Surrender in BlackJack

Surrender in BlackJack

Surrender is a playing option in blackjack that is offered by some but not all casinos.


Like most other options in blackjack, if you know when to use the surrender option correctly, it can be an advantage. On the other hand, if you misuse the option it’s like throwing money down the drain.


First an explanation of what is all about. After a player receives their initial two cards, the player may at his discretion surrender the hand. When a player tells the dealer he wants to “surrender” the dealer will remove the player cards from the table and 50% of the player’s bet. In essence the player has forfeited his chance to play out the hand and the casino keeps one half of the players bet. How do you know if a casino allows the surrender rule? Sometimes they will post the rules on a placard that sets on the table. If not, just ask the dealer whether or not surrender is allowed.


“Wait a minute! Who in their right mind would “give up” half of their bet without playing out their hand? Seems like a cowardly thing to do at the blackjack tables. How are you suppose to win when you give the casino half of your bet? Seems like this is just another sucker bet for the tourists”. If thoughts like this raced through your mind read on and you will be surprised to learn that both the casino and players can profit with this playing option.


From the players perspective when it is the best time to surrender a hand? It seems logical that you should only surrender a hand when your chances of winning that hand are not very good. After all isn’t it better to save half of your bet than to lose it all.


Lets take a look at what the odds are of winning one of the worst Slot Gacor player hands in blackjack – a 16 – when the dealer’s upcard is a 10. If you analyze this hand over and over using a blackjack computer software program, you’ll find that you will lose over the long run about 77% of the hands when you hit. That means you will win about 23% of the hands. If I wager a buck a hand and lose 77 hands and win 23, I would be down $54 (77-23). But what about standing on that 16 rather than hitting? You’ll actually do a tad bit worse and if we round the numbers you’ll end up losing about the same – $54.


Now lets take a look at what happens if we surrender the hand. If you bet a buck a hand and surrender you get back 50 cents. If you do it over 100 hands you’ll end up losing $50. Compare this with the $54 you can expect to lose by either hitting or standing on that 16. Get the point? By surrendering you cut your loss by $4 in a losing situation.


The bottom line is that you should only surrender blackjack hands when your chances of winning are less than 25% (this means the casino has a greater than 50% of beating you). If the casinos edge is greater than 50% than you are better off to surrender half (or 50%) of your bet.


When you are playing in multiple deck blackjack games you should only surrender these hands.


16 when the dealer shows a 9, 10, or ace


15 when the dealer shows a 10.


Do not surrender a pair of eights and never surrender a soft 15 or 16 (that’s a hand that contains an ace counted as 11 like ace, 5).


The casinos make a lot of money with the surrender rule from players who surrender hands when they shouldn’t. I observed a player making a $25 bet and surrendering a 12 against a dealer 10. This was literally throwing money at the casinos (the proper strategy was to hit).


Surrender is a unique blackjack option. It’s the only option that you must verbally communicate to the dealer (certainly not the case with hitting or standing). Also remember that if you were to ask for a third card draw the surrender option surrender is no longer on option. And finally if the dealer has a blackjack you can not surrender (if the dealer turns over a blackjack all player hands lose). Because of this rule, the surrender discussed above is also known as “late” surrender.


The last point is important. If you were able to surrender prior to the dealer checking for a blackjack hand, you would use a different surrender strategy. This strategy is known as “early” surrender and because you can save half your bet to a potential dealer’s blackjack hand it is a very favorable playing option. Because of this fact, you rarely will find early surrender in casinos (for those interested, the complete early surrender strategy is summarized in my book, Blackjack: Take The Money & Run).


Mathematically surrender will cut the casinos edge by about 0.05%. It doesn’t seem like much, but your objective if you are serious about winning is to play as smart as possible to cut the casino’s edge to as low as possible. Taking advantage of the surrender rule will help you achieve this objective.




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