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Surrender in Blackjack

A. Antonova (editor) |

What is Surrender in Blackjack and Why to Use It?

Surrender in BlackjackUsing a basic strategy while you play blackjack will most definitely lower the house edge and will improve your winning chances in the long run. That said, even when you know the optimal move on each hand and the dealer’s up-card, you are not guaranteed that you will always win. As luck will also play a major role in the outcomes in blackjack, sometimes you may be playing a hand with extremely slim chances of winning.

Luckily for players, some blackjack variations offer a feature known as “surrender”, allowing minimization of one’s losses in the long run. There are two variations of the surrender feature – early and late surrender, with the former giving players a bigger advantage. If you want to learn more about this blackjack option and the ways you can utilize it to reduce long-term losses, we recommend you keep reading.


OverviewThe surrender option in blackjack gives you the chance to forfeit half of your original bet and keep the rest, if you are sure that your hand is bound to lose. In general, you can perform this move straight after you’ve received your first two cards, providing that you haven’t made any other moves such as hitting or standing.

In order to be able to surrender, the up card of the dealer has to be either a 10-valued card or an ace. In contrast to the rest of the moves in the game, when it comes to the surrender option, there isn’t a universal hand gesture you can use. In order to indicate it, you should simply turn to the dealer and announce your intentions clearly. Here it is important to mention that not all blackjack variations offer the surrender option. To find out whether it is possible to surrender at a given blackjack table, you have to ask the dealer.

Blackjack Player Move Surrender

Once you unveil your intentions to surrender, your cards are removed and the dealer collects half of your original bet. You get to keep the rest of your wager but you are deprived of the opportunity to play your hand. Even though it may seem odd to sacrifice half of your bet and your hand without playing it, this move can be actually very beneficial in some cases. In situations in which you don’t stand a realistic chance of winning, it is wise to try and get back some of your money instead of losing it all. In general, there are two types of surrender which you can take advantage of.

Early Surrender

Early SurrenderThe first surrender option which is offered in some blackjack games is called early surrender. It provides you with the opportunity to give up on the current round before the dealer has checked for a blackjack. Unfortunately, nowadays not many casinos offer this move as it can be very advantageous for players if used correctly. It is calculated that the early surrender rule reduces the house edge by 0.63% in blackjack variations that use six decks and the dealer stands on soft 17. If you happen to play a blackjack variation that features the early surrender rule, you have to know when is the right time to opt for this move.

If the up card of the dealer is an ace and you have a hard total of twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen, then it is best to make this move. If the dealer’s up card is a ten and you happen to have a hard total of fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen, it is also recommended to take advantage of it. Provided that the dealer’s up card is an ace and your hand is a pair of 3s, 6s, 7s, or 8s, surrender is your best choice.

Late Surrender

The main difference between early and late surrender is that you can make the latter move after the dealer has checked for а blackjack. From both options, this one is more widespread and it can be found in many variations of the game. That does not come from the bolt having in mind that the late surrender rule has a low impact on the house edge, reducing it by 0.1%. Since multi-deck blackjack variations are the most common, we would like to discuss the situations in which it is best to surrender according to the total-dependent strategy.

Provided that you play a blackjack variation in which the dealer stands on soft 17, then you are advised to surrender when your hand is hard 15 and the dealer shows a ten. In a game in which the dealer has to hit on soft 17, surrendering is the most optimal move if the dealer’s up card is an ace and you hold hard 17 or a pair of 8s. If you have a hard 15 and the dealer’s up card is either ten or an ace, it is better to surrender your hand. With a hard 16 against the dealer’s 9, 10, or an ace, it is always better to surrender regardless of whether the dealer stands or hits on soft 17.

When it’s best to Surrender

When it’s best to SurrenderAs already mentioned, at some point during the game you might find yourself in a very unfavorable situation in which you are doomed to lose your hand. If you are certain that you stand no chance of winning, then you can give up your current hand and in return, keep half of your original bet.

This move can be very beneficial, only if you use it when it is really needed. Some players tend to apply a rather conservative approach and surrender when their odds are slightly unfavorable. As a result, they end up losing more in the long term as they voluntarily forfeit half of their bet for no reason.

Let’s assume that you are playing a single-deck blackjack and you have a hard 16 in your hand. If the up card of the dealer is a 10-valued one or an ace, you have to surrender regardless of whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17. In such cases, your best option is to surrender as your chances of going bust are very high.

Another situation in which you should consider making this move is when you have a total of four, five, six, or seven in your hand and the up card of the dealer is a face card, a ten, or or an ace. It is observable that in such cases, the dealer’s position is rather strong, whereas yours is exactly the opposite. It will be very hard to improve your hand with just one hit and beat the dealer’s total. Therefore, your best choice is to surrender and at least keep half of your original bet.

You should bear in mind that if you have realistic chances of getting a card that can help you win then it might be best to simply risk and have fun.

Further Thoughts

Further ThoughtsIt is worth mentioning that the rules regarding the surrender option can vary, depending on the blackjack version and the casino. Thus, it is always a good idea to double-check whether this move is available before joining a particular game. If you have decided to use a basic strategy which features the surrender option and you sit on a table which doesn’t offer this move, you won’t be able to implement your plan correctly.

In general, if the surrender option is permitted, the house edge drops-down. Even though at first glance it may seem like a very small reduction, you should bear in mind that the total percentage of the house edge is formed by adding up every single rule. If you have the chance to make the game a bit more favorable for you, you should always try to do so.


ConclusionIn some blackjack variations, one of the moves which you can make during the game is to surrender. In general, you are advised to take advantage of this option when you are certain that your hand doesn’t stand a chance of beating the dealer’s total. By choosing to surrender, you give up your current hand along with half of your initial bet. However, in return, you get to keep the rest of your wager. This move can be very beneficial for you if you get familiar with all of the cases in which it is best to be made.

FAQ: Surrender in Blackjack

Surrender in blackjack allows you to forfeit half of your bet and fold your hand early when the odds are against you. It is recommended when you’re dealt a weak hand against the dealer’s strong upcard. You should opt for surrender when your chances of winning are less than 50% as this way, you will be at least able to save half of your stake.

Early surrender is allowed before the dealer checks for blackjack, significantly reducing the house edge. Late surrender is possible only after the dealer peeks under their hole card, which makes it less advantageous but still useful. Early surrender is generally more advantageous for the player as it leads to a greater house-edge reduction.

Surrender is advisable when facing a strong dealer’s upcard, like an ace or a ten, while holding a weak starting hand that’s unlikely to win. For instance, players should surrender a hard 16 against a dealer showing a 9, 10, or ace. It’s a tactical move to minimize losses in unfavorable scenarios.

The surrender option isn’t universally offered because it can significantly lower the house edge, especially with early surrender. Casinos may limit or exclude this option to maintain a greater advantage over players. Always check the table rules or ask the dealer if surrender is allowed before you start playing.

Incorporating the surrender option into your blackjack strategy can effectively reduce the house edge, making the game slightly more favorable for players. By wisely choosing to surrender in certain situations, you minimize potential losses over time.