Blackjack vs Spanish 21: What's The Difference?

Blackjack vs Spanish 21: What's The Difference?

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Written by Julie

Published date · Aug. 7, 2019 | Last Updated · July 6, 2022 | Read Time: 4 mins


Spanish 21 and the USA blackjack are both variants of the popularly played blackjack table games. A person unfamiliar with blackjack will think they are the same game, only with different names. However, they are not entirely similar. On the contrary, they are very different in terms of rules. For a better understanding, let’s look at the significant differences between Spanish 21 and USA blackjack rules.

First, you should note that the number of cards in Spanish 21 is 48 cards instead of the regular 52 cards. The four 10 cards are not present in a game of Spanish 21. It is clear that with the four 10 cards removed the house edge wouldn’t be in your favour. Therefore, it is interesting to know that most casinos offer a better odd in the Spanish 21 than at the blackjack table.

The Major Differences between Blackjack vs Spanish 21

When you are already familiar with blackjack, trying out Spanish 21 can be a bit confusing the first time around. The rules of the game are pretty much the same, but there might be a few variations in different online casinos. A lot of people often ask amongst these two blackjack variants which has better odds, blackjack or Spanish 21? Let’s find out below:

Low House Edge

In Spanish 21, when the dealer hits or stands on a soft 17, the house edge would be around 0.4%. A house edge this low is one of the advantages that make people love the game. Hardly would you be able to find any blackjack game in an online casino with a house edge less than half a per cent.

If the dealer hits a soft 17, you can double down the second time when playing on the same hand. This option brings the house edge to as low as when the dealer stands on a soft 17.

Consider this analogy. You have a 5 and a 3 as cards,  and the dealer has a 6 card facing up. If you double down and you get a 2 card, you would now have a total of 10, which is useful for another double down. You can even slide out another bet and double down again.

21 Always Wins in Spanish 21

In the European blackjack, playing a 21 should be a win, but it is nonetheless disappointing if the dealer is playing a 21 as well. In the European blackjack, if you tie the dealer with 21, it would be a push.

On the other hand, in Spanish 21, when you get a total of 21, it would always be a win. It doesn’t matter if both you and the dealer has a natural blackjack. It would still be a win. However, it’s harder to get a 21 in Spanish 21 because it lacks the 10’s cards.

Late Surrender

One of the most thrilling options you can find at blackjack table games is the late surrender. With the late surrender option, you get to keep half of your bet when the dealer checks his card.

The late surrender can be very advantageous, especially in cases when you have a total of 16 against a dealers’ face card or ace. When you play a Spanish 21 game, you have the option to surrender after you double down. It is very profitable because at times after a double down, you can be dealt with a very terrible card.

For instance, you have the 5 and the 6 cards, then you double down, and you get a hard total of 16. Having a 16 is the worst hand one could ever get. However, with the late surrender option, it can nonetheless be favourable for you.

After Split, you can Double Down

In the regular blackjack, you can’t double down after splitting, but in Spanish 21, you can do so. Indeed, when you split your aces, following by a double down, it will give you four times the wager in play. However, this is on the condition that any total of 21 wins can make you achieve a big win as you draw a face card to each ace.

For instance, if you bet with $20 and you receive a pair of aces, you can split them with another $20 side bet. You can then double down these aces with another $20 for each hand. So, you have a total of $80 on the Spanish deck with a better chance of winning both hands.

Re-splitting Aces

Another rule we looked at in the blackjack table games is the ability to re-split aces. Imagine you have a pair of aces, and you split them; you can get another ace on the one hand or both hands. Now, if you can re-split aces, then you should be able to re-split the second pair of aces. Unfortunately, in the regular blackjack, you can’t re-split aces, but in Spanish 21 you can.


Doubling Any Number of Cards

What makes the house edge in Spanish 21 so low is that you can double down in any profitable situation. Indeed, rules stipulate that you can double down on any number of cards. It holds a tremendous advantage over European blackjack rules. Usually, you can only double down your first two cards in regular blackjack.

For instance, when dealt with one ace and a medium card or low card, or just two low cards, you should pick another card. If your next card gives you a total of 11 or 10, then you have a better chance of drawing a total between 18 and 21.

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