The decks used in Spanish Blackjack have only 48 cards because the tens are removed. This increases the advantage to the dealer. In order to level the playing field the games offers additional rules and bonuses. The more important of these are as follows.
- Late surrender is allowed.
- Double after split is allowed.
- A player 21 always wins.
- Player blackjack beats dealer blackjack.
- Player may double on any number of cards.
- Player may surrender after doubling.
- A five-card 21 pays 3 to 2, a six-card 21 pays 2 to 1, a seven or more card 21 pays 3 to 1.
- A 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of mixed suits pays 3 to 2, of the same suit pays 2 to 1, and of spades pays 3 to 1.
In addition to these there are some rules that vary from online casino to online casino. Microgaming online casinos deploy the following rules.
- Dealer hits on soft 17.
- 8 Spanish decks can be used.
- Redoubling allowed once.
Based on these rules the house edge for Microgaming Spanish Blackjack is about 0.4%, which is on par with the standard variants of blackjack. The strategy for Microgaming Spanish Blackjack differs from the normal variants in that players need to take additional risks in order to get the bonuses, where the payouts exceed the risks.
The strategy card for Microgaming Spanish Blackjack is formatted in the same manner as the normal blackjack strategy card. The columns display the values of the dealer up card from 2 to 10 and A. The player's hand values are divided into three sections. The first section deals with hard totals for the player. The player would normally hit for all hand values from 4 to 12 irrespective of the dealer's up card. The exception is when the hand value is 11 or the hand value is 10 with the dealer's up card being from 2 to 8. In these cases the player should double if he has less than the specified number of cards. The player should always stand with hand values of 17 or more. The decision to stand or hit with hand values between 13 and 16 and depend on the dealer's up card. The decision to stand is sometimes qualified. If the player has the specified number of cards he should hit in order to try for the bonus payouts. Also if the player is in line for a 6-7-8 combination or a 7-7-7 combination he should hit rather than stand.
The section for the soft totals for the player deals with hand values from 12 to 19. The player should always hit on soft totals from 12 to 14. Players should stand on soft totals of 19. In other cases players should stand, hit or double as indicated on the strategy card.
The third section covers when pairs are dealt and provide instructions for splitting. Pairs of fours, fives and tens should never be split. Pairs of eights and aces should always be split. For pairs of twos and threes players should split unless the dealer has a 9, 10 value card or A, when they should hit. For pairs of sixes players should split when the dealer has a 4, 5 or 6, otherwise they should hit. For pairs of sevens players should split unless the dealer has an 8, 9, 10 value card or A, when they should hit. For pairs of nines players should split unless the dealer has a 2, 7, 10 value card or A, when they should stand.