How to Play Spanish 21: Rules & Strategy

Spanish 21 Strategy

Spanish 21 is one of the most popular variations of blackjack, and it has a specific series of rules that you must follow. If you are interested in playing this game, you’ll want to learn everything there is to know about it.

The Rules

The first thing you’ll need to know about Spanish 21 is that it is played without any 10 cards. While it may appear as though this gives the house a massive advantage, there are other rules that shift the odds back in your favor.

Spanish decks have cards two through nine, Jokers, Queens, Kings, and Aces. All of the cards have face value with the exception of Jacks, Kings and Queens, which count as ten. An Ace can count as 1 or 11.


Blackjack vs. 21

If you get a blackjack, you will beat the dealer no matter what. You will get a payout of 3:2, which is not bad at all. If you get a hand that equals 21, you will beat the dealer’s 21. The only scenario where you lose is if the dealer has a blackjack and you have 21 over more than two different cards.

Pair Splitting

You have the option of splitting cards, provided they are all of the same exact value. You can also hit and double down on split hands, including Aces. If you split Aces, you will be able to draw a few cards(Must Watch), which gives you a nice advantage.

Doubling Down

You may double down one time with two or more cards, but payouts do not exceed 1:1 on these hands. You are also not eligible for the Super Bonus if you double down on a hand.


There is always the option to surrender your hand in a given round, but you will sacrifice half of the amount you bet. Keep in mind that you will only be able to do this with the first two cards. If the dealer has blackjack, your entire wager will be eliminated.

The Odds

The Odds

Before you start playing Spanish 21, you should really know what the odds are like. Classic Blackjack has a house edge of about 0.5 to 1 percent. This particular variation has a house edge of 0.8% on average. While the house edge is fairly high, a good strategy and an intimate knowledge of all the rules can work in your favor.

Spanish 21 Strategy

There are certain things to consider when formulating a solid Spanish 21 strategy. You should split Aces every single time, but not 4s, 5s or 10s. If your hand equals at least 18 points, you should avoid hitting.

It is also recommended that you stand with a soft 19, 20 or 21. If you get two Aces, you’ll definitely want to split. It is not a good idea to surrender very often, as it won’t do you any real good most of the time. If you have a hand that adds up to 10 points, you should hit.