Arriba! Spanish Blackjack has landed amid a fiesta of felt and cards. The only question is: have you got the albondigas to take on the dealer at her own game?
You would be forgiven for thinking that everything about this game would be in Spanish. It’s not. The game uses eight Spanish decks, though there aren’t any matadors adorning them. Neither has Microgaming’s soft jazz piano been replaced with flamenco guitars. Neither has the sultry croupier’s voice been treated with a latin twist. In fact, the everyday man may be forgiven for struggling to see the Spanish influence in the game, which is kind of a shame.
However, the real difference is in the rules of the game, the nuances of which are worth getting to grips with to make the most of the play. Firstly, Spanish Blackjack is a hole card game, so players can only see one of the dealer’s cards to begin with. This does have an impact on whether to hit or stand, though the “late surrender” feature on offer in the Spanish game means that players can recoup half of their stake on any tricky initial pair, such as 16 or 17.
Like “regular” Blackjack, Spanish Blackjack pays 3:2 for Blackjack, but unlike the regular game player Blackjack and 21 always beat the dealer’s hand of the same values. You also have access to various in-game bonuses, including payouts of 3:2 for a five card 21 and 2:1 for a six card 21. Scoring 21 with a 6-7-8 or 7-7- 7 combination also pays out various bonuses depending on the suits – mixed suit, 3:2, same suit 2:1, spades 3:1 – and there is a bumper 50:1 payout on any suited 7-7-7 hand when a dealer has a 7 face up. Don’t worry, you don’t have to memorise this – it’s all detailed in the game rules and our sultry croupier will announce big bonus wins in the sexiest manner she can manage.
Although Microgaming has missed a trick by the lack of Spanish touches in Spanish Blackjack, the sheer amount of different bonuses make Spanish Blackjack more varied and unpredictable than its European cousin. This factor, coupled with fast gameplay, sets this game out above the rest.