Blackjack Surrender – How It Works & Should You Use It
Last Updated: September 7, 2023
The game of Blackjack is one of the most recognizable card games in the world, with appealing odds and low house edge, which makes it an excellent choice for both beginners and more experienced players.
Today, I will look into the topic of Blackjack surrender, an option given to players in some forms of Blackjack, which allows you to get half of your stake back in return for abandoning the hand.
So, the main question is, can you fold in Blackjack? Once again, if you are playing a Blackjack game that comes with the surrender Blackjack option, you can fold your current blackjack hand before you continue with the game and draw new cards.
If you decide to go with the Blackjack surrender option, half of your original stake goes back to your stack, and half of the bet is forfeited to the dealer.
What is surrender in Blackjack, when to surrender in Blackjack, and everything else about the unique Blackjack surrender option, including rules, is discussed in detail in the sections that follow, so make sure you stick around.
What Is Surrender in Blackjack?
I have already explained the essence of Blackjack surrender briefly in the intro, but there is much more to discuss.
If you have ever played Blackjack online, you are probably familiar with different online Blackjack variants, such as Double Exposure Blackjack, Blackjack Switch, and Vegas Strip Blackjack, which are offered at most online casinos.
In terms of popularity, Blackjack Surrender is one of the most beloved Blackjack variants among gambling fans for a couple of reasons.
First of all, using the early surrender option can reduce the game's casino edge by around 0.62%, which is significant.
In addition, the early surrender Blackjack option also increases the game's overall return to the player, usually between 0.24% and 0.39%.
Coupled with other benefits, it is no wonder that so many gambling fans prefer Blackjack Surrender over other Blackjack variants.
Main Advantages of Blackjack Surrender:
- Reduced casino edge (around 0.62%)
- Increased return to the player (0.24% – 0.39%)
Because the surrender option in Blackjack results in a substantially lower casino edge, the unique game version tends to attract more players with smaller budgets, as well as savvy pros looking to up their edge.
When Was the Blackjack Surrender Rule Introduced?
As we will discuss in later sections, there are two surrender Blackjack options available at online and some land-based casinos, and these are early and late surrender.
When the surrender rule was introduced in Atlantic City back in the early 1980s, land-based casinos only allowed early surrender.
Back in the day, with the early surrender option, players could give up on their hand and receive half of their stake back before the dealer checked for a blackjack.
Today, the Blackjack surrender option is commonly present at online casinos that offer an array of Blackjack variants but is less commonly seen at live Blackjack tables.
When playing Blackjack Surrender at land-based casinos, most casinos ask gamblers to verbally express that they want to surrender their hand, while some require a specific hand signal (an imaginary line drawn from left to right on felt).
Either way, you want to check your casino’s surrender rules before you start playing if you plan to benefit from the surrender option.
When to Surrender in Blackjack? Early & Late Surrender Blackjack
The right use of the late or early surrender options in Blackjack can significantly reduce the game’s casino edge, and the main question is when to surrender in Blackjack to make it the most profitable.
Once you have seen your initial two cards and the dealer’s up card, you can surrender. If you choose to do so, you will forfeit your chances to win the hand.
If your current Blackjack hand has a 50% or lower chance of winning against the dealer's hand, you should consider going with the Blackjack surrender option.
But before you can do so, you should understand the game you are actually playing and how early and late surrender rules differ from each other, so I am going to explain that next.
How Does the Early Surrender Option Work?
Knowing when to surrender in Blackjack is equally important as knowing the Blackjack rules associated with splitting, standing, and hitting.
To boost your winning odds and make the most out of the surrender option, you also need to familiarize yourself with the two surrender options available when playing Blackjack Surrender, and one of these is early surrender.
Before the dealer checks for blackjack, you might choose to quit the hand and pay only half of your original stake.
This is the best surrender option for players when available simply because employing early surrender cuts down the game's casino edge by around 0.62%, which is quite significant.
To summarize, with the early surrender option, you can choose to forfeit half of your bet before the dealer proceeds to check the hole card striving for a blackjack.
Early Surrender History & Math
The early surrender option in Blackjack was introduced by early gaming facilities in Atlantic City in the late 1970s.
This was the era when the first legal gambling providers arrived on the scene, and gambling operators were hoping that more liberal gameplay rules would entice more players.
However, none of the operators were satisfied with the 0.62% cut to the house edge. This is one of the main reasons why the surrender Blackjack option is rarely available at the largest US casinos today.
At the same time, if you have the early surrender option playing at online casinos, make sure you check all the gameplay and casino rules before you start playing.
It is not a secret that some online casinos modify the rules to make up for the deficit to the house edge that the early surrender option brings.
The most important thing to remember is that early surrender allows you to throw your cards away if the dealer has an ace or a ten before the dealer checks for a blackjack.
However, the early surrender Blackjack rule is less common because it increases the player's return by 0.39% if the dealer has an ace and 0.24% if the dealer has a ten.
So when exactly should you use early surrender? For instance, if the dealer has a ten, you should consider the early surrender option only if you have pairs of 8s and 7s or when you have a hard 14, 15, or 16.
In other cases, consider taking the early surrender option with pairs of 8s, 7s, 6s, and 3s when you have a hard 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, or 17 or with a hard 5, 6, or 7.
Finally, when the dealer hits soft 17, consider the early surrender option with hard 4.
How Does the Late Surrender Option Work?
This leads us to the late surrender blackjack option, which also comes with some very simple and clear-cut rules.
With the late surrender option, Blackjack players can forfeit their hand following the dealer checking for blackjack.
When you late surrender, you lose half of your stake, just like when you early surrender. Because late surrender is only accessible after the dealer has checked for blackjack, it lowers the house edge by a smaller percentage, between 0.35% and 0.42%.
Much like early surrender in Blackjack, late surrender allows you to increase your RTP and diminish the house edge, but only when employed the correct way.
However, just like with the early surrender option, late surrender is not widely available at land-based casinos.
When it is available, you will usually have to resort to specific hand or verbal signals to express their desire to go with the surrender option, so make sure to learn these before you start playing.
Incorporating Late Surrender into Your Blackjack Strategy
If you choose to go with the late surrender option, you will lose half of your stake but will not have to risk the other half going against a superior hand of the dealer.
You should consider going with the late surrender option when you have a hard 16, 15, or 14 to save half of your stake.
So, the question can you fold in Blackjack is answered. If you are playing a Blackjack variant that has the surrender rule, folding is possible.
While I have discussed the most basic rules related to both early and late surrender blackjack options, there are also other factors to take into account.
No matter which Blackjack variant you are looking forward to playing, you need to examine the number of decks and specific rules set on the dealer’s hands before you proceed.
These different factors also impact surrender rules, so let’s examine different scenarios in which your overall blackjack strategy should benefit from the surrender option.
When to Surrender in Blackjack – Tips and Tricks
Now that you know what is surrender in Blackjack and how early and late surrender differ, let’s examine some tips and tricks associated with both surrender options.
There are quite a few scenarios in which both early and late surrender are beneficial depending on your cards and the card you can see the dealer holding.
When it comes to taking advantage of early surrender, consider it when:
- You have a hard 16, 15, or 14, and the dealer has a Ten;
- You have a pair of 8s or 7s, and the dealer has a Ten;
- You have a hard 7, 6, or 5, and the dealer shows an Ace;
- You have a hard 17, 16, 15,14, 13, or 12, and the dealer has an Ace;
- You have a pair of 8s, 7s, 6s, or 3s, and the dealer has an Ace.
Consider going with the late surrender option when:
- The dealer has a Ten in a single deck blackjack;
- You have a pair of 7s, and the dealer has an Ace in single-deck blackjack if he must hit on soft 17;
- You have a Ten and 5, and the dealer has an Ace in double or single deck blackjack when the dealer hits on soft 17;
- You have a Ten and 5 or 9 and 6, and the dealer has a Ten in all Blackjack variants;
- You are dealt 15, and the dealer has an Ace or Ten in four to eight-deck games in which the dealer hits on soft 17;
- The dealer has a Ten or Ace, and you are dealt 16 in all double or single-deck blackjack variants;
- The dealer has a Ten, Ace, or 9, and you are playing a game that features more than four decks;
- You have a pair of 8s, and the dealer has an Ace in all blackjack variants in which doubling after splitting is not permitted;
- You have a Ten and 7, and the dealer has an Ace in single deck blackjack if the dealer hits on soft 17;
- The dealer has an Ace and hits on soft 17 in all blackjack variants.
Blackjack Surrender Rules & Strategy Summary
You will always make the right decision if you abide by these Blackjack surrender rules. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the game's rules before utilizing any of these strategies, though.
Knowing the strategies used by online casinos to make up for the decreased casino edge brought on by the surrender option is the only way to use it profitably and actually increase your overall returns in the game.