Are Blackjack and 21 the Same Game?

In most instances, Blackjack and 21 refer to the very same game: the good old standard Blackjack! Yet, at times, 21 refers to the Spanish 21.

are blackjack and 21 the same thing?
Are Blackjack and 21 the Same Game?

Blackjack, the most popular casino card game, has time and again been referred to as 21. This obviously raises the question of whether blackjack and 21 are the same thing. Well, while the basic rules and purpose of both games remain the same, there are a few reasons for people to assume that they are slightly different.

Blackjack and 21 Are The Same

If you are wondering, are 21 and blackjack the same, then the answer is yes. Blackjack and 21 refer to the very same game, with the same rules and payouts. In other words, "21" is basically another name given to blackjack as it requires the players to get a sum total of 21 in their hands to get the blackjack. The game begins with the dealer dealing two cards each to himself and for the players. The wagers are placed and players decide to hit, stand, double down, or split depending on their respective hands as well as the dealer's hand.

Twenty-One, or Vingt-Et-Un, was basically a precursor of blackjack. It is assumed that it had a Spanish/French origin. The first record of the game was made around 1768 in France and during the 1770s and 1780s in Britain. The first rules of the game, however, got printed in 1825. The Spanish 21 and the French Vingt-Un later developed into an American variant in its own right and this game came to be known as blackjack around 1899.

So, it depends on which part of the world you are playing the game in and that determines whether they call it blackjack or 21. However, there are some blackjack variants such as Spanish 21 that do have some differences with the standard blackjack. But again, the basic game remains identical.

Blackjack and 21
Are blackjack and 21 the same game?

Why Do People Believe 21 And Blackjack Are Different Games

It cannot be completely denied that there are some differences between blackjack and 21 as most people believe. However, this "21" would mostly refer to the Spanish 21 variation, which is a blackjack variant in itself much like the blackjack ancestors such as Vingt-et-un in French or Twenty One in English.

The basic rules and the player's purpose of making it as close to 21 without busting remain the same. One major difference in Spanish 21 is that the 10 are removed from the deck, leading to a lot of low-value cards in the player's hand.

Some differences between the two games are with respect to the side bets. In standard blackjack, there are fewer side bets with insurance being one of the most common ones. The insurance bet pays 2:1.

In Spanish 21, on the other hand, there are many other side bets along with insurance. There is a 5 card hand, which pays 3:2, a 6- card hand that pays 2:1 and a 7-card hand that pays 3:1. Further, a three seven hand pays 3:2. The dealer's fourth seven pays 50:1.

In Spanish 21, another difference is that a player 21 always wins. This implies that in situations when both the player and the dealer have blackjack, it is the player who will win the round. When the same situation arises in blackjack with both the player and the dealer hitting 21 with the same number of cards, no bets are paid out.

So, blackjack and 21 are the same games with identical rules. The place of origin and evolution of the game determines the names and often leads to assumptions and confusions among blackjack players.

This article was published on March 24, 2021, and last updated on October 27, 2022.