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Blackjack Strategy – When To Surrender?

Staff Writer 08/26/2021 Blog 16 views

The surrender rule in blackjack is quite popular if you’re looking for blackjack games with the best RTP. It can be of substantial use and cut down losses significantly. Those of you that use basic blackjack strategy should be familiar with this idea. However, all blackjack charts aside, we often get asked the same question – when should I surrender in blackjack?

There are very specific times and situations in which you should surrender according to optimal blackjack strategies. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. We’ll start with the basics.

What is Surrender in Blackjack?

We’ve already written about this topic before, so we’ll keep the essentials brief.

Blackjack surrender is a rule that allows players to fold their hands willingly and receive half their stake back. As you may have guessed, the idea is to get rid of a hand you’ll believe you’ll lose. That way, you can significantly decrease losses with just a bit of foresight.

There are two main kinds of surrender rules in blackjack:

  • Late surrender allows players to surrender only after the dealer checks for blackjack. It’s the most common type of surrender rule, and it has both advantages and disadvantages.
  • Early surrender, conversely, allows players to tap out only before the dealer checks for blackjack. It’s a rarely seen rule, but it generally has a similar strategic impact as the first option. There are key differences, though, and we’ll get to them in a moment.

It’s also worth noting that Early Surrender is generally more player-friendly. In fact, being able to straight-up circumvent a dealer’s blackjack lowers the RTP by a whopping 0.63%. Perhaps that’s why most online blackjack games stick to Late surrender. If they have surrender rules at all, that is.

When To Use Late Surrender

Let’s start with the more widespread option for the late variant. Since this site mostly deals with online or live dealer blackjack, we’ll only use strategies for blackjack with 4 decks or more. Single-deck blackjack games are extremely rare these days, especially in a casino setting.

Also, we’ll cover two rules variations – Dealer Hits on Soft 17 and Dealer Stands on Soft 17.

First of all, if you have a 16, you should surrender on any dealer card above a 9. Yes, this includes Aces, and it applies regardless of whether the dealer hits or stands on 17.

However, if your hand totals 17, standing is generally a better option. The only scenario in which you should surrender with a 17 is if the dealer is showing Ace and the rules state that they hit on a soft 17. The dealer can afford to hit despite the obvious risks, so you should play on the safe side and surrender.

The last few scenarios happen on a player hand of 15. In this case, you should surrender if the dealer is showing the dreaded 10, or an Ace and they also hit on a soft 17. In all other cases, you should play according to the basic blackjack strategy. I.e – hit if the dealer shows 7 or more, else stand.

When To Early Surrender in Blackjack

We’ll round this short blackjack guide off with some early surrender tips. Generally speaking, you can rely on the same guidelines as with the late variant. The only exceptions are if the dealer is showing Ace or 10.

Always surrender if the dealer is showing Ace and your hand totals 5, 6, 7, or anywhere from 12 to 17. If the dealer is showing 10, you should also surrender a hard 14, 15, or 16.

That pretty much covers how to use surrender in blackjack. For more articles and useful strategy tips, check out our strategy section.

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