Spanish Blackjack Gold Series
Spanish Blackjack or Spanish 21 is perhaps one of the most unique Blackjack variations out there. The rights for this variant (Spanish 21) is actually owned by a game publishing company based in Colorado called Masque Publishing Inc. However, the company’s ownership of the rights for the game hasn’t really stopped others from copying it. To differentiate these “copies”, casinos (both online and offline establishments) as well as casino gaming developers that offer and develop titles based off them instead use the Spanish blackjack name. Microgaming is one particular casino gaming developer that has come up with what might possibly be the best version of this Blackjack variation
Microgaming’s Spanish Blackjack
So what sets Microgaming’s Spanish Blackjack apart from other versions? First off, is its responsiveness. The casino gaming developer has been around for quite some time after all and it has made sure that its version of this popular Blackjack variation is both easy to understand and play. Players can bet pre-configured amounts that can go as low as $/€/£1 to as much as $/€/£200. It should also be noted that Microgaming’s version of this Blackjack variation only allows the player to have one hand at a time (as opposed to the multi-hand versions offered by other developers).
It’s always important for any player to first understand what makes Spanish Blackjack different from other Blackjack variations before they actually play it. At its core, Spanish 21 is actually a lot more complex because of the fact that its dealers use 48-card Spanish decks (around 6-8 depending on the venue or casino gaming developer) rather than the standard 52-card French decks. These Spanish decks lack a 10-card which effectively increases the house’s edge and gives the dealer a 2% advantage. To add to this, insurance is only paid out at a rate of 2:1 and the dealer will hit on a soft 17.
Thankfully though, this variation has other rules that somewhat mitigate this handicap on the player. For one, if both the player and the dealer get 21s then the former will always win. What’s even better is that the player will always get paid a fixed 3:2. Additionally, the game allows for re-doubles as well as splitting similar cards (including 2 dissimilar royal cards) into four hands. There are also bonuses on Spanish Blackjack that you normally won’t find in other Blackjack variations. The most rewarding of these is when the player gets a hand that has three 7s (7-7-7) with the face up card of the dealer also showing a 7. This will result in an automatic win for the player and he/she will stand to get 50 times the amount he/she bet (50:1). Finally, the game has a Surrender option that allows you to get back half of the amount you bet.
What about strategy? Much like other variations of Blackjack, players should be able to use the fundamental of Basic Strategy on Spanish Blackjack/21. Thanks to the extreme rules of the variation though, there will also be some extreme changes to Basic Strategy. You’re still supposed to stand on your hand if its total is 18 or higher and hit if its 4-8. Things really change up though once you get Hard 9s-17s. For example, the strategy would allow you to double down if you have a hard 10 and the dealer’s face up card shows 2 through 7. The double (and redouble) feature actually allows you to play more aggressively.
Spanish Blackjack Gold Series
Aside from regular Spanish Blackjack, Microgaming also has a version called Spanish Blackjack Gold. This is essentially the same game as their version of Spanish Blackjack but with better graphics and audio. It’s great for players who want the genuine blackjack playing experience in the comforts of their own homes. In addition to the improved graphics, Spanish Blackjack Gold also allows players to bet with chips. This means that a player could now customize his/her bets to any whole amount from $/€/£1 to $/€/£200.
So should you be playing Spanish Blackjack? Though it might seem like you’re at a disadvantage, this blackjack variation is actually quite rewarding. Not only are you allowed to redouble your bets , the game also gives you the option to surrender. Yes, the Basic Strategy for this variation isn’t as clear-cut as others but once you get the hang of it, it’s actually quite efficient. In the event that you do play this variation, make sure that you check out the strategies in books like Blackjack for Blood. Also, there’s a great article about Basic Strategy for Spanish Blackjack by John Grochowski that should help you minimize your losses when playing the game.