Even though blackjack might seem like a fairly simple game, there are some strategies that can help players get out of a difficult situation when one arises. One of these strategies is known as blackjack surrender, which can be used in numerous versions of the game.
So, what is blackjack surrender exactly, how does it work, and how can you surrender in blackjack? If you’re looking to find out and step up your blackjack game by a notch, you’ve come to the right place.
This article covers all the rules of blackjack surrender and gives you some tips on how to play like a pro!
What Does It Mean to Surrender in Blackjack?
Before we dive into discussing the specifics of surrender in blackjack, you should get familiar with the basics.
Basically, surrender in blackjack is a rule that lets you give up your hand if you’re not satisfied with the first two cards and the dealer’s up card. You can surrender before you draw any cards, split, or make any other moves—but in cases like these, the house will take one-half of your bet, while the other half will be returned to you.
Although it might not seem like a great deal, surrendering in blackjack can help you avoid losing some money by not playing weak hands. Because this is practically a game of endurance and is all about winning in the long run, by using the blackjack surrender rule, you can up your game by quite a bit.
When to Surrender: Blackjack Surrender Rules
Even though blackjack surrender seems like a simple rule, you can surrender in different ways, such as:
#1. Early Surrender in Blackjack
Early surrender allows you to give up your hand right after receiving your cards and before the dealer checks the hole card for blackjack. This puts the house at a huge advantage because the players can surrender half their bets on bad hands versus the dealer’s face-up card.
If you want to surrender to avoid losing all your money in a blackjack game, you can give up your hand in cases when the dealer has:
- An ace, and you have a hard 5, 6, 7, and 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
- An ace, and you have a pair of 3s, 6s, 7s, or 8s
- A ten, and you have a hard 14, 15, or 16
- A ten, and you have a pair of 7s or 8s
#2. Late Surrender in Blackjack
Contrary to early surrender, late surrender allows you to give up your hand only after the dealer checks for blackjack. According to some statistics, this rule gives the player an edge of about 0.1%.
Basically, it’s another strategy you can use to get an advantage, but only if used correctly. That’s why you should always ask the dealer whether there’s a late surrender option or check the casino rules beforehand if you’re playing at an online casino.
As a rule of thumb, you should use the late surrender strategy when the dealer shows:
- An ace, and you hold a total of 15, but the game’s rules say that the house must hit a soft 17
- An ace or any 10, and you hold a total of 16 regardless of how many decks you’re playing with
- An ace, and you hold any total of 17 if the house isn’t forced to hit a soft 17
#3. 16 Hand Surrender in Blackjack: Avoid This Hand
A hard 16 is one of the most hated hands in blackjack as it has extremely low chances of winning. Your best bet would be to just surrender if you have an opportunity to do so.
For example, if you have a hard 16 and the dealer has a 10, there are 29 cards out of the 49 left in a 52-card deck that could set you up for a loss, which equals to a 60% chance of losing. This means that if you don’t surrender with a 16, the dealer will win more than half the time.
You should also surrender with a 16 if you are playing against a dealer with a 9 or an Ace. In these scenarios, you have about a 40% chance of getting a card that will improve your hand.
Blackjack Surrender Pros and Cons
If you’re still wondering whether the blackjack surrender option is worth it, check out these pros and cons of surrendering:
Blackjack Surrender Pros
- Saves you money in the long run: Although you lose half of your bet when you give up your hand, you can still save your money in the long run. Let’s say you surrender five $100 hands that you know for certain you’d lose. Giving up these five hands would mean you’re losing only $250 instead of $500. This means you actually save half of your bet when you surrender in blackjack.
- Prolongs your game: When you give up all those hands you think you’re going to lose and you save a decent amount of money, you are basically prolonging your blackjack game and allowing yourself to keep playing more.
- Reduces the edge of the casino: When you’re playing blackjack with the surrender option, the casino has a lower edge over you. For example, in an 8-deck game with surrender allowed, the casino has only a 0.63% edge, which can get as low as 0.1% with the late surrender.
- Profitable for card counters: People who can count cards can get the most out of the blackjack surrender option because they know for sure when they have an unfavorable hand. This leads to card counters losing less money.
Blackjack Surrender Cons
- Losing half of the bet: The biggest and most obvious con of blackjack surrender is that you lose half of your bet when you decide to surrender. But again, sometimes it’s better to halve the amount you have wagered than to wager the full amount when you’re certain you have a bad hand.
- Not available in most land-based casinos: Because the surrendering option gives the players an advantage over the house, most physical casinos don’t allow it.
- You might surrender while having a better hand: There is a chance that you’re going to surrender while having a stronger hand than the dealer. But, you won’t know it until you actually surrender. Situations like this can happen at any time, so don’t stress too much over them.
Blackjack Surrender Online
Whether you can surrender in an online game of blackjack depends on the casino you’re playing at. The rules are the same as with live blackjack—there’s an early and a late surrender option, and you give up half your money when you surrender.
As we think that being allowed to surrender in blackjack is crucial, we advise you to check out whether your preferred online casino lets you do that. Keep in mind that there will be instances where you’ll have only one of the two options, depending on the casino you choose.
Blackjack Surrender FAQ
Want to find out more about the blackjack surrender rule? Keep reading the FAQ below:
#1. What is surrender in blackjack?
Surrender in blackjack is an optional rule that lets you surrender your hand if you’re not satisfied with it. You can use it to your advantage and avoid losing part of your money by not playing weak hands, but you still have to give up half the bet you placed.
Although it might not sound like the best deal, there are scenarios in which the surrender rule is worth it.
#2. What is the difference between early and late surrender?
The biggest difference between early and late surrender is that the former allows you to give up your hand before the dealer sees their cards, while the latter lets you surrender after the dealer checks out their cards.
#3. Is it good to surrender in blackjack?
Although there is no definite answer to this question, surrendering in blackjack can definitely come in handy, especially when your hand has less than a 50% chance of winning against the dealer.
#4. Do Vegas blackjack tables allow surrender?
Yes, most Las Vegas casinos offer blackjack surrender at six- or eight-deck games. Because the rules are different at every casino, you should ask the dealer about the surrender option before you start playing.
#5. Do you lose money if you surrender in blackjack?
Yes, you lose half of your bet if you surrender in blackjack. Although this might seem like a lot, sometimes it’s better to lose half your chips than to lose them all by playing a really weak hand.
Knowing that you can surrender in blackjack can not only help you avoid losing all your money, but it can also save you from frustration when you’ve been dealt weak hands.
To sum it up, these are the main points you should know:
- Blackjack surrender is a rule that lets you give up your hand at the cost of half your bet.
- The biggest difference between early and late surrender is that the former lets you give up your hand before the dealer checks their cards, while the latter allows you to do it afterwards.
- You should almost always surrender if you get a hard 16 because your chances of winning with it are extremely low.
- You can surrender in online blackjack games, but you should always check the casino’s rules beforehand to see if it’s allowed.
Having joined our team in 2021, Rhonda Wilson is our newest team member. She discovered her interest in blackjack in 2006 and has written blackjack reviews for several gambling sites.