Spanish 21 is the usual form of blackjack played in many of the large casinos. This game is played all over the world, although it has a European origin. Many of the casinos in the United States only included this game in their portfolio in 1995. Australia also provides players with a similar game, called Australian pontoon. It is offered in most online casinos, while some of the big games developers like Microgaming and Playtech, IGT and RealTime Gaming also all offer their own version of the game.
Spanish Twenty one is similar to all other forms of Twenty one, in that you hope to be dealt a hand of two or more cards, without the total of the cards adding up to an amount greater than twenty one. The hand that is the closest to twenty one is the winner.
First Recorded Four Hundred Years Ago
This may not be the original form of the game, but it was probably the first recorded version of blackjack. There is a mention in Cervantes’s Exemplary Novels, which was published in 1613, of a game called Ventiuno, which is Spanish for Twenty one. He describes some of the rules that still apply today, showing that Spanish Twenty one has been popular for at least four hundred years.
The Spanish Deck is Used
In most casinos, Spanish Twenty one is played with four to six decks placed together. Instead of the fifty two cards everyone is used to in casino games, the Spanish deck rules are used. This means all tens are taken out, leaving a 48 card deck. Jacks, queens and kings remain. The most distinctive rule in Spanish Twenty one is the Special Bonus. When a player is dealt cards with three sevens, adding up to twenty one, against a dealer seven, a large bonus is won by the player. This isn’t the only bonus offer in Spanish Twenty one. If a card selection of 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 and the cards include any of the same suit, the player will receive a 2 to 1 payout. If that selection of numbered cards are all spades, the payout is 3 to 1. These rules will even apply if you win after splitting the cards, although a doubled hand will not be awarded these special payouts.
If you receive any cards adding up to 21 you will always win. No pushes exist when you get a blackjack, as ties are all won by the player. This is of course a major advantage for all gamers, although there are some disadvantages too that you will see, owing to the Spanish deck.
Other Rules Identical to Blackjack
Hitting, standing and splitting rules are identical to those of traditional blackjack. In most casinos, players are allowed to split up to four decks, even when they hold aces.
Players are certainly given an advantage by the rules of Spanish Twenty one. It is not as great a benefit as first thought, as the removal of the tens from the deck do make a difference to the odds. This tips the house edge in favour of the casino, because the player will not get twenty one as often as usual. However, Spanish Twenty one has a better return than the traditional form of blackjack with the same rules.