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Spanish 21

12 May 2012

The game of Spanish 21 was first introduced to Nevada casinos in 1995 by a casino management employee who was looking for a version of blackjack that might increase participation and spice things up with some new entertainment. He developed a variation of traditional 21 using what is called a Spanish deck, which has 48 cards in it. The four 10s are removed from each of the six decks normally used. (By 10s, I mean the index 10 cards; the jacks, queens, and kings are still included.)

In casinos where the dealer stands on a soft 17 or doubling after split is allowed, Spanish 21 can be equal to blackjack, depending on the specific blackjack rules. Clearly, without the 10s, the house should have a large edge. But the rules of the game and the payoffs actually become more lucrative for the player, thus the house edge ends up, in general, only around 0.8 percent for those who play the correct strategy. The removal of the four 10s in each deck gives roughly a 2 percent advantage to the house. This is almost fully compensated by the liberal rules for the game.

Spanish 21 rules (most of these can be found in a good number of casinos)

  • Player may double down on any two cards.
  • Late surrender is offered.
  • Player's 21 always beats a dealer's 21, it never pushes.
  • Player can double after split.
  • Player can re-split up to four hands, including aces.
  • Insurance is paid 2:1. (With the four 10s removed, for insurance to be an even bet, it would have to pay 3:1. The insurance bet in Spanish 21 ties with Keno as being the worst bet in any casino.)
  • 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.
  • 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.

Extra bonus

There's a super bonus to be made by going after the three suited 7s in a player's hand when the dealer also shows any 7 up card. Most casinos offer a free "super jackpot" of $1,000 for any $5 bet, and $5,000 for bets of $25 or more. In addition, casinos that offer this bonus will reward all your follow players $50 if this unique hand occurs. This hand certainly adds some excitement to this different table game.

Blackjack frequency

With the four 10s removed from each deck, you can expect to see a blackjack about once every 24 hands, versus a blackjack once every 20 in regular blackjack.

Bet You Didn't Know

  • The maximum number of passengers permitted in a Las Vegas taxicab is five.
  • On January 6, 1990 the popular Australian game of "2-Up" was introduced at the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas. It was changed from using coins to using dice. Three sides of each die had "H" and the other three sides had "T" for heads and tails.
  • Popular singer and Las Vegas entertainer, Celine Dion, keeps a five-cent piece she found one day that was minted the year she was born. The same day she found it became her lucky day, and the coin is considered her lucky charm.
  • Out of each dollar played on the Megabucks slot machine, about eight cents goes into the giant multi-million jackpot.
  • Spanish 21 gets it name because it is played with only 48 cards, similar to some Spanish card games. The difference between a normal 52-card blackjack deck and the Spanish 21 deck is it simply has all four 10 cards removed from each deck.
  • Of all the people that visit Las Vegas, 79 percent are repeat visitors.
Recent Articles
Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses

> More Books By John Marchel

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses

> More Books By John Marchel