How To Play Spanish 21 BlackJack For Money

Spanish 21 (also called Pontoon in some regions) is one of our favorite blackjack variations for several reasons. Not only can your 21 beat the dealer’s natural blackjack in this exciting game, but there are also several bonus payouts included throughout the normal play. Here’s the scoop on playing Spanish 21 for real money-


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Spanish 21 Overview-

We are going to assume that you already know how to play standard blackjack, so there’s no need to tell you that aces are worth 1 or 11 and face cards are worth their printed value. Besides the rule modifications below, Spanish Blackjack is the same as the traditional version.

Rules-

  • The tens are removed from the deck (not J, Q, K…just the actual 10’s)
  • Players are allowed to surrender at any time to receive 50% of their wager back
  • Pairs can be split up to four times (including aces)
  • Players can double down at any time (including after splitting cards or taking a hit)
  • In most casinos, players are also allowed to re-double
  • Aces can be split multiple times and each can be doubled/hit
  • A player 21 always beats a dealer blackjack or 21.

Bonuses-

Each of the bonuses listed below are included in the players original wager. Inside most casinos, the bonuses are only applicable on natural hands (hands that have been doubled or split). A few locations pay out the bonuses regardless.

A five card 21 pays 3:2; six card 21 pays 2:1; seven+ card 21 pays 3:1
Any 21 from 6/7/8 or 7/7/7 pays 3:2; if all same suit 2:1; if all spades 3:1
A suited 7/7/7 when the dealer shows a 7 pays $1,000 for bets under $25, $5,000 for bets $25 and over

Spanish 21 Strategy

Many amateur players make the mistake of trying to mirror a basic blackjack strategy when playing Spanish 21; that is a huge mistake! The freedom to split and double any hand (at almost any time) gives the player a tremendous advantage in certain situations but only if you recognize the opportunity.

Let’s play out a hand to give you an example. Let’s say that you start out with a total of hard six (3/3 or 4/2, you pick!) and the dealer is showing a seven. Obviously you’re going to take a hit here; it’s too early to start doubling and you’re definitely not going to stand. So you take the hit and receive a three, which brings your running total up to nine.

Now, at a regular blackjack table you’d take the hit, but Spanish 21 allows you to double up if you desire. Even with the dealer showing a 7, a double up is still a fair bet, but then again you’re also at three cards with a total of only 9. If you manage to catch a 6/5 or a 7/4, then you’d be getting 3:2 odds only if you chose not to double. It’s a tough call either way, but we say double it up!

Let’s make it even more confusing. You’re sitting at 9 from three cards, you double up, and the fourth card is a two. Now you have 11 with four cards but you just knocked out your bonus chances, so you might as well double up again. That means you’ve managed to triple your bet since the hand started, but you could have easily just sat back and hoped to make a 21 in five to seven cards without doubling at all.

That’s Spanish 21 for you though; it’s an awesome game simply because there are so many viable strategies that can come into play at almost any time. If you insist on deviating away from traditional blackjack, then our staff practically insists that you choose Spanish 21 as your game of choice.