When to Surrender in Blackjack

Do you want to improve your blackjack skills? Basic blackjack strategy entails far more than meets the eye. Everything has an optimal time: hitting blackjack, standing, splitting, and doubling down blackjack. Blackjack games with a surrender option have a slightly lower house edge, but the player must time their moves perfectly. 

When to surrender in blackjack

Blackjack Surrender – What is it?

 A blackjack surrender is a move in addition to hit and stand, and it is not available in all blackjack games. When a player surrenders in blackjack, they forfeit the entire hand, including half of the wager, and are removed from the game.

How To Play Blackjack Surrender?

Blackjack games with the surrender option are very similar to traditional blackjack tables. The only difference is that players can forfeit their hand before drawing more cards in exchange for half of their original bet. Despite its negative connotations, surrendering can be a strategic advantage in blackjack, especially in fast-paced play at online casinos. The player will be dealt two face-up cards, and the dealer will be dealt one face-up card (upcard). After the players’ initial cards have been dealt, the dealer’s second card will be placed face down on the table (hole card). 

The game’s rules remain the same: players must reach a point equal to or as close to 21 without going over and beating the dealer’s hand. You must make an educated guess about the probability of winning this hand based on the value of the face-up card and your initial cards. 

After the cards are dealt, players can choose to hit, stand, or surrender. Doubling down and splitting are also options at some tables. Hitting draws one more card while standing keeps your hand as is. Doubling down will double your bet in exchange for only one more card (on an unbusted hand, you can hit multiple times), and splitting is only available on a pair. 

Surrendering forfeits the hand in exchange for half of the wager. Optional side bets such as Hot 3, 21+3, Any Pair, and Bust may be available in Blackjack Surrender.

When Should You Surrender in Blackjack?

The surrender rule states that if your chance of winning is less than one out of every four hands, then playing the hand results in a less than 25% chance of winning and a greater than 75% chance of losing. Surrendering, in this case, will save you a larger portion of your bankroll in the long run than playing the hand. The basic surrender strategy is determined by whether the dealer hits or stands on a soft 17. When the dealer stands on a soft 17, a player should surrender four times and seven times when the dealer hits a soft 17.

In blackjack, there are two types of surrenders; let’s look at what they are and when a player should surrender.

Late Surrender

A late surrender is only available after the dealer peeks at their hole card to determine whether or not the hand is a blackjack. If it is, the surrender option will be unavailable, and the bet will be lost (unless the player also has a blackjack). Using a late surrender correctly on tables with a multi-deck shoe can reduce the house edge by approximately 0.07 percent. On multi-deck tables, late surrender is recommended in the following situations.

S17 Decks (when the dealer stands on a soft 17)

  • Surrender if you have a 16-card hand and the dealer’s upcard is a nine, ten, or ace.
  • You should surrender if you have a 15 and the dealer’s upcard is a 10. 

H17 Decks (when the dealer hits on a soft 17)

  • Surrender if you have a 15 and the dealer has a 10 or an ace.
  • If you have a hand of 16 and the dealer has a hand of nine through ace, you should surrender.
  • If the dealer has an ace, surrender on a 17.
  • When the dealer has an ace, the rule is to surrender on an 8-8. In all other cases, a split is recommended.

Early Surrender

blackjack surrender

Pre-peek surrender allows players to surrender their hand to a dealer’s ace or 10 upcard before the dealer checks to see if they have blackjack. Early surrender is preferable for players, but it may be subject to restrictions depending on the casino. In Macau, for example, casinos usually allow an early surrender only on a dealer’s 10-value upcard, not the ace. The early surrender basic strategy is a little simpler, as detailed below:

  • Surrender 5-7 and 12-17 against the dealer’s ace.
  • Surrender a tough 14-16 to the dealer’s ten.
  • Surrender a 33, 66, 77, and 88 in the face of the dealer’s ace.

How Does a Surrender Affect the House Edge?

Blackjack has the lowest house edge of any casino game, at under 1%. Late surrender blackjack games have a house advantage of approximately 0.08 per cent lower than no surrender blackjack. Surrendering against the dealer’s ace or ten increases the RTP (return to player) by 0.39 per cent and 0.24 per cent, respectively when an early surrender is available. This translates to a 0.63 per cent decrease in the house edge. 

Remember that surrender blackjack tables may have different payout odds, such as 6:5 on blackjack (which would add 1.39 per cent to the house edge, bringing it up to nearly 2 per cent). When optimizing your gameplay with a basic surrender strategy, ensure you’re playing blackjack with a 3:2 payout.

Furthermore, multi-deck tables increase the house edge. Surrendering may make a small difference in the short run. Still, it can significantly impact a player’s gameplay in the long run by stabilizing the bankroll, avoiding larger losses, and strategically employing probability.

Things to Keep in Mind

Check the game’s rules before playing online Blackjack Surrender or any other game of blackjack to ensure that the surrender is available. If you’re in a land-based casino, don’t be afraid to ask the dealer if any surrender-friendly tables are available. Furthermore, remember that using any strategy does not guarantee positive results for all players and that approaches may differ. Don’t try any blackjack strategy unless you’ve thoroughly researched it and covered all of your bases: set up a manageable bankroll, start with small bets, and keep learning the intricacies of blackjack.


What exactly is surrender in blackjack?

Surrender is a move that is optional on some online blackjack tables, such as Blackjack Surrender, which allows the player to forfeit their hand in exchange for half of the wager.

How does Blackjack Surrender work?

The only difference between Blackjack Surrender and traditional blackjack is the ability to surrender your hand.

What is the best way to surrender?

The best time to surrender will be determined by whether the dealer hits or stands on a soft 17, as well as the strength of your hand. Check the game rules (or ask the dealer) to see if the table allows for a late or early surrender, and use the surrender breakdown in this guide to figure out when to surrender in blackjack.

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