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Blackjack Strategy: Surrender Rule

The ability to surrender your hand can play an important part in blackjack strategy for tables at which the rule is in place.

But what is the surrender rule? How does it work? And when can be the best time to use it? Let’s take a look at the essential information to know about when it comes to the surrender rule.

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What Is The Blackjack Surrender Rule?

Surrender is a rule in blackjack that permits you to give up half your bet, should you choose to do so. It should be noted that not all tables - whether online blackjack or land-based - offer this rule.

How Does Surrender Work In Blackjack?

The option of surrender allows you to save some chips for another 'bite at the cherry'. This involves giving up your hand after the initial deal if you feel you have a small chance of winning the hand. You keep half your original bet and do not have to play the bad hand, which looks likely to lose your entire bet.

When surrender is available on an online blackjack table, there will typically be a button for you to click and tap which shows various options, one of which will be the surrender option. At land-based casinos, you will typically provide a verbal - rather than only hand - signal to the dealer when you wish to surrender.

The Maths Behind Surrender

You should know that when you surrender a hand you'll lose half (50 per cent) of the wager. For this reason, you should only surrender hands when the expected loss from playing the hand is more than 50 per cent. In other words, your chance of winning should be less than one out of four hands - the golden rule is that if your hand has less than a 25 percent chance of winning, ultimately you can save money by choosing the surrender option.

We will go into more detail in the section below on possible scenarios which mean the surrender option is sensible.

Quick Tips For Surrender In Blackjack

AS well as understanding how the surrender rule works in blackjack and when to use it, here are some quick-fire tips to bear in mind when pondering the surrender rule:

  • In general, the early surrender rule can be more likely to be offered by European and Asian casinos, rather than US-based platforms.
  • In land-based casinos, some may require a verbal signal when you want to surrender your hand ("surrender"), while others may require a hand signal, which is an imaginary line drawn on the felt from left to right.
  • If you don't know whether a casino offers surrender, be sure to check their rules before you begin playing. As with all games, a good understanding of blackjack rules is essential for success in the game.

When To Surrender In Blackjack

Now let's get to the importance of the surrender rule in blackjack strategy. Here we discuss when it can be a good idea to trigger the surrender option if it is available.

Some players are reluctant to take the surrender option because they would prefer to win their hands rather than surrender them. But in some of the cases which we will outline below, surrender can be a sensible option. Whether you surrender in certain scenarios can depend on whether the dealer stands on soft 17 (that is, the dealer holds their total when their hand is a soft (Ace + 6) 17), and how many decks are being used:

When dealer stands on all soft 17s in six-deck games

Let's look at a common scenario in a common format. In a six-deck game when the dealer will stand on all soft 17s, this surrender strategy can be savvy - if you have a hand which consists of a 10 and a 6, or a 9 and a 7, you should always surrender when the dealer's face card is an Ace, 9 or 10. If you have a hard 15, you should surrender when the dealer's face card is 10.

When the dealer hits soft 17 for six-deck games

In six-deck games when the dealer is permitted to hit (that is, take another card) on a soft 17, keep in mind this strategy. If you have a hard 15, you should surrender if the dealer's face card is 9, 10 or Ace. If you have a hand consisting of a pair of 8s, you should surrender only if the dealer's face card is an Ace. And if you have a hard 17, you should surrender if the dealer's face card is an Ace.

Early Surrender in Blackjack

Some tables might have the early surrender rule in operation. Early surrender allows a hand to be given up immediately after cards are dealt before the dealer has checked for a natural blackjack (an Ace and a ten card). Like a normal surrender, the player must give up 50 per cent of their original wager. Early surrender is desirable from a player's perspective because it can be used irrespective of if the dealer was dealt a natural blackjack. The rule's benefit to the player might be one of the reasons it is not always available at online and land-based casinos.

Early Surrender Strategy

Look to use the early surrender in these scenarios:

When the dealer shows Ace, and you are holding a hard total of 5 to 7, or 13 to 17. Remember, it is a good idea to hit on hard totals from 8 to 11, but when you are competing against an Ace, early surrender can make sense with every other hard total.

When the dealer shows Ace and you are holding a pair of either 3s, 6s, 7s, or 8s. You might want to split these hands in other scenarios, but when a dealer has an Ace, early surrender makes sense.

When the dealer shows any 10 and you are holding a hard total of 14 to 16. That's because if you draw anything apart from 5 to 7, you are bust. This can leave you in a dangerous situation, and thus an early surrender can help you to cut your losses.

That concludes our introduction to the surrender rule in blackjack. Remember, knowing when to take this option can provide you with a handy 'get out clause'.


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