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Spanish 21

Spanish 21 is a style of blackjack available at BetSoft and other casinos that uses a 48-card deck and very liberal rules about when players can double. This leads to one of the more complicated blackjack games in terms of overall strategy.

Something that most players may not know is that the usual 52-card deck is called the French deck. Along these lines, there are other types of decks of cards, and one of those is the 48-card Spanish deck. This deck is exactly the same except the 10s are removed, so there’s a jump straight from 9s to Jacks. Spanish 21 is a blackjack game that uses the 48-card Spanish deck, and as you can imagine if you’re familiar with the mechanics of this genre of games, removing the 10s from the deck seroiusly impacts several aspects of play.

Along these lines, there are also some rule changes that players should be aware of before they start to play this game, and we’re going to look over those differences as well.

Important Rule Changes to Know

When the four 10s are taken out of the deck, it shifts the advantage heavily over to the casino. As a result, there are a variety of rules added that help the player quite a bit. The following are the usual additions to the typical ruleset that comes along with most blackjack games:

These rule changes, along with the 48-card deck, have some major influence on the way the game should be played from a strategic standpoint. Along these lines, if you just try to play according to more typical blackjack strategies, then you will run into a lot of situations where you give the house a major advantage that’s much larger than what they would normally have. That’s what we want you to avoid when you check out this game.

Bonus Payouts

To even things out a bit more, Spanish 21 also has a number of bonus payouts. You don’t get these bonuses if you have doubled, but they definitely add a bit of value to your bottom line over the long run:

The basic idea of these bonuses is to add more value to the player’s average wins over time because of the huge edge that the casino gets from pulling the 10s from the deck. However, you’ll need to make strategic considerations as well to completely close the gap, and that’s what we’re going to look at below.

Doubling Considerations

In most blackjack variations, there are two situations where you’ll be doubling: very strong hard hands (9-11) and soft hands against weak dealer cards (2-6). There are some changes that you’ll need to make to both of these categories from what’s typical for general blackjack recommendations.

The first is that you need to double with a hard 10 a little less. You should only double when facing a dealer showing an 8 or lower.

When you have soft totals against weak dealer hands, you should be doubling less often as well. Most players go by the “Rule of 23,” which means you’ll double when your total plus twice the dealer’s card is 23 or higher. That rule is out the window in Spanish 21, and you’ll be doubling much less often. In fact, you’ll only double with a soft 15 when facing a 6, and you’ll double a soft 17 when facing a 5 or 6. With soft 17s and 18s, players will double against a 4, 5 or 6. Those are the only few spots where you should double in this game with soft hands.

Hitting Hard Hands

Another area of contention is how to play hard hands against weak dealer cards. You’ll often stand in other blackjack variations with totals as low as 12 because of the chances of going bust by getting a ten. In Spanish 21, there are fewer 10s in the deck, so you’ll be hitting much more often.

For example, you’ll always hit with a hard 12 no matter what, and you’ll always hit a hard 13 unless you’re against a dealer showing a six. You’ll only be standing with a hard 14 if you’re up against a 4, 5 or 6 as well, but you’ll need to play a hard 15 and up normally with a lot of standing against a dealer showing a 6 or lower.

Issues With Surrendering

Finally, there’s one more strategic tweak that we want to point out. You do have the option to surrender a lot, but it’s mostly a trick to try to get people to play in unprofitable ways. You should only surrender when you have a hard 16 or 17 and you’re facing an ace. That means that surrendering is not going to happen often at all.


Spanish 21 is somewhat of an odd game in the overall selection of blackjack titles because it’s one of the only titles that uses a 48-card deck. This is actually the centerpiece of the whole dynamic with this title, but if you learn the rules and how they affect the overall strategies involved, then this is a game that can give you a lot to get excited about with how fast-paced the gameplay can be.