Think Spanish 21 is not all the different from standard blackjack? You would be a tad on the wrong side.
They have different names for a reason. And while I would take blackjack over Spanish 21 any day, Spanish 21 can make for a nice break now and again. It is certainly a better blackjack variation to play with compared to others out there. I am talking to you, Perfect Pairs.
But like with any variation, it pays to learn some about a new game before diving in. That is unless you feel like losing more money than you plan on. Same goes for Spanish 21.
To begin with, Spanish 21 does not have as many cards in play. The 10 cards have been removed from the deck. Rest assured that the face cards, still worth 10, are in the playing deck; only the cards with 10 printed on them are not to be found.
Now this removal of 10 cards does impact your odds a bit. In traditional blackjack high cards, the 10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings and Aces, are the cards that favor the player. So removing twenty four cards from a six deck shoe is going to impact your odds. This would have a similar effect to a shady dealer removing any ten value cards from a deck.
So right from the start you have to play Spanish 21 knowing that the odds are stacked higher against you since none of the low cards, 2s, 3s, and 4s, that favor the dealer have been removed. True there are some payouts that offer better than average odds, but those do not happen every hand while the card removal does. Keep that in mind.
Also do not go in with the idea that what basic strategy does for standard blackjack will do the same in game of Spanish 21. Because of the removal of the 10 cards, basic strategy is thrown off. Because of such differences in deck makeup and the subsequent throwing off of normal blackjack strategy, playing Spanish 21 with any degree of seriousness requires study of the game.