Two Types of Surrender in Blackjack

Since we discussed surrender as a part of your blackjack strategy this morning, I figured it might be beneficial to go over the two types of surrender that you are bound to come across: late surrender and early surrender.

The basic concept of surrender is to exit the round at the cost of half of your wager.

Late surrender is the variety that only allows you to bow out of the round after the dealer has checked to see if he has blackjack. This is the surrender variety that has the smaller impact on the house edge because the dealer is allowed to check first. And if he does have a natural blackjack, guess what—you just lost. Oh, and if he does have a natural blackjack naturally you lose your option to surrender.

Because there is still the potential that you would not be able to exit the round late surrender only knocks 0.08% off of the house edge.

Now we move on to early surrender. I do not know of a blackjack player who does not like early surrender best. Early surrender allows a blackjack player to exit the round before the dealer checks to see if they have a natural blackjack or not. By the time the dealer does check for a natural blackjack you are long gone from the round. Well, you still might be at the table, but that particular round is over for you. The dealer having a natural blackjack is a mote point for the player in this instance.

Because early surrender allows you an out regardless of whether of whether the dealer has a natural blackjack or not, it has a greater impact on the house edge: 0.6% off.

The next time that you are in a casino look for a table that allows for surrender, preferably one with early surrender although I will say it is not common to find. The important point is to use surrender in your blackjack strategy when it is to your advantage: you have a hard 15 and the dealer has a 10, or you have a hard 16 and the dealer has a 9, 10 or Ace.

A Hard Hand vs. a Dealer 9, 10 or Ace

Do you know what the best play in blackjack to make when you have a hard 15 or hard 16 versus a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace? The answer might not be exactly what you think it is.

The instances in a game of blackjack that I am talking about are when you have a hard 15 versus a dealer’s 10 or a hard 16 against a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace by the way.

Your first answer would be to stand. And in some blackjack games that would be the best statistical play to make. But in other blackjack games there is a better statistical play and it comes in two varieties: late and early surrender.

Late surrender is the more common of the two, but that is because it only hits the house edge for 0.08%. When it comes to late surrender, it is a play in which the player gives up half of his wager to exit the round only after the dealer has checked for blackjack. Players must decide to make a late surrender before they make any other plays; once a player decides to hit or stand the option to make a late surrender is gone.

The other type of surrender is early surrender. This differs from late surrender in that in an early surrender the player can give up half of their wager before the dealer checks for blackjack. Early surrender allows the player to get out of that particular round even if the dealer does have a natural blackjack. And because that aspect early surrender lowers the house edge by 0.6%. And that 0.6% hit is why early surrender is seen less often in blackjack games.

But surrender should only be used in blackjack if you have a hard 15 against a dealer’s 10 or a hard 16 against a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace. Those are the four best times to surrender since a blackjack player’s chances of winning are the lowest then.

If you can find a game that allows for late surrender go for it, and if you can find a game of blackjack that allows for early surrender—even better!

Surrender as a Part of Your Blackjack Strategy

Surrender is often an over looked part of blackjack strategy. In fact, not every basic strategy card even tells you when to surrender. But in some instances you need to surrender because it is what is best for your blackjack odds.

Part of a blackjack strategy is knowing when to play offensively and when to play defensively. Surrender is a part of playing defensively. Blackjack strategy is about improving your odds to make the most in advantageous moments, and to minimize losses when the odds of a round are against you.

Surrender is one of those defensive plays that are meant to minimize your losses. It is kind of like folding in poker, except you only lose half of your wager instead of all of it.

We are going to look at early surrender. This is when you can give up half of your wager before making any plays and before the dealer checks for blackjack. This means that you can surrender, give up half of your wager, and still keep the other half even if the dealer has a natural blackjack.

Being able to make an early surrender gives a healthy boost to your blackjack odds. How much? Try an added 0.39% to your blackjack odds. That is how powerful early surrender is, and why any blackjack player worth their salt should not over look this blackjack player.

And as a little extra in this blackjack tip I will tell you when the best times to surrender are, since so many basic strategy charts out there do not tell you. See? They over look it too.

Okay, so the best times to surrender are when you have a hard 15 and the dealer has an up card of 10 or when you have a hard 16 and the dealer is showing an up card of 9, 10 or an Ace.

You want a good blackjack tip? Then surrender when you have one of those two hands and the dealer has any of those up cards. Do it and boost your blackjack odds. Sure you will lose half of your wager, but that is losing all of it, and that is why early surrender is a good defensive blackjack play.

What Would Make Up the Best Blackjack Game?

While we all enjoy our blackjack games, be it blackjack in a brick and mortar casino or blackjack online, we all will imagine from time to time what would be our perfect blackjack game. Granted, we do not expect to ever actually find our perfect game of blackjack, but every now and then we will all sigh and let our minds wander to this perfect game and imagine the fun and the winnings.

So what would my perfect game of blackjack be? Well, naturally it has all kinds of player favorable rules.

For starters I would have natural blackjacks paying 2-1 instead of 3-2. While a 3-2 payout is awesome, a 2-1 payout will not only pay more but it will also increase a player’s blackjack odds by 2.27%.

What else?

I would have double downs on any first two cards, not just 10s and 11s. That right there would increase a player’s blackjack odds by 0.23%. And while we are on the subject of double downs, I would also allow for double downs after splitting a pair. That little move adds a nice 0.15% to the blackjack odds of a player.

Moving on to the subject of pair splitting, my perfect game of blackjack would allow resplitting on any pairs, which adds 0.03% to their player odds. Not a lot but any rule that gives a blackjack player more options is a good thing—except side bets, there would be no side bets in this perfect game of blackjack.

And I would allow for early surrender on any first two cards. That gives a nice 0.62% boost to your blackjack odds.

As for rules that apply to the dealer, he would have to stand on soft 17. I would not have any off that hitting a soft 17 nonsense. Taking away the dealer’s ability to hit a soft 17 takes away the negative 0.2% to your player odds.

Finally to top of this perfect game, the number of decks these rules would be played out on: a single deck. Just like in the good old days of blackjack before casinos started getting greedy and wanting to make the game harder.

Adding all the player favorable advantages here together gives the player 0.835% odds. Just those rules alone but the game’s odds in your favor. You would not even need card counting at this point. While I would not win every single hand in this game, I would certainly be pulling in more in winnings than I would in a typical blackjack game. And this is all before using basic strategy too.

Unfortunately, the chances of me finding such a game of blackjack, be it an online blackjack game or blackjack in a brick and mortar casino, are not all that great. But I can dream, right?

European Blackjack vs. Blackjack

For the most part blackjack is a pretty standard casino game. There are not a lot of ways to vary blackjack. And that is probably why most of the blackjack variations you run across in online casinos and in brick and mortar casinos are based on side bets, while the actual game is played the same as always.

However. There are a small number of blackjack variations which are true variations, meaning that some rules are different. European Blackjack is one such variation.

European Blackjack is not a variation based on a side bet. There are two rules in this game that make it different than regular blackjack. And these differences in rules are not to the player’s advantage either.

First off players can only double down when the first two cards total 9, 10 or 11 in European Blackjack. Because double downs are highly advantageous to players, this rule does impact a player’s blackjack odds. When a player can double down on any hand it increases the player’s blackjack odds by 0.23%. But when players are limited to only doubling down on 9, 10 and 11 it takes 0.09% off of the player’s odds.

Next up in the differences between European Blackjack is that there is no surrender. Surrender is bowing out of the hand at the cost of half your wager. It is used when your chances of losing the round are very high; so rather than losing your entire wager, you only lose half your wager.

Late surrender gives players an added 0.08% to their blackjack odds, while early surrender takes 0.6% off of the house edge. In European Blackjack, players lose that added 0.08% and the house is not hit with that 0.6%. So not having the option to surrender hurts the player’s blackjack odds. Again.

And those two are the two biggest hits against a player’s blackjack odds. Overall the house gets to add 0.62% to its edge thanks to all the house favorable rules.

I would only recommend playing European Blackjack only for low stakes or for a break from regular blackjack. But I do not like that 0.62% added to the house edge, especially for regular playing. If you want to play European something in the casino or in an online casino stick with European Roulette.

Early Surrender vs. Late Surrender

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.

Easy Surrender is Easy

In my post this morning I talked about late surrender and how it works and how it impacts the house edge. I mentioned that there was another form of surrender called early surrender.

Now early surrender is still an incredible boon to blackjack players because, regardless of which type you go with, both still allow you to exit a round of blackjack without losing your whole bet.

Like I said this morning, it’s like folding in poker only better.

Early surrender works in that a blackjack player is allowed to surrender their cards and half of their wager to exit a round. This morning in we learned that late surrender can only happen after the dealer has checked his hole card to see if he has a natural blackjack. It is only after then that a blackjack player can surrender.

But early surrender allows for an earlier out from a round of blackjack. A player can choose to exit a round before the dealer checks to see if he has a natural blackjack.

Because it allows an out regardless of the dealer having a natural blackjack or not, this impacts the house edge in a big way. To the tune of 0.6% off of the house edge. And that is also why you will not see early surrender offered all that often, and when you do see such a blackjack game it would be wise to sit down and play there.

But like late surrender, you will not want to use early surrender as an easy-out when you don’t like the cards you’ve been dealt. Other players will probably see such a play as being petulant.

There are only four instances of when it is wise to surrender: a hard 16 versus a dealer’s up card of 9, 10 or Ace, and a hard 15 against a dealer’s up card of 10. Those are the only four instances in which it is statistically advantageous to make an early surrender.

If early surrender is used too liberally, in other words used an easy-out, it will undermine the play’s impact on the house edge. If you make an early surrender constantly you will constantly be losing half of your wager, and it will add up. And because it adds up it means that you are giving the casino more and more of your money than might be necessary. Doing such is how a blackjack player can lessen the impact on the house edge and even lower their own blackjack odds.

So when you see a game of blackjack that offers early surrender, sit down and play knowing that you’re hitting the house edge pretty hard. Just don’t over use it and potentially hurt your own blackjack odds.

Player Advantages in Blackjack—Surrender

Yes, I have another one!

But come on, why shouldn’t I point out the advantages that players have in blackjack?

While payouts, splitting pairs and doubling down can be done both in blackjack online and off, surrender isn’t always available online. It might take you some hunting before you find an online blackjack game that lets you.

But on to surrender.

Surrender is an option that’s kind of like folding in poker. In poker a player can look at his cards and decide to give up his wager and quit the round without having to bet anymore money.

Surrender is like this but better. That’s right, I said better.

When a player surrenders in blackjack he is only giving up half of his wager. So if you wagered $50 and were dealt a couple of cards that you just can’t really do anything with, you can choose to give up $25 and quit the round.

There are two types of surrender: early and late.

Early surrender is when you surrender before the dealer checks to see if he has a natural blackjack. This version allows players to quit the round even if the dealer has blackjack.

Late surrender the player can only surrender after the dealer has checked to see if he has blackjack. The downside is that if the dealer has blackjack, the player is stuck.

It isn’t often that a smart time comes along to surrender. It’s best to do so when basic strategy advises you to. Most basic strategy charts will say that the best times to surrender is when you have a hard 15 versus a dealer’s 10; and when you have a hard 16 versus a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace. Those are the only time you want to surrender because it’s going to be hard to beat a dealer with those up cards when you have a stiff hand.

Surrender is a player advantage because it allows the player out of the game when the dealer can’t leave the game. He has to stay and play. This is because blackjack is a player versus the dealer type game. The dealer cannot quit the game because without him there is no game.

So even if the player dealt a natural blackjack in a face up game the dealer just has to stand back and lose.

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