Blackjack Surrender

Blackjack School

Blackjack Surrender is a popular form of blackjack that takes its name from a special rule that allows the player that believes they are holding a losing hand to surrender their hand after the initial deal for the cost of half their wager.

This game is very popular in Europe and is offered in many European casinos and in all Playtech online casinos. Unfortunately it is not as popular in the USA so players will be hard pushed to find it in US casinos or online casinos for US players.

Blackjack Surrender Rules

First it is important to remember that in theory the surrender rule can be added to most blackjack variants. The rules of the blackjack variant will be the same; only with the added rule that surrender is allowed.

Let us assume you are playing late surrender blackjack with the following rules:

  • Dealer must draw to 16 and stand on all 17s
  • No resplit allowed
  • Doubling down after a split allowed
  • Hitting split aces not allowed
  • An ace and a 10 value card in a split hand do not count as natural blackjack
  • Insurance pays 2:1
How to play

The actual play will commence in a normal way. The player will place a wager and be dealt two cards. In case the dealer's up card is an ace the player can buy insurance. In case the dealer’s up card is a 10 valued card, they would check to see if they have a blackjack. If they do then the original wager is lost and the insurance bet would pay 2 to 1.

In case both the dealer and player have a natural blackjack the original bet is pushed but the insurance bet is paid at 2 to 1.

When neither the dealer nor the player have a natural blackjack, the player is given the option to surrender their hand before any other moves are made. In this case the player will get half their original wager and half would be lost to the casino.

This is referred to as late surrender. There are also games that offer early surrender, made prior to the dealer checking their hand for a natural blackjack. Early surrender can also be available in no-hole-card blackjack.

Early surrender used to be the norm in most Atlantic City casinos, but it disappeared from US casinos as it is more favorable to the player than late surrender.

The Benefits

Any blackjack game that is played with the late surrender rule is more favorable to the player as it lowers the house edge by about 0.07% thus increasing the player’s chances of winning.

The Pitfalls

Many players get tempted by the late surrender option and surrender any hand that could probably result in a loss. That is not the correct strategy for this play. Optimal strategy dictates that only the worst hands be surrendered because even having a low chance of winning the full original bet is better than losing half the bet.

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