Blackjack Surrender Rule: What Is it

Posted by Joseph Ellison

Online blackjack is one the world’s most popular table games. It’s also one of the most frustrating when a dealer pulls a natural blackjack right off the bat. To help with your bankroll management and extend the life of your online casino session, blackjack surrender affords players an opportunity to mitigate risk when the dealer’s up card is loaded. This guide to blackjack surrender will walk you through the basics of the game’s variant, different types of strategies and answer some frequently asked questions.

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What is Blackjack Surrender?

To keep the definition simple, blackjack surrender is an optional rule that allows player’s the right to forfeit, a.k.a. surrender, half of their initial wager after seeing both their two hole cards and the dealer’s up card. Blackjack surrender strategy can vary based on table conditions such as how many decks are being used, what hole cards the player receives and what up card the dealer is showing. The most important thing to remember is that surrender can help extend the life your chip count and practice sound bankroll management.

Types of Blackjack Surrender

There are two types of blackjack surrender to be aware of and knowing how both versions work could help you save on some potential losses and extend the life of your casino bankroll.

two green cards being with a 'stop' hand in front

Early Surrender

More beneficial for the player, early surrender blackjack allows the bettor to forfeit 1/2 of his original wager before the dealer checks to see if they have blackjack. This option reduces the casino’s house edge by more than 0.5%.

two green playing cards with a hand pressing a button

Late Surrender

Late surrender can also mitigate some potential risk. However, this version allows the dealer to check their hole cards for a natural blackjack. If the dealer flips over their down card and do NOT have blackjack, you recoup half your bet. If they do have blackjack you lose your entire bet.

Blackjack Surrender Tips

One of the more advanced strategies for blackjack surrender is deciding what to do based on total dependent or composition dependent hole cards. There are dozens of scenarios that could play out depending on how many decks are being used, but here’s the basic strategy.

a player doubling down in a game of blackjack

Total Dependent

This is when the player is only concerned with the total value of their two hole cards before deciding whether or not to surrender to the dealer.

a hand choosing to stand in blackjack

Composition Dependent

A composition dependent blackjack hand can vary in its two independent hole cards, but the total is the same. For example, hole cards of 9-4 and 8-5 are unique in composition, but both total 13.

stacks of white poker chips

Example of Each

Let’s say you’re playing with four decks:

In a total dependent scenario, if you have 15 and the dealer’s up card is showing a 10, you should surrender.

In a composition dependent scenario, if you have a 10 + 6 against a dealer’s 10, you’ll always surrender, but if you have 8 + 8, you never surrender and likely split the hands in two.

Blackjack Surrender FAQ

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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