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What is surrender in blackjack? Of all of the options a player can exercise at the blackjack table, surrender is one of the least used and least understood. In fact, the surrender option has even disappeared from many live casinos because most players never bothered to use it. There is something about blackjack players which makes them want to fight until the bitter end. Never give up, never surrender.

The truth is, surrender can be one of your most powerful weapons at the blackjack table. When used properly, surrender is one of the few player options which can actually reduce the house’s edge and give you a greater chance to win.

What Is Surrender in Blackjack?

Surrender, or late surrender as it most commonly called, is exactly what the name implies. It is basically an option which allows to the player to give up their hand and forfeit half of their original wager after the dealer checks to see if they have blackjack. When a player exercises this option, the dealer collects half of their original bet and the hand is over.

For example, you are dealt a hard total of 16 and the dealer shows a 10. As we will see in just a moment, this is a hand which is usually a good surrender. Your bet on the hand is $10, so when you surrender the hand the dealer will collect $5 and return $5 to you. The hand is over and you will not be allowed to act further.

There is also an option, almost never found in today’s casinos known as early surrender. Early surrender allows you to forfeit your hand before the dealer checks for blackjack. This can reduce the house edge even farther. Unfortunately, many casinos are unwilling to offer the player this option.

How To Surrender in Blackjack

Just like every other player option, surrender is executed at the blackjack table with a specific action. In this case, you simply say the word “surrender” to the dealer and this will alert the dealer to what you wish to do.

There is one important point to note her. In live casino play, always make sure you make eye contact with the dealer and speak in a loud, clear voice whenever you surrender. The casino is a loud place with lots of distractions. If the dealer is not looking at you and does not hear you clearly he may mistake your decision to surrender for something else. This is something we have seen happen in live blackjack play. Sometimes the dealer is not paying attention and carries out another option out of routine.

Do not move your hands when exercising the surrender option. Surrender is one of the few options that must be executed verbally. In fact, all of the other options at the blackjack table can be executed with a hand gesture. Therefore, do not move your hands if you intend to surrender. The dealer can easily mistake your hand movement for a decision to hit or stand.

If you are playing online, surrender is much easier to accomplish. There will be a button on the screen which says SURRENDER. Simply click that button and you have surrendered the hand.

The Rules Of Surrender

In most casinos, the rules of surrender are as follows:

  • A player may surrender any two card total.
  • Surrender cannot be executed after otherwise acting on your hand. In other words, you may not surrender after hitting, standing, doubling down, splitting, or taking insurance.

That’s pretty much it where the rules of surrender are concerned. In the case of surrender, what really matters is the strategy behind using it.

The Strategy Of Surrender

Using surrender properly reduces the edge of the casino by 0.07%. Blackjack is a game of percentages and edges. The only way you will ever be a consistent winner at the game of blackjack is to use every means at your disposal to reduce the house edge. That means using surrender when it is wise to do so.

Thankfully, the strategy for using surrender is very easy to remember. In a multiple-deck game you should exercise surrender in the following manner:

  • Surrender a hard total of 16 against the dealer’s 9, 10, or Ace.
  • Surrender a hard total of 15 against the dealer’s 10 or Ace.

That’s it. Those are the only two scenarios in multiple-deck blackjack which cause you to surrender your hand. All other hands must be played according to the basic strategy of blackjack.

This means that you are going to have to “man-up” and hit those stiff hands against a dealer’s 10. You should never surrender hard totals of 12, 13, or 14. The reason why is that, in the long run, you will win more money by hitting these hands. Don’t play hunches at the blackjack table when it comes to surrender. Always act according to the above strategy. No exceptions. To play blackjack for real money we recommend that you try one of the recommended & trusted casinos or play our free blackjack game.


  1. How many types of surrender are there?
    • There are two main types:
      • Early Surrender: Allows players to surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack.
      • Late Surrender: Allows players to surrender only after the dealer checks for blackjack and does not have it.
  2. Is the surrender option always available in blackjack?
    • No, not all blackjack tables or variations offer the surrender option. It’s important to check the table rules or ask the dealer.
  3. When should players typically use the surrender option?
    • Basic blackjack strategy offers guidelines on when to surrender:
      • Surrender a hard 16 (but not 8-8) against a dealer’s 9, 10, or Ace.
      • Surrender a hard 15 against a dealer’s 10. These situations are based on statistical probabilities where surrendering half your bet might be more favorable in the long run than playing out the hand.
  4. How do players indicate they want to surrender?
    • In a live game, players can verbally announce “surrender” or use a specific hand signal – usually drawing a horizontal line behind their bet. In online games, there’s typically a “surrender” button.
  5. Does surrendering look bad or show a lack of confidence?
    • While some players might view it as giving up, strategic players recognize that using the surrender option at the right times can be a smart move to minimize losses over the long run.
  6. How does the dealer’s upcard affect the decision to surrender?
    • The dealer’s upcard is a significant factor. Players are more likely to surrender when the dealer shows a strong upcard (like 9, 10, or Ace) and they have a weak hand.
  7. Is it advisable to surrender a pair of eights?
    • Typically, no. While a 16 is usually a candidate for surrender against strong dealer upcards, a pair of eights is an exception because it’s generally better to split them and play two separate hands.
  8. How does the surrender option affect the house edge?
    • When used correctly, the surrender option can slightly reduce the house edge. It offers players a way to save half their bet in situations where they’re statistically likely to lose.
  9. Are there any misconceptions about surrendering in blackjack?
    • Yes, many players either overuse or underuse the surrender option. Some view it as a weak move and never use it, while others might surrender too often, not realizing they’re forfeiting bets in situations where they might have a fighting chance.

Knowing when to surrender – and when to forge ahead – is a skill that can help optimize a player’s blackjack strategy. It’s a tool in the player’s arsenal that, when used judiciously, can help manage losses and extend play.

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