If you don’t like the idea of surrendering then try thinking of it as a tactical retreat, because whether you like it or not, incorporating the surrender option into your strategy (assuming it is allowed in the house rules) leaves you more money to use for doubling/splitting etc when the cards are feeling kinder.
The option to surrender isn’t always available, in fact it’s fairly rare, but you can find a number of online variations that offer the option and select real world casinos will have it too.
There are actually two different surrender rules: the early surrender and the late surrender. Early surrender allows the player to bail before the dealer checks for blackjack and is lesser spotted; late surrender allows the player to get out of the hand only after the dealer has checked for blackjack.
How Surrendering Works in Blackjack
You might be wondering why anyone would choose to surrender in the first place. Well, by getting out of the game early you can save yourself half of your stake, which is advantageous because assuming you only surrender when you have a lousy hand you will be saving half of your stake from an almost certain losing hand. It’s a loss minimiser.
It’s only really useful when you have a difficult hand. If the dealer had an Ace and you had an awkward 16 – not high enough to be confident of a win but too high to be confident of safety if you hit – then this would be an ideal time to surrender and move on to the next hand with some of your money still in your pocket.
If you were playing in real life you would signal that you wanted to surrender by drawing a line under your cards on the table with your finger, and you might even verbalise your decision too.
Online, as usual, it is simply a button that shows up next to your other game options and you can choose to use it or ignore it.
What Hands Should You Surrender in Blackjack?
Now to the really important stuff – exactly when should you surrender your hand?
This doesn’t just depend on your hand, but on the dealer’s too. There may be occasions where the same hand should be treated differently when the dealer’s up card is taken into consideration.
It’s a little convoluted to explain in words, so have a gander at the tables below which relate to the late surrender rule, not the early surrender rule:
This should hopefully simplify things for you.
Remember, we surrender as part of a long term strategy. Blackjack is not a game you can triumph in after just a few hands, you need to stick to a strategy over many hands to see the benefit.
Further Questions on Surrendering
Can You Surrender After Hitting in Blackjack?
No. If you hit your forgo your opportunity to surrender the hand. You can only surrender immediately after your cards have been dealt, and usually only after the dealer has checked for blackjack.
If they let you surrender later on in the game then the casino would lose too much of their advantage.
Why Do Some Games Allow the Dealer to Check for Blackjack First?
This is one way the casino claw back some house edge after giving some of it up by letting you surrender. By checking for blackjack, they give themselves a chance to win the occasional hand before the player can surrender, as blackjack is an automatic win.
If the dealer is showing an Ace, they have a 31% chance of getting blackjack.
Does the Surrender Rule Change Blackjack’s House Edge?
Yes it does, and in your favour. If included in a standard game of blackjack (and assuming you use an optimal strategy) the house drops from 0.50% to 0.38%, giving you an extra edge of 0.12%.
Again, no two games are the same so if other adjustments have been made to the game you choose this may differ slightly, but the overall answer is yes.