Player Favorable Blackjack Rules—Part VII

Yesterday I talked about late surrender and why that’s a player favorable blackjack rule. But there is another form of surrender: early surrender.

In terms of what both forms of surrender do to the house edge, this one is the better one. Early surrender can lower the housed edge by 0.6%. So blackjack players should love it if they find a game that offers this option. However, it’s not as common as it used to be in the 70’s.

Early surrender allows players to give up their hands before the dealer checks his hole card. And that is how it differs from late surrender, which allows players to surrender only after the dealer has checked his hole card.

In terms of lowering the house edge, early surrender is by far the better rule.

The reason why early surrender cuts of more of the house edge than late surrender does is because you can still get out before losing your entire bet, even if the dealer has blackjack. See, in late surrender, if the dealer checks his hole card and has a natural blackjack you lose. And you lose your entire bet.

But in early surrender, let’s say you have that stiff hand and the dealer’s up card is a 10. Assuming that the hole card is another 10—which is how we play our basic strategy—then you know that your odds at beating him aren’t all that fantastic. And that is the frustration of a stiff hand—you tend to assume that you’re going to lose your bet.

The beauty of early surrender is that you could just give up your hand and only lose half of your bet rather than all of it regardless of what the dealer’s hole card is. Even if he has a natural blackjack you still have half of your bet lost rather than all of it lost like you would have if you were in a blackjack game that was offering late surrender.

So if you can find a blackjack game that offers early surrender play there.

Keep an eye open for Player Favorable Blackjack Rules—Part VIII