Blackjack players after a new variant should look no further than Royal Vegas Casino, offering the exciting Microgaming title known as Spanish 21. Based loosely on blackjack, all 10s are removed, leaving a 48 deck. Face cards still remain, and favourable rules are introduced in order to balance the house edge. We take a look at the game of Spanish 21, the rules involved, and other reputable Microgaming casinos you can find the real money title at.
Where to play Spanish 21 for real money
How to play Spanish 21 online and at casinos
Spanish 21 is a real money blackjack variant which is available online and at land-based casinos. However, in Australia and New Zealand it is known as Pontoon – this shouldn’t be confused with online Pontoon.
The aim of the game follows the same concept of classic blackjack: Players attempt to get 21 without going bust – but all four 10’s in the deck have been removed. There is usually more than one deck, with generally six to eight 48 card decks in play.
While the house edge is increased due to the removal of the four 10s, extra rules are introduced in order to counteract the house advantage, including:
- A player with blackjack always wins
- A player with 21 always wins – even if the dealer has 21 too (no Pushes)
- Late surrender is usually available
- A player can double on any number of cards
- A player can Double after Splitting
- A player can Re-Split aces
- After Splitting Aces, a player can Hit and Double Down
- A special option called Double Down Rescue is available where a player Surrenders after Doubling
- The dealer may or may not Hit or Stand on a Soft 17
- Re-Doubling may be available
There’s also extra payouts for scoring 21 with certain combinations, as follows:
- Five cards of any suit amounting to 21 pays 3:2
- Six cards of any suit amounting to 21 pays 2:1
- Seven cards of any suit amounting to 21 pays 3:1
- A hand featuring six, seven, and eight of any suit pays 3:2
- A hand featuring six, seven, and eight of Spades pays 3:1
- A hand of three sevens from any suit pays 3:2
- A hand of three sevens from the same suit pays 2:1
- A hand of three sevens of Spades pays 3:1
Spanish 21 house edge and odds
With the removal of the four 10s from each deck the house edge is immediately increased, but the rule variations and additional payouts we’ve mentioned above brings the house edge back down.
The best thing you can do is play online for the lowest possible house edge as it is less than 1% online and generally more than 1% at land-based venues – it can be as much as 3.06% for an eight deck shoe at land-based venues. However, in Australia you can find Pontoon (Spanish 21) as low as 0.41% at some land-based venues if you play the basic strategy.
Additionally, variable rules will ultimately affect the house edge online, as follows:
- Game is played with eight decks; dealer Stands on Soft 17: 0.38%
- Game is played with six decks; dealer Stands on Soft 17: 0.37%
- Game is played with eight decks; dealer Hits on Soft 17: 0.80%
- Game is played with six decks; dealer Hits on Soft 17: 0.78%
- If Surrender isn’t available (it usually is) the house edge increases by 0.006%
Top-recommended Spanish 21 games on the Web
Spanish 21 isn’t as widely available on the Web as classic blackjack variants, but there is one top leading software developer with a title – Microgaming. Additionally, it is important to note while we have mentioned in Spanish 21 in Australia is called Pontoon, this shouldn’t be confused for Spanish 21 when we go online – Pontoon on the Web is a completely different blackjack variant.
The Microgaming Spanish 21 available, offers the following rules:
- Hole Card Game: Yes
- Dealer checks for Blackjack: Yes, on Aces and face cards
- Number of decks played: Eight (deck of 48)
- Dealer: Stands on hard 17s and hits on soft 17s:
- Blackjack: pays 3:2 with bonus payouts as per the list above
- Insurance: pays 2:1
- Surrender: Late Surrender
- Double Down Rescue: Yes
- Double Down: Yes on any amount of cards
- Re-double Down: Yes
- Split: Yes
- Split Aces: Yes
- Double after Split: Yes
- Re-split: Yes (up to four hands)
- Re-split Aces: Yes
The house edge for this variant can get as low as 0.38% – provided you play the basic strategy (the chart for this variant is available online). It is also important to note the bonus payouts we listed above do not apply after Doubling Down on this Microgaming title.
Spanish 21 Gold by Microgaming is also available, offering the same rules but superior graphics and larger table limits set at a maximum of $1000 (the standard title has a maximum bet of $200).
Where can I play Spanish 21 online?
You can find Spanish 21 and Spanish 21 Gold at our favourite Microgaming blackjack sites listed in our tables at the top of the page, and we particularly recommend Royal Vegas Casino – our number one site for the Microgaming exclusive catalogue.
You can access the title by downloading the software (only available for PC users) or instantly play it via your browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc.,) and play with AUD to potentially win big.