Playing Spanish Blackjack: History, Rules, Tips

If you are fond of table games with strategies and a low house edge, then the blackjack version known as Spanish Blackjack is certainly one of the online table games to try out. In this review, we’ll explain how winning combinations are formed in this case, what payouts Canadians can count on, and what are the best online casinos for playing Spanish 21 Blackjack online!

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Best casinos to play spanish blackjack for real money


Introduction to Spanish Blackjack

Introduction to Spanish Blackjack

As with standard blackjack games, the objective of Spanish Blackjack is to beat the dealer by having a hand value closer to 21 without going over. However, due to the absence of the 10s, the deck composition is different, and this affects the gameplay and the rules. Here are some basic facts to briefly describe Spanish Blackjack:

  1. Spanish Blackjack is a variant of the classic Blackjack game and is sometimes referred to as Spanish 21.

  2. It is played with a Spanish deck of 48 cards, which includes the four 10s.

  3. The game is played with six or eight decks of cards and the dealer stands on a soft 17.

  4. Players can double down on any number of cards and can double down after splitting.

  5. Players can split up to three times, making four hands in total.

  6. Spanish Blackjack has a number of bonus payouts, such as a 5-card 21 pays 3:2, 6-card 21 pays 2:1, and seven+ card 21 pays 3:1.

  7. Players can also surrender at any time and will receive half of their bet back.

  8. The dealer wins all ties except for a player blackjack, which is a push.

  9. The dealer must hit on soft 17, and players can double down on any two cards. Players can also split any two cards, including aces, and can even re-split up to three times.

  10. Side bets can be based on suits (Clubs, Spades, Diamonds, Hearts).

  11. Options like the Envy Bonus, Double Down Rescue, Redoubling, or something of this kind in 21 may change the game’s pace and add an extra twist to increase your chances.

Spanish Blackjack History

Spanish Blackjack History

The game’s exact origins are unclear, but it is believed to have originated in casinos in the United States. The primary distinguishing feature of Spanish Blackjack is the removal of all the 10-value cards from the deck. This alteration was introduced to create a new and exciting variation of the traditional blackjack game, offering players a different set of rules and strategies.

The game gained popularity in the 1990s, particularly in land-based casinos in the United States and Canada. The name ‘Spanish 21’ was coined due to the game’s popularity among Hispanic players in the United States. The name ‘Spanish’ refers to the Spanish deck, which lacks the 10-value cards.

Rules of Spanish Blackjack

Rules of Spanish Blackjack

Please note that Spanish Blackjack real-money rules can vary slightly depending on the specific casino or platform where the game is played. Spanish Blackjack is typically played with a standard deck of 52 cards, but all the 10s are removed. This means that each deck consists of only 48 cards. The card values remain the same as in traditional blackjack. Numbered cards from two to nine are worth their face-up value, any face card (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) is worth ten, and aces can be worth either 1 or 11, depending on the player’s preference. The objective of Spanish Blackjack is to beat the dealer by having a hand total closer to 21 without exceeding it. Players can Hit, Stand, Double Down, Split, Re-split, and Surrender. In some cases, you’ll find the Insurance option, but this is an exception rather than the rule.

Strategies for Spanish Blackjack

Spanish Blackjack rules are quite simple, while the game’s potential is massive due to the low house edge. However, articles with strategies for blackjack games can give people playing in Canada an additional advantage since it’s an opportunity to both understand the game better and avoid common mistakes. This way, you can place bets after a quality analysis.

💵 Spanish Blackjack Betting Systems

Betting systems are strategies or approaches that players use to manage their bets and potentially minimize their losses. We should note that no betting system guarantees consistent winnings. These systems aren’t based on game knowledge, so you can use them only to make your bets systematic.

Spanish Blackjack Betting Systems
Martingale The basic idea of the Martingale system is to double the bet after each loss, with the goal of eventually recovering previous losses and making a profit when a win occurs.
Paroli The Paroli system is a positive progression betting system where players increase their bet after a win.
Oscar’s Grind Oscar’s Grind is a betting system that aims for small, consistent wins where the player increases their bet by one unit after each win and keeps the bet the same after a loss.
1-3-2-6 system As for the 1-3-2-6 system, the player starts with a one-unit bet and increases the bet size after each win, following the sequence 1-3-2-6.

🃏 Spanish Blackjack Card Counting

In Spanish Blackjack, card counting follows the same principles as traditional blackjack. However, since Spanish Blackjack uses a deck without the 10s, the card counting system needs to be adjusted accordingly. Typically, card counters assign point values to the cards as follows: Numbered cards (2 to 9) +1, Face cards (Jacks, Queens, Kings) 0, and Aces -1.

The card counting system used in Spanish Blackjack is often referred to as the ‘Unbalanced Zen Count’ or the ‘Spanish 21 Zen Count’. This unbalanced system does not require a conversion to the ‘true count’ (running count divided by the number of remaining decks), as the number of decks used is already known (typically one or six). However, we should warn you that the online version doesn’t allow Canadians to apply this strategy because the dealer uses a continuous shuffling machine for cards.

🎲 Spanish Blackjack Side Bets

This variation is extremely friendly to side bets that players can place alongside the main game. These bets provide an opportunity for CA players to wager on specific outcomes or combinations of cards, separate from the regular blackjack hand.

Spanish Blackjack Side Bets
Match the Dealer Match the Dealer is a side bet where players wager on whether one or both of their initial cards will match the dealer’s upcard in rank or suit. Matches can result in bonus payouts.
21+3 21+3 is a side bet that combines the player’s two initial cards with the dealer’s up-card to form a three-card poker hand (poker hand values, such as a flush, straight, or three-of-a-kind).
Perfect Pairs The Perfect Pairs side bet allows players to wager on whether their initial two cards will be a pair, which is based on the type of pair formed (e.g. Perfect Pair with the same rank and suit).

📊 Spanish Blackjack Odds

The odds in Spanish Blackjack are still in favour of the casino due to the removal of the 10s from the deck. The specific house edge and odds can vary depending on the rules and payout structures. In general, it’s considered that the house edge is as low as 0.37%, which looks very attractive, especially for players looking for simple table games with enough space for side bets.

The strategy employed by the player can also impact the odds. Using optimal basic strategy, which is a mathematically calculated approach to playing each hand, can help minimize the house edge and improve the player’s chances of winning. Employing effective strategy decisions can maximize the value of the Canadian player’s hands and minimize potential losses.

Spanish Blackjack Variations

In fact, Spanish Blackjack is already an extra variation of the blackjack game. However, in addition to this, customers can find a selection of other Spanish Blackjack variations available for users in Canada.

Spanish Blackjack Variations
Super Bonus This blackjack variation offers an additional payout for specific hands. For example, if a player has a suited 7-7-7 and the dealer’s up-card is also a seven, then a super bonus payout is awarded.
Match the Dealer In this variation, players can place a side bet on whether one or both of their initial cards will match the dealer’s upcard in rank or suit. Matching cards can result in bonus payouts.
Free Bet Blackjack While not exclusive to Spanish Blackjack, Free Bet Blackjack is sometimes played with Spanish 21 rules. In this variation, players are offered free double-downs on certain hands and free splits on pairs, with the casino covering the additional bets.
Pontoon Although not strictly a Spanish Blackjack variation, Pontoon shares some similarities. Pontoon is a British version of blackjack that also removes the 10-value cards from the deck and uses its own set of rules and terminology.

Spanish Blackjack Online

Though this game entered the Canadian market from the land-based gambling halls of foreign countries, Spanish Blackjack online is now extremely popular and available at top CA online casinos. Of course, you can experience some differences, like the absence of an opportunity to apply the card-counter strategy. Even so, a lot of factors still make online gameplay attractive:

  1. Canadians can apply varied deposit bonuses, get free chips, take part in action-packed tourneys, and play table or slot games with jackpots.
  2. All locations are fine for playing online, as well as the various gadgets you may utilize, including mobile devices on iOS and Android.
  3. Canadians can enjoy live dealer blackjack (the games are streamed from real studios with a game host).
  4. The best online casinos in the country offer a wide choice of depositing methods and fast withdrawals.
  5. Gambling libraries can host other games to boot, including video poker, slots, roulette, crash games, and other cash games for your excitement.
  6. Factors like AML, KYC, transparent information in T&Cs, and other tools on a reliable site protect your account and make the overall experience safe.

Canadians don’t need to Google to find decent sites. On this page, you can easily find lists of the best online casino sites in Canada, including their promotions, like match offers and free spins (amount and conditions), as well as information about the available casino games and their features, the company which owns the casino, ways to make deposits, world gambling news, and lots of other details.

Interesting to know

Spanish Blackjack, also known as Spanish 21, is a popular variation of the traditional blackjack game. It is played with a standard deck of 52 cards, but with the removal of all the 10-value cards. This means that the game is played with only 48 cards. To understand Blackjack Spanish 21 a bit more, you can use these statistical details that highlight the RTP, house edge, average bets, and other key aspects connected with numbers and payouts:

  • Spanish Blackjack has a house edge of 0.37%, making it one of the best Blackjack variants for players.
  • The game has a basic strategy return of 99.63%, meaning that players can expect to win almost all of the time.
  • The game also has a low variance, meaning that players can expect to win small amounts consistently.
  • Some game variations have a maximum bet of $500 or even more, making this type a great game for high rollers.


Spanish Blackjack is a variant of the classic casino game that is played with 8 decks of 48 cards. The game is played with the traditional rules of Blackjack, but with some additions that make it unique. The absence of tens makes the gameplay quite unusual since it’s harder to get a blackjack when you have only cards giving 11 points (Jack, Queen, King, Ace), while the 10 points for your 21 should be formed of other cards, and you shouldn’t go bust by collecting them. This is why Spanish 21 Blackjack is quite challenging yet popular among Canadians, and our CasinoCanada team will give you helpful tips regarding the gameplay and top Spanish Blackjack casinos!

Lucas Goldberg
Lucas, a seasoned site editor at CasinoCanada, boasts a decade-long journey in the gambling industry with a focus on providing players with meticulous reviews and insights of online games and casinos.
Site Editor
University of Toronto
Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Digital Media, and Journalism, PlayTech Analytics career, communication with users through high-quality gambling content.
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Reviewed by Head of Content:
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Last updated on: 20.02.2024


What is the object of the Spanish Blackjack game?

Basically, the rules are quite standard since your main goal is to get 21 or close to it without overcoming this limit, but you will play without tens.

How is the Spanish Blackjack game played?

Initially, it’s a standard blackjack game you play with a dealer (or an RNG machine). The only difference is that the game is played without tens.

What is the house edge in Spanish Blackjack?

Spanish Blackjack has a house edge of 0.37%, making it one of the best Blackjack variants for players.

How many decks of cards are used in Spanish Blackjack?

This blackjack variation is played with 8 decks of 48 cards. Interestingly, tens are removed from all these decks.

Can the player surrender in Spanish Blackjack?

Yes, if the dealer does not get a blackjack and the dealer’s second card has not yet been revealed, players may surrender.

How much does it cost to play Spanish blackjack?

If you find a demo version, you can even play for free. In the event of real-money games, you can find games with low stakes of even C$0.10 per round.

How is Spanish Blackjack different from regular blackjack?

While all the basic aspects and rules are the same, the main difference is the absence of tens in the decks, which makes the process of forming a blackjack hand challenging.

What are some strategy tips for Spanish Blackjack?

Canadians can follow the basic strategy and use a special chart for this, play responsibly, and apply betting systems to manage their bankroll.

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