At the casino, when many newcomers see the sign for Spanish 21, they steer clear thinking it must be some sort of bilingual table where the dealer wins with "veintiuno (twenty-one in spanish)." However, they would be wrong.
Although Spanish 21 has many of the same rules as basic blackjack, there are several quirks to the game that make it a much more interactive game. For one, players win all pushes with the dealer at 21 and get paid on their blackjacks immediately. Not only that, but there are special payout bonuses for 21's achieved with five or more cards or for special sequences such as 6-7-8 and triple sevens.
But wait, there's more. Players may also split pairs as many times as they like and are allowed to take more than one hit on split aces - unlike in the regular blackjack where gamblers are limited to a single card on each ace. Most tables also offer a side bet, called "Match the Dealer" where for as little as a dollar wager per hand, the player has a chance to win if either or their cards has the same value as the dealer's upcard.
Sounds too good to be true? What is the catch? Spanish 21 is played with all of the "10s" removed from the deck (face cards remain), which limits the number of available blackjacks, as well as makes the playing of "basic strategy" a losing proposition for players. As long as you know this going in, Spanish 21 can be a fun alternative to the more "serious" game of Blackjack.