#1 Casino for Spanish Blackjack: Wild Card City
Spanish Blackjack is a Microgaming powered game that many Aussies know as “Australian pontoon”. Since most Microgaming casinos market towards potential European customers, these games are usually listed on their websites under the names most used in Europe. Players used to gambling on Australian pontoon in Australian casinos or in Macao should recognize the same (or similar) rules to the game they usually play.
In many ways, the Spanish should get to enjoy their claim to this variant of twenty-one. Miguel de Cervantes mentions a game being played in Spain in his time (1547-1616) which sounds a lot like Spanish 21. Cervantes describes a game with the 10 taken out of the hand which he called “ventiuna” or 21.
In the game, which was mentioned in Cervante’s 1601 novel, Novelas Ejemplare, the game is played where the ace can be 1 or 11. The point of the game is to get closest to 21 without going over. The only major change is the fact the 8, 9, and 10 are all taken out of the deck, instead of the cards ranked 10.
Exemplary Novels is the first mention of blackjack anywhere, so Australian pontoon might be the first type of 21 played anywhere. Whether it was or not, the game is popular in Australia, because Australian pontoon lowers the house edge from the classic game by about one-third. Players from Down Under should know that’s not always the case everywhere in the world (depending on the rules), so check closely to make sure you make the best game selection before playing online.
In Australian pontoon, you won’t have 16 cards removed from the deck. Only four cards are gone: the 10-rank cards. In some games, all cards valued at 10 are removed. You’d lose four 10’s, four jacks, four queens, and four kings. This makes it impossible to make a natural 21 or two-card blackjack, which complicates the game strategy a bit. For that reason, the Australian rules only take out the four cards, so you end up with a 48-card game deck (usually combined with 3 to 7 other card decks).
The best hands to get in Spanish 21 are the 777 or the 678. These pay at 3:2 for any mixed pair, 2:1 when they have matching suits (besides spades), and 3:1 when the matching suits are spades. If you double and these hands happen, they do not pay the higher payouts.
You might think about the low odds of hitting these hands, but remember, the deck only has 36 cards (per deck) in it, instead of 52. Your chances of seeing 6’s, 7’s, and 8’s are a lot higher than they would be playing with a standard deck.
A five-card trick similar to what you’ll find in UK pontoon is another top hand, though the trick rules are a lot more rigid. While any five cards less than 21 get you a big payout in UK pontoon, in the Australian game, you’ll need to get a five-card hand which equals 21. When this happens, your payout reaches 3:2.
A six-card trick Is possible, too. In this variation, you’ll receive a 2:1 payout if you have 6 cards and they equal 21. If you get a 7-card trick, a seven card hand which equals 21, then you win a 3:1 payout. Once again, don’t despair of getting these large hands for a total of twenty-one, because several of the high cards that tend to make players bust won’t be in the deck.
Since the jacks, queens, and kings remain in the deck, you’ll be able to get a natural, which is a 2-card hand which equals twenty-one. If you get this hand, you win immediately.
Other rules in the game lets the dealer hit after receiving a soft 17. The dealer also doesn’t take a hole card. If the dealer is showing a 10 or ace, then late surrender is in effect. The dealer puts the surrender button on your chips. If you choose to continue, you lose the full wager on a case of natural.
Doubles are allowed after a split. Gamblers may double on a 9, 10, or 11 only. If you doubled on a soft hand, a split ace would become worth a 1 totally. Depending on the casino, either one or two splits are allowed. Re-splitting aces might be allowed, though it’s disallowed on other sites.
Doubling might be allowed indefinitely, of it might be stopped at 2 cards. As far as the deck size, it’s standard to see between 4 and 8 decks being used.
Spanish 21 is considered one of the best games in the casino, with even better odds than a classic blackjack game. If you find the rules above, the odds go lower than 0.50% of the money you wager. While a few promotions might exist somewhere with better odds, this is a permanent total.
Microgaming’s Gold Series offers better and graphics, which always adds to the gaming experience. The Gold Series also forces a player to place 5:1 bets, while the original Microgaming games still available offer 1:1 wagers. If you place five dollar bets anyway, then it’s in your best interest to play the Gold Series of online blackjack.
All of the Fortune Lounge Group casinos offer the Gold Series versions of these games. Those casinos include 7 Sultans, Platinum Play, Vegas Palms, and our favorite, Royal Vegas Casino. Spanish blackjack comes in a multi-player variety, so you can enjoy the banter you might have with someone sitting next to you in a live casino.