I know I’m getting long in the tooth, but realizing that many of my favorite casino table games are on the decline is still a kick in the… well, the teeth.
I came up playing advantage games like online blackjack and online video poker, and indeed, these skill-based games are still my bread and butter. But in between the intense, brain-draining sessions trying to grind out a living on those tables, I always found time to blow off some steam playing less demanding table games.
No, I didn’t “donk” off my winnings playing games of chance like online roulette or online baccarat, I preferred sticking to lesser known skill-games like online Caribbean Stud Poker and online Spanish 21.
After learning to play cards through five-card stud lessons alongside my grandfather, I’ve always been partial to stud variants.
And because five-card stud is just as dead as Gramps, playing Caribbean Stud Poker offered the next best thing.
As for Spanish 21, I’m a blackjack specialist by trade, so relaxing the standard rules and letting players explore a wide variety of new options was right up my alley.
So it was that I spent many a long night alternating between “work” while playing online blackjack and online video poker, and fun sessions for low stakes at the Caribbean Stud Poker and Spanish 21 tables.
Knowing all this, you can imagine my dismay when I landed in Las Vegas recently and headed to my favorite haunts – Caesars Palace, Bellagio, and MGM Grand – only to discover both games have been completely removed from the floor. I mean it, not a single table for either Caribbean Stud Poker or Spanish 21 can be found at those casinos, or any other in Las Vegas for that matter.
Fortunately for me and my fellow old-timers, a pit boss I’ve known for ages clued me in on a little secret.
He’s not supposed to advise players to visit competing casinos, so I’ll keep his name and workplace a secret, but this pal told me to check out the Venetian and Palazzo casinos on the north end of The Strip.
And boy am I glad I did…
Tucked away in a corner of the table game pit was a sight for sore eyes – Caribbean Stud Poker AND Spanish 21 tables running around the clock.
You should’ve seen me that night, like a kid on Christmas morning rushing across the room to open my new gifts. I hadn’t played the games in quite some time, so I was a little rusty at first, but I picked things up just like riding a bike.
And wouldn’t you know it? This old gambling man wound up winning a decent sum when it was all said and done.
I know I can’t be the only online Caribbean Stud and/or Spanish 21 fan still pining for the good old days, so I wrote this post for anybody who prefers obscure table games over the latest hot ticket. Below you’ll find a guide to playing both Caribbean Stud Poker and Spanish 21 at the Venetian and Palazzo casinos, which just so happen to be my new favorite haunts while visiting Las Vegas.
Playing Caribbean Stud Poker at the Venetian and Palazzo
If you’ve never played online Caribbean Stud Poker before, just take a gander at this dual-rate pay table to see why my generation took a liking to it:
Caribbean Stud Pay Table
|Royal Flush||1 to 1||100 to 1|
|Straight Flush||1 to 1||50 to 1|
|Four of a Kind||1 to 1||20 to 1|
|Full House||1 to 1||7 to 1|
|Flush||1 to 1||5 to 1|
|Straight||1 to 1||3 to 1|
|Three of a Kind||1 to 1||2 to 1|
|Two Pair||1 to 1||1 to 1|
|One Pair||1 to 1||1 to 1|
|High Card||1 to 1||1 to 1|
*Only paid when dealer has a qualifying hand of A-K high or better
You can give the game a whirl by trying the Caribbean Stud Poker training tool that is available online for free. Before long, you’ll be playing like a real pro!
Over at the Venetian, you’ll find two tables spreading this classic casino offering. Both tables utilize a $15 minimum bet for the Ante, so be prepared to fire $45 total should you make the 2x-sized Raise bet to reach the showdown. High rollers can always up the ante too, all the way up to $500 per Ante bet.
And speaking of high rollers, the Palazzo has a single Caribbean Stud Poker table on hand with the same $15 minimum and a juiced up $2,000 max-bet limit.
Playing Spanish 21 at the Venetian and Palazzo
After I cleaned up at the Caribbean Stud Poker tables, I moved on to Spanish 21, still one of my favorite blackjack offshoots of all-time.
Things get froggy in a hurry thanks to several player-friendly rules. In case you’re unfamiliar with the liberal rules and gameplay, check out the laundry list of additions to standard blackjack used to create Spanish 21:
Spanish 21 Rules That Favor the Player
- “Charlie” hands – meaning any five, six, or seven cards without a bust – count as sure winners. Even if the dealer makes blackjack, you’ll still win with a Charlie.
- If the dealer makes a multi-card 21 (or a non-blackjack 21), any 21 you make still counts as a winner
- After doubling down once, you can then “redouble” by making a third bet and taking another card.
- After splitting any pair, you can then double down on the new hands created by the split.
- After splitting two Aces, you can then “re-split” should another A-A combo appear.
- Any five-card 21 is good for a 3 to 2 payout. Six-card 21s count for a 2 to 1 winner, and seven-card 21s produce a 3 to 1 payout.
- Landing a 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 on your first three cards, in different suits, is good for a 3 to 2 payout.
- Landing any suited 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 counts for a 2 to 1 winner
- Landing a 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 specifically in spades ups the payout to 3 to 1
- Landing a suited 7-7-7 with a 7 for the dealer up card triggers a $1,000 jackpot on any bet of $25 or less
- Landing a suited 7-7-7 with a 7 for the dealer up card triggers a $5,000 jackpot on any bets over $25
That’s a lot to digest for standard blackjack fans, so head over to try online Spanish 21 out for yourself, free of charge.
The Venetian spreads Spanish 21 using an 8-deck shoe on three different tables.
The Palazzo has a single Spanish 21 table with an 8-deck shoe.
And under the house rules for both games, which match those listed above, you’ll face a reasonable house edge of just 0.76 percent.
Boy am I glad I always tip generously and make conversation with the pit bosses. If I didn’t, I probably would’ve found myself leaving Las Vegas under the mistaken belief that both Caribbean Stud Poker and Spanish 21 were dead forever. These obscure table games may be in a state of decline – who among us isn’t, am I right? – but as long as the Venetian and Palazzo are still standing, gamblers with a taste for the old-school like me can still enjoy their favorite games in style.