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Blackjack Surrender: What It Is And When To Do It

Caroline Thompson
Blackjack Surrender

Often blackjack boils down to the luck of the draw. And sometimes, that luck is nowhere to be found. Surrendering is a way to proverbially throw in the towel and cut your losses on a bad hand without sacrificing your whole bet. Casinos began implementing this strategy in the 1970s to attract more players. Not only did it succeed, but it worked a little too well.

Due to how much the blackjack surrender move can decrease the house edge, it’s now a rarity in land-based casinos. Fortunately, it’s still commonly found on the internet. Whether your table of choice is in Las Vegas or online, it’s best to arm yourself with knowledge about all of the rules.

Let’s take a look at how to use the blackjack surrender option as a strategic advantage. 

What Does Surrender Mean In Blackjack? 

In a blackjack game that offers the surrender option, you can choose to give up half your bet after the players and dealer get their hands. So, why not play it out? Well, there are times when your chances of winning are statistically low, and surrendering is an opportunity to save a little money for the next round. 

Because this blackjack strategy can significantly bring the house edge down, it has fallen out of favor with many casinos. There are many blackjack variations, and only some still offer the surrender option, so be sure to read the rules before getting started.

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When To Surrender In Blackjack? 

There are two types of surrendering in blackjack: early and late. They can reduce the house edge by vastly different percentages, and they each have their own rules. Let’s examine the nuances of both and when to employ them.

Early Surrender Strategy  

The early surrender is the more powerful of the two. Depending on the number of decks in the shoe, it can reduce the house edge by 0.62%.

You can early surrender in the game after you have your first two cards, the dealer’s up-card is showing, and before they check their hole card. This choice guarantees you only lose half your bet regardless of the dealer’s outcome.

Here are a few examples of hands with less than a 25% chance of beating the dealer. You’ll want to surrender in these situations:

  • When the Dealer Face-Up Card is a Ten:
  • And you have two 7s or two 8s
  • And you have a hard 14, 15, or 16
  • When the Dealer’s Face-Up Card is an Ace:
  • And you have a pair of 3s, 6s, 7s, or 8s
  • And you have a hard 12-17
  • And you have a hard 5, 6, or 7

Late Surrender Strategy 

The late surrender reduces the house edge by less than its counterpart at about 0.1%. It’s obvious why casinos more commonly employ this rule of the two. Regardless, you can still make it work to your advantage.

You can late surrender in the game once you receive your first two cards, the dealer’s up-card is showing, and after they check their hole card. The key difference here is that you only get half your bet back when the dealer’s hand is not a blackjack.

Below are scenarios in which you may want to take the late surrender option. They also have less than a 25% chance of winning against the dealer.

  • You Have 14:
  • The dealer has a 10 (in Single Deck Blackjack)
  • You have a pair of 7s, the dealer has an ace and hits on soft 17 (in Single Deck Blackjack)
  • You Have 15:
  • Surrender 10+5 and 9+6 if the dealer has an ace and hits on soft 17 (in Single or Double Deck Blackjack)
  • Surrender 10+5 and 9+6 if the dealer has a 10 (Any amount of decks)
  • Surrender any combination equalling 15 if the dealer has a 10 or ace and hits on soft 17 (Four to eight decks)
  • You Have 16:
  • The dealer has an ace or a 10 (in Single or Double Deck Blackjack)
  • The dealer has a 9, 10, or an ace (Four or more decks)
  • Surrender a pair of 8s if the dealer has an ace, and doubling down is not permitted after splitting (Any amount of decks)
  • You Have 17:
  • Surrender 10+7 if the dealer has an ace and hits on soft 17 (in Single Deck Blackjack)
  • The dealer has an ace and hits on soft 17 (Any amount of decks)

Blackjack Surrender Hand Signal

Blackjack Surrender Hand Signal

Like most plays in blackjack, there is an accompanying hand signal that lets the dealer know your next move. Generally, when you want to surrender, you draw a horizontal line behind your bet with your index finger and say it aloud.

Sometimes the hand signals for surrender can differ slightly depending on the table, so if you’re unsure, ask the dealer.

In blackjack games online that allow surrendering, there will be a button you can click at the appropriate time according to that game’s rules.

The Bottom Line: The Surrender Move Can Be A Powerful Tool

The surrender can be a powerful tool when utilized properly. So powerful, in fact, it forced many casinos to redact the option altogether. Lucky for you, online casinos commonly offer the surrender alongside attractive sign-up bonuses and frequent perks. 

Are you ready to put your new knowledge to the test? Sign up at one of our recommended sites today!

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