I love blackjack. It has the thrill that gambling offers yet it’s a game of skill. There are only two games of skill to be found among casino games: blackjack and poker. And between the two, blackjack is the better one.
Some would say that poker is better because you have an out in poker: folding.
But blackjack has a lesser known yet better option: surrender.
In poker, folding means giving up your entire wager. In blackjack, surrender means that you are only losing half of your wager rather than all of it. And that alone already gives blackjack a leg up on poker.
But surrender isn’t limited to one form; there are, in fact, two forms: early surrender and late surrender.
Late surrender is the more widely found form. It allows a player to exit the round, but only after the dealer has checked for blackjack. So regardless of whatever the dealer has, as long as it isn’t a natural blackjack, the player can give up half of their wager and leave the round, which is preferable to losing the entire wager.
Late surrender can actually impact the house edge. Played properly, which means according to basic strategy, it can knock 0.08% off of the house edge.
Early surrender is the other form. This one is the more advantageous one, which is why it’s less commonly found in casinos. In early surrender a blackjack player can surrender their hand before the dealer checks to see if he has a natural blackjack. And even if he does have a natural blackjack, the player can still exit the round, unlike late surrender.
Because early surrender allows players out even if the dealer has a natural blackjack it the more advantageous of the two forms of surrender. It also impacts the house edge harder: 0.6% is taken off of the house edge. And that is why early surrender is found less often.
But these house edge impacts are only effective when surrender is done at the most advantageous times. Those times can be found on a basic strategy chart. But just to recount them they are you have a hard 16 versus a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace, and a hard 15 against a dealer’s 10.