Avoid Getting Burnt by the Spanish Deck in Blackjack and 21 Games

A lot of games that fall under the blackjack or 21 heading use what’s known as a Spanish Deck. The Spanish Deck is a 48-card deck that’s different from the standard 52-card deck by the fact that all of the “10” cards are removed from the deck. This leaves twos through nines, jacks, queens, kings and aces. The end result is that there’s a lower concentration of cards in the deck that have a value of ten, and this creates a number of changes that you’ll have to adjust to with your play if you don’t want to get burnt by the differences in the deck.

The first thing to know is that fewer tens in the deck (as a percentage of the cards in the deck) creates a situation where the dealer is going to bust a bit less often, especially with twos and threes. If you have a hard total in the 12-14 range, this means that you’re going to be hitting more often instead of just standing. Typically you’d just stand with a 52-card deck because there are good chances of the dealer going bust, but you’re going to have to push things a bit more with hitting with these totals if you have a Spanish deck.

Next up, you need to realize that your doubles aren’t going to be as strong. If you have a soft total against a weak dealer hand, for example, you would usually double because of the high chances of winning from the dealer busting, and the combination of that and the chances of getting a strong total make these the perfect doubling situation. Now you’re going to have to ease up a little bit when the dealer is showing a 2-4 or if you have a soft 13 or 14 and just hit instead.

Finally, you need to realize that you can be more aggressive with hitting in general. If you have a 16 against a strong card, for example, your chances of busting on a hit are lower because there are a higher percentage of cards that avoid bustin gin the Spanish deck because of the fewer ten-valued cards. Overall, if you make these three adjustments, you’re going to be in good shape when you’re playing Spanish 21 and other blackjack and 21-style games that use the Spanish deck.

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