More Often In Spanish 21

Getting dealt a pair of Aces is usually a great outcome when playing blackjack. In this spot, you can split the cards and potentially draw a 21.

But that great spot can go south quickly if you draw a bad card, with the most frustrating draw being another Ace. That is because in blackjack, you can’t split more than once, and you can’t hit after a split.

Not only can Spanish 21 players split Aces again, but they can split them up to four times! Additionally, players have the ability to hit and double down on their newly split hand as many times as they would like.

Consequently, this provides maximum flexibility with the new hand. No more heartache when you split Aces only to pull another Ace. Just go ahead and split them again when playing Spanish 21.

Is Spanish 21 Better Than Blackjack?

From a purely mathematical standpoint, in most cases, Spanish 21 is better to play than blackjack. However, there are some caveats to be aware of before giving Spanish 21 the crown.

3:2 blackjack with favorable rules is the best game you can play. If you are following basic blackjack strategy, the house edge is roughly just 0.20%. This makes it one of the best wagers in the casino.

That being said, 3:2 blackjack tables are more difficult to find in casinos now. High-limit rooms will offer 3:2 odds on blackjack, but these limits are often out of reach for most gamblers.

As casinos push 6:5 odds with a house edge of 1.40% or greater in some cases, Spanish 21 is by far the better game to play. The Spanish 21 house edge of 0.40% is the much more attractive option.

The Best Online Casino For Playing Spanish 21

Not every online casino offers Spanish 21. It is important to find a casino that has Spanish 21 before signing up. After evaluating several real money online casinos, we have decided on using BetUS for our Spanish 21 gambling.

BetUS has Spanish blackjack for normal stakes with bets beginning at $1. If you have the money for high-stakes Spanish blackjack, then BetUS will accept your bets, as well.

With generous Spanish 21 rules and limits for all budgets, BetUS is a top pick for gamblers looking to play the fun casino game. In addition to Spanish 21, this online casino carries endless slots, traditional blackjack, live dealers, and much more.

Casino and Spanish 21 players can take advantage of an impressive welcome bonus at BetUS. For a limited time, make a deposit at BetUS and receive a 150% casino welcome bonus of up to $3,000. If you want to get the most out of your sign-up bonus, deposit using crypto for a 250% bonus of up to $5,000!

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About the Author
Finn Archer profile picture
Finn Archer
Finn is an experienced writer (having published articles under the name Phil Bowman) and longtime sports enthusiast based in Europe. His particular passion lies in soccer, as both a die-hard fan and seasoned bettor. That said, he’ll dabble in anything involving a ball, bat, or boxing gloves! He’s learned from his share of bad bets over the years and is keen to impart his wisdom so you don’t make the same mistakes. Since joining TSG, Finn has also gained valuable knowledge in the world of online casinos.

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