When To Surrender In Blackjack

By Alex Smith, Last updated Mar 23, 2024

Many online casinos (and some land-based casinos) offer you the chance to surrender in Blackjack. When used correctly, surrendering can help you to decrease the house edge. Unfortunately, due to lower profit margins than in the past, many land-based casinos have stopped offering games with the surrender option.

That being said, many online casinos allow you to surrender. This page will look at everything from the early surrender rule to the different Blackjack games where you can surrender in Blackjack.

What Does Surrender in Blackjack Mean?

A Blackjack surrender is an optional rule found at some Blackjack games. It allows you to surrender (give up) half of your bet after you have seen your first two cards and the dealer’s first card.

For example, surrendering may be a suitable option if you have a feeble hand and the dealer has a powerful first card. Generally speaking, there are two main types of surrender; early surrender and late surrender. We will look at both of these below. Later on, we will show you when to surrender in Blackjack.

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What Does Early Surrender Mean?

Early surrender lets you surrender your hand before the dealer checks their first card for Blackjack. Being able to surrender before the dealer checks their first card significantly impacts the house edge. For example, if the dealer shows an ace and you can surrender before they check for Blackjack, you have a massive edge. Unfortunately, early surrender is incredibly rare to see today. Even if you find it, you will likely find some other game modifications to even out the house edge and tilt it back into the casino’s favor.

Interestingly, the early surrender rule was a byproduct of some decisions made by the Casino Control Commission. In the late 1970s, when land-based casinos started becoming legal in the USA, the CCC chose to bring in some pretty liberal rules in the hope that it would attract players into playing.

As a result, many Blackjack surrender games were mandated by law to allow early surrender. However, this lowered the casino’s house edge by 0.6%. While that may not sound like much, it significantly impacted the casino’s profitability. Today, early surrender is very hard to come across. The early surrender option is simply too costly for casinos.

What Does Late Surrender Mean?

Late surrender is the most common type of Blackjack surrender you will see. It differs from the early Blackjack surrender rules we just looked at because you can only surrender your hand AFTER the dealer has checked their hand for Blackjack. Unfortunately, this dramatically changes the odds of surrender; the casinos prefer the late surrender option.

However, the late surrender option can still be beneficial when used correctly. However, many land-based casinos simply don’t advertise it anymore. Sometimes, you will have to ask the dealer if they offer late surrender. It’s also worth noting that every casino has different surrender rules.

To make matters even more confusing, not all land-based casinos use the same hand signals to indicate a late surrender in Blackjack. Again, you should always ask the dealer about the specific surrender rules at the table you are playing at to avoid any confusion.

When Should You Surrender?

Blackjack surrender tables are pretty easy to understand once you memorize the basics. As a general rule of thumb, you will want to surrender any hands where you don’t hold at least a 50% chance of winning. However, this is influenced quite a bit by the number of decks in play, as well as whether or not the dealer hits on a soft 17. Below, we will look at the standard rules for late surrender. Remember, you will lose half your stake for doing this.

If the dealer shows a 9, the only time when you should surrender is when you are dealt a 16. However, even then, you should only surrender if there are four or more decks of cards in play. If fewer decks are used, you should not surrender.

If the dealer shows a 10, you should always surrender if you hold a 16 – regardless of the number of decks in play. You should also surrender a hand totaling 15; however, if there is only one deck of cards in play, this changes. You should not surrender in this situation.

If the dealer shows an ace, things get a bit confusing. This is because the rules of whether you should surrender change depending on whether the dealer hits on soft 17 or not.

If the dealer stands on ALL 17s, you should always surrender your hand if it totals 16. This is regardless of the number of decks that are in play. However, if the dealer does hit on soft 17, you should always surrender 15, 16, and 17, regardless of how many decks of cards are in play.

FAQs

Do all online casinos offer early surrender?

No, not all online casinos offer Blackjack surrender. It’s only found in certain variations of the game. However, it’s much more common to see Blackjack surrender offered at online casinos than at land-based ones.

What does Blackjack surrender mean?

A Blackjack surrender is an optional rule found at some Blackjack games. It allows you to surrender (give up) half your bet after you have seen your first two cards and the dealer’s first card.

What are the Blackjack surrender rules?

Each version of Blackjack has its own surrender rules. For example, Blackjack surrender rules at one table can vary quite a lot compared to another. The best way to ensure that you’re familiar with the rules of the specific table you’re playing at is to simply read the rules for the specific game you are playing. If you are playing in a land-based casino, simply ask the dealer. They will be able to explain the Blackjack surrender rule for that specific table for you to understand.

Should I surrender?

This depends on the hand you hold and what the dealer’s first card shows. Check out our quick strategy guide below:

If the dealer shows a 9, the only time when you should surrender is when you are dealt a 16. However, even then, you should only surrender if there are four or more decks of cards in play. If fewer decks are used, you should not surrender.

If the dealer shows a 10, you should always surrender if you hold a 16 – regardless of the number of decks in play. You should also surrender a hand totaling 15; however, if there is only one deck of cards in play, this changes. You should not surrender in this situation.

If the dealer shows an ace, things get a bit confusing. This is because the rules of whether you should surrender change depending on whether the dealer hits on soft 17 or not.

Is surrender allowed in Vegas casinos?

While many land-based casinos in Vegas offer surrender in Blackjack, it’s not always the case. To make matters even more confusing, when surrender in Blackjack is offered, it might not even be displayed on the table! The best thing to do is ask the dealer at the table you’re thinking of playing at, and they will be able to advise you.

Even if the specific game you’re considering doesn’t offer a surrender option, the land-based casino will almost certainly feature some type of surrender game. Just ask one of the staff members on the casino floor, and they will be best suited to help you out.

How do I signal to the dealer that I want to surrender?

Please be aware that different land-based casinos have different hand signals to indicate surrender in Blackjack. As always, you should check with the specific game version you are playing to ensure you don’t accidentally make the wrong hand signals!

However, the universal hand signal for surrendering is done by running your index finger behind your bet. This will indicate to the dealer that you want to surrender your hand. Some land-based casinos may manually confirm this with you before taking any action.

Is surrender in Blackjack available online?

While few land-based casino Blackjack tables offer surrender options, most online games do. When you play Blackjack online, you will immediately see whether a surrender option is available. This is because, while playing, the “surrender” button will pop up as soon as you are faced with a decision.

However, as with land-based casinos, not all online versions of Blackjack allow you to surrender. To make matters even more confusing, some game developers and software providers call surrendering a “side bet”!

Will surrendering in Blackjack make me more money?

While it can seem like this, don’t forget; that when you surrender your hand, you are automatically losing your hand; in reality, you might be saving yourself from losing more money – but ultimately, you are still losing. It’s best to look at things on a long-term basis instead of short-term. Surrendering – when used correctly – can help to lower the house edge.

Should I surrender if I have a 17?

A 17 is a pretty strong hand regardless of what the dealer holds. Even when the dealer shows a picture card, you will still win the hand around 40% of the time – so, no, you should never surrender a 17.

You should avoid trying to save half your bet even when the dealer’s hand shows an ace. It can be tempting to do so, but don’t forget; that land-based and online casino operators are hoping you surrender in these situations. However, the winning odds aren’t in your favor, and the house advantage increases if you play like this.

How do I surrender playing online Blackjack?

If you are playing online Blackjack, the surrender option will appear automatically. You must simply click the “surrender” button to confirm your selection. Usually, you won’t need to reconfirm. Still, some game developers and software providers have added a “are you sure” button there – especially when you’re surrendering when basic strategy says that you shouldn’t.

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325% up to $9750 Welcome Offer
Min. deposit

$ 35 for USD /CAD

Max Cashout

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Wagering req

40 x

Bonus code

No code required

Free spins

Game limits

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Get $9,750 in free bets with Casino Max’s amazing welcome offer.  325% match for your 1st, 2nd and 3rd deposits.

Crypto Deposit: $10+ for a 350% bonus

All Deposits: $35+ for a 325% bonus

Wagering: 40x

– Total Maximum Bet is $10

– Bonuses will automatically be removed at the point of requesting a withdrawal

– All General Terms and Conditions apply

Can I claim a deposit bonus to use on Blackjack surrender games?

Yes, although this depends on which online casino you are playing at. Today, some online casinos allow you to use deposit bonus funds on casino table games, while others do not. Check out the terms and conditions of the deposit bonus to find out whether you can play these games or not.

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