In 1995 at the IGWB Casino Industry Trade Show, a number of new casino games were being showcased; most of which have yet to make it into today's casino action. One game that has caught on however, is known as Spanish 21. When I saw the demonstration for Spanish 21, I instantly knew it would quickly catch on; at least initially. The verdict is still out as to how long this game will remain popular; a case in point being the declining popularity of ShuffleMaster's "LetitRide".
With all it's Bonus payouts, Spanish 21 is reminiscent of Double Exposure Blackjack, except that instead of the dealer winning all the ties, the 10denomination cards (but not the Face Cards) are removed from the deck. Anyone familiar with the fundamentals of Blackjack know that removing 10's from the shoe reduces the dealer's break ratio ever so slightly, but oh so significantly.
What may surprise you is that like Double Exposure, a Basic Strategy has been devised for Spanish 21 which reduces the house edge to under 1%. This figure of course assumes a random shuffle of the cards, which of course in today's shoe games RARELY happens.
I would surmise that a cardcounting strategy can be (and probably has been) devised to swing the advantage ever so slightly towards the counting player. Clump Trackers are already studying the potential for beating this game, theorizing that because they tend to hit more agressively, a reduction in 10's will reduce their chances of breaking, just as much as it will for the dealer.
Needless to say, the approach to beating this game is somewhat noticeably different from conventional Basic Strategy (or other system play), in much the same way that the approach for beating Double Exposure differs from that for conventional Blackjack.
This short article briefly describes the game and then presents the accepted "Basic Strategy" for 6Pack Spanish 21. I make no warranties (implied or expressed) that this strategy is as accurate as its purveyors would lead us to believe. I leave that up to you to determine for yourself. However, before you go making any significant modifications to this strategy, I recommend you thoroughly study each play, becoming conversant with the logic behind it. Like we found with Basic Strategy for Double Exposure, there may INDEED be a method to the seeming madness behind the approach to this game.
In a future article (or an addendum to this one), I will offer a
theoretical approach to this game from the cardcounting standpoint,
as well as from the view of a Clumptracker. What follows is a series
of 3 tables, detailing the rules, sidebets and payoffs as they apply
to Spanish 21.
Next a Basic Strategy chart will be presented.
I wish you success in your study of this game.
If nothing else, Spanish 21 is fascinatingly different.
ENJOY!!
The Rules of Spanish 21 
Played with 6 Spanish Packs: 2 thru 9; J, Q, K, A 
Dealer Hits Soft17 
Hole card: Dealer checks under 10 and Ace for Blackjack. 
Double Down on any total on any number of cards,
including after splitting. 
Split: Resplit to make 4 hands. 
Split: Resplit Aces to make 4 hands. 
Blackjack Pays 3 : 2.  Player Natural BEATS Dealer Natural. 
Ties: Break even except, Players Win on 21 when Dealer has 21 in 3 or more cards. 
Side Bets 
Insurance allowed. Any amount up to 1/2 original bet  Pays 2 : 1. 
Surrender on first 2 cards only, after dealer checks for Blackjack. 
Double Down Rescue. 
SUPER BONUS* 
* Exact Payout varies with each casino.
(Ex: Bally's Vegas pays $5,000 for $25+ Minimum Bets or $1,000 for $5 bets.
Other players receive an
Envy Bonus of $50)
Bonus 21 Payoffs 

5 card 21 
Pays 3 to 2 
6 card 21 
Pays 2 to 1 
7+ card 21 
Pays 3 to 1 
678 Mixed Suits 
Pays 3 to 2 
678 Same Suits 
Pays 2 to 1 
678 All Spades 
Pays 3 to 1 
777 Mixed Suits 
Pays 3 to 2 
777 Same Suits 
Pays 2 to 1 
777 All Spades 
Pays 3 to 1 
 
DEALER's UPcard 

Player 
Ace 
2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
7 
8 
9 
JQK 
21 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
20 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
19 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
18 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
17 
Surr 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
H(6) 
H(6) 
H(6) 
16 
Surr 
H(5) 
H(6) 
H(6) 
S 
S 
H 
H 
H 
H 
15 
H 
H(4) 
H(5) 
H(5) 
H(6) 
H(6) 
H 
H 
H 
H 
14 
H 
H 
H 
H(4) 
H(5) 
H(5) 
H 
H 
H 
H 
13 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H(4) 
H 
H 
H 
H 
12 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
11 
H 
4doub 
5doub 
5doub 
5doub 
5doub 
4doub 
4doub 
H 
H 
10 
H 
5doub 
5doub 
6doub 
doub 
doub 
4doub 
H 
H 
H 
9 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
3doub 
H 
H 
H 
8 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
7 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
6 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
5 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
4 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
Soft21 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
Soft20 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
Soft19 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
Soft18 
H 
H(4) 
H(4) 
4doub 
5doub 
6doub 
S 
H(4) 
H 
H 
Soft17 
H 
H 
H 
3doub 
4doub 
5doub 
H 
H 
H 
H 
Soft16 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
4doub 
H 
H 
H 
H 
Soft15 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
Soft14 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
Soft13 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
1010 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
99 
S 
S 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
S 
spl 
spl 
S 
88 
Surr 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
77 
H 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
*spl 
H 
H 
H 
66 
H 
H 
H 
spl 
spl 
spl 
H 
H 
H 
H 
55 
H 
5doub 
5doub 
6doub 
doub 
doub 
doub 
H 
H 
H 
44 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
33 
H 
H 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
H 
H 
H 
22 
H 
H 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
H 
H 
H 
AA 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
spl 
H=Hit  S=Stand  doub=Double  spl=Split  Surr=Surrender
h4 Hit hands of 4 or more cards  otherwise Stand
h5 Hit hands of 5 or more cards  otherwise Stand
h6 Hit hands of 6 or more cards  otherwise Stand
3doub hit hands of 3 or more cards  otherwise Double
4doub hit hands of 4 or more cards  otherwise Double
5doub hit hands of 5 or more cards  otherwise Double
6doub hit hands of 6 or more cards  otherwise Double
In studying the above chart, I have some SERIOUS concerns with many of the plays. For example, in today's shoe games, we know that blindly Splitting Aces and Eights can often be deadly. That is why I toned down these plays in Boris' Basic Strategy II approach to the shoe game. Because the dealer has less chance of breaking, I would think that these plays should be made more conservatively.
HOWEVER, until such modifications are exhaustively studied against ACCURATE simulations of the shoe game, I recommend playing by the above chart. Later this year, I will reconfigure Boris' Blackjack Simulation Software to properly simulate this game variation. When that is complete, I will report the results on this website.
As of June 1998, I noticed Spanish 21 games at the following Las
Vegas Casinos:
Bally's, Casino Royale and the MGM Grand. There are probably more
offerings. If you know of any, please let me know and I will add them
to this list.
There is much more to say about this game, but for now, I will leave it to you to study it on your own. I would be interested in hearing your findings on how to beat this game. Possibly you can contribute an article to this section of the website  I would enjoy showcasing it.