The Best Blackjack Variations: From Pontoon to Spanish 21

Explore the best blackjack variations, including Pontoon and Spanish 21. Learn about the unique rules and gameplay features of each variation.

Home » The Best Blackjack Variations: From Pontoon to Spanish 21

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games worldwide, known for its combination of skill and luck. While the classic version of the game remains a favorite among players, there are various exciting variations that offer new twists and unique gameplay. In this article, we will explore some of the best blackjack variations, from Pontoon to Spanish 21.


Pontoon is a British variation of blackjack that is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. In Pontoon, the objective is the same as traditional blackjack – to get a hand total that is higher than the dealer’s without exceeding 21. However, there are some key rule differences in Pontoon that set it apart from the classic version.

One of the main differences in Pontoon is that the dealer’s cards are both dealt face-down, giving the house an advantage. Additionally, players cannot see their cards until after they have made their initial bet. Another unique aspect of Pontoon is that a five-card hand, also known as a ‘pontoon,’ pays out 2:1, and a hand totaling 21 or less always beats a dealer’s 21. These rule variations add an extra level of excitement and strategy to the game.

Spanish 21

Spanish 21, also known as ‘Spanish Blackjack,’ is another popular variation that can be found in many online casinos. This variation is played with a Spanish deck, which consists of 48 cards (the 10 cards are removed). Spanish 21 offers a range of bonus payouts and unique rules that make it an enticing choice for blackjack enthusiasts.

One of the standout features of Spanish 21 is the ‘Match the Dealer’ side bet, where players can win additional payouts if one or both of their initial cards match the dealer’s cards. Another exciting aspect of Spanish 21 is the option for late surrender, allowing players to surrender their hand and receive back half of their original bet even after the dealer checks for blackjack. These bonus payouts and surrender options make Spanish 21 a thrilling and potentially lucrative variation.

Pontoon vs. Spanish 21

Both Pontoon and Spanish 21 offer unique gameplay and rule variations that add excitement to the traditional blackjack experience. So how do these two variations compare?

  • Pontoon is more popular in the United Kingdom and Australia, while Spanish 21 is more commonly found in North America.
  • Pontoon gives the dealer an advantage by dealing their cards face-down, while in Spanish 21, the dealer’s cards are both dealt face-up.
  • Pontoon offers a 2:1 payout for a five-card hand (‘pontoon’) and a hand totaling 21 or less beats a dealer’s 21. Spanish 21 offers bonus payouts and the option for late surrender.

Ultimately, the choice between Pontoon and Spanish 21 comes down to personal preference. Both variations are exciting and offer a unique twist on the classic game of blackjack.


Blackjack enthusiasts have a wide range of variations to choose from, each offering their own set of rules and gameplay features. Pontoon and Spanish 21 are just two examples of the diverse and thrilling blackjack variations available online. Whether you prefer the challenge of Pontoon or the bonus payouts of Spanish 21, there is sure to be a variation that suits your preferences. So next time you visit an online casino, don’t hesitate to try out these exciting blackjack variations and see which one becomes your new favorite.

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