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Spanish Blackjack: Rules & Basic Strategy Explained

spanish blackjack

  • There are many variants of Blackjack that you can play online
  • Spanish Blackjack is the most unique of them all
  • The game includes some extra rules that favor the player over the house

If you think there’s nothing about Blackjack that can still surprise you, think again. There’s more to the game than most Blackjack variants show it to be.

Spanish Blackjack is an exceptionally good example of that.

The game has many additional rules that you won’t find in any other variant of Blackjack. And most of these rules favor the player rather than the house.

Care to see how Spanish Blackjack differs from its counterparts?

Read this article and you’ll know everything there is to know about the Spanish Blackjack.

Disclaimer: Since you’re reading this article, let’s assume you already know the rules of a classic Blackjack game. If you don’t, make sure you read them here.

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Spanish Blackjack: The Basics

If you sit at the Spanish Blackjack (or Spanish 21) table, it doesn’t seem much different from other Blackjack tables.

spanish blackjack online

It is still a Casino game between the dealer and Blackjack players. And your goal is still to get a 21-point or close value hand and beat the dealer with it.

But there’s more to it than it shows.

You may notice some small differences right away: the dealer must hit on a soft 17 contrary to many Blackjack tables where the dealer stands on all 17.

And then there are eight decks of cards used for the game of Spanish Blackjack. Meanwhile, many European Blackjack tables use only two decks of cards and American Blackjack tables can have from one to eight decks used.

When it comes to the card dealing, Spanish Blackjack resembles the American Blackjack game. The dealer gets both of their first cards together: one card face up and a hole card (face down).

The other differences reveal themselves only when you start playing. Or continue reading this article.

Do You Know The Best Way to Learn Spanish Blackjack?
Do You Know The Best Way to Learn Spanish Blackjack?

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How to Play Spanish Blackjack

You make your bets and you get two cards - this happens no matter what variant of Blackjack you’re playing.

But when it comes to Spanish Blackjack, you have more choices to make at the table.

And more ways you can win the game.

It starts with the regular bunch. You can:

  • take insurance
  • hit or stand
  • double down
  • split
  • surrender

Doesn’t seem too different just yet? Well, the devil is in the details.

Sure, there’s nothing new you can discover about insurance, hitting, or standing. But other moves in different games are available only on very rare occasions, e.g. you can double down only once, you can split only Aces, etc.

In Spanish Blackjack, the rules regarding when you can double down, split, and surrender are a lot less restrained.

And that actually works in your favor.

spanish blackjack moves

Double down. You can double down on any number of cards AND you can re-double down once. Also, it’s possible to double down after a split.

However, bonus wins are not available after you double down. But you’ll read more about these bonus wins later.

Split. You can split all the cards if they have the same value. So, even if you land two 10-value cards that are different in their nature, e.g. a {10-} and a {j-}, you can still split them up.

Plus, you can split your hand three times in total - until you have four hands.

Surrender. Surrender is a rare player-favorable move in Blackjack games all by itself. And Spanish Blackjack not only has a late surrender, but you can even use this option after you’ve already doubled down. It’s called a double down rescue.

Not too bad, huh?

Spanish Blackjack Payouts and Bonus Wins

Now let’s go back to the most unique part of the Spanish Blackjack: the bonus wins.

As you know, you win a Blackjack game if you have a natural Blackjack (2-card 21-point value hand) or you have a hand higher than the dealer’s without going bust.

Blackjack payouts in a nutshell:

  • If you have a natural, you get 3 to 1 payout.
  • Other wins are paid even money.
  • If you risk taking insurance and actually win, insurance pays 2 to 1.
  • If you surrender, you get half of your wager back.

winning at spanish blackjack

It all applies to Spanish Blackjack. But there’s more.

If your hand match the dealer’s hand, i.e. you both have natural Blackjacks or 21-value hands, in classic Blackjack, it’s a push. But in Spanish Blackjack, you win the bet.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In Spanish Blackjack, you also win higher payouts if you have a specific combination or number of cards in a 21-point value hand:

  • If you have a 5-card hand with the desired 21 points in value, you also get paid 3 to 2. It pays as much as a natural would!
  • If you have a 6-card hand with 21-points in value, it’s even better. The payout for such hand is 2 to 1.
  • And if for some miracle you’d get the same points in a 7-card hand, you’d get a payout of 3 to 1 for your success.

As for the other bonus payouts, Spanish Blackjack seems like it was inspired by the Poker games. You also get higher payouts for the cards that make up 21 points and in Three Card Poker would be called a straight or a flush:

  • {6-}{7-}{8-} and {7-}{7-}{7-} in mixed suits pay 3 to 1
  • {6-}{7-}{8-} and {7-}{7-}{7-} in same suits pay 2 to 1
  • {6-Spades}{7-Spades}{8-Spades} and {7-Spades}{7-Spades}{7-Spades} (if all spades) pay 3 to 1

And that’s not all.

If you happen to land a suited {7-}{7-}{7-} and the dealer shows a {7-}, too, oh boy are you in luck. The payout for this hand is 50 to 1!

Have you ever seen a payout like that in Blackjack?

Me neither.

However, this payout is not available if you split your cards before. Plus, none of these bonus wins apply if you've doubled down.

Basic Strategy for Spanish Blackjack Games

Each Blackjack variant has some small modifications to its basic strategy. And Spanish Blackjack is no exception.

After all, you have a lot more ways to win this game.

So, sometimes it’s worthier to hit in order to have a five or more card hand with 21 points than stand in fear of going bust.

Wanna know what’s the most optimal move in each case? Check the Spanish Blackjack basic strategy charts below.

When you have a hard hand (no Ace):

Your Hand Dealer Shows2345678910Ace
up to 8HHHHHHHHHH
9HHHHDHHHHHH
10D5D5DDDD4D3HHH
11D4D5D5D5D5D4D4D4D3D3
12HHHHHHHHHH
13HHHHS41HHHHH
14HHS41S52S63HHHHH
15S41S52S6S6SHHHHH
16S6S6S6SSHHHHSR
17SSSSSSS6S6S6SR
18+SSSSSSSSSS

When you have a soft hand (with an Ace that can still count both as 1 and 11):

Your Hand Dealer Shows2345678910Ace
up to 14HHHHHHHHHH
15HHHHD4HHHHH
16HHHD3D4HHHHH
17HHD3D4D5HHHHH
18S4S4D4D5D6S6S4HHH
19SSSSSSSSS6S6

When you have the same value cards:

Your Hand Dealer Shows2345678910Ace
2,2SPSPSPSPSPSPSPHHH
3,3SPSPSPSPSPSPSPHHH
4,4HHHHHHHHHH
5,5DDDDDDDHHH
6,6HHSPSPSPHHHHH
7,7SPSPSPSPSPSP4HHHH
8,8SPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSR
9,9SSPSPSPSPSSPSPSS
10,10SSSSSSSSSS
A,ASPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSP

Symbols of the chart explained:

H - hit

S - stand
S4 - stand except when you have 4+ cards, then hit
S5 - stand except when you have 5+ cards, then hit
S6 - stand except when you have 6+ cards, then hit

D - double down
D3 - double down except when you have 3+ cards, then hit
D4 - double down except when you have 4+ cards, then hit
D5 - double down except when you have 5+ cards, then hit

SR - surrender

SP - split

1 - hit if 6-7-8 combo is possible
2 - hit if 6-7-8 in same suits is possible
3 - hit if spaded 6-7-8 is possible
4 - hit if 7s in same suits is possible

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