Understanding the Surrenders in Blackjack

So, my dear blackjack players, I have been giving some more thought to the rules of Double Attack Blackjack and it has me thinking about late surrender and surrender in blackjack in general. Late surrender is one of two ways for a blackjack player to exit a round without losing all of their wager. But there are two different types of surrender and it pays to know the difference between the two.

First we are going to look at late surrender. A lot of novice players assume that because of the word ‘late’ in the title it means that late surrender is the preferred of the two. And while either form of surrender is better than no surrender, late takes a backseat to early surrender. Here’s why:

In order for a player to make a late surrender, he has to wait for the dealer to check to see if he has a natural blackjack. Only after checking can a player choose to give up half of their wager and surrender. If the dealer has a natural blackjack, then the player cannot make a late surrender. But despite that one drawback, late surrender can help a player’s edge by giving them a boost of 0.08%. This is because on the occasions that they can still surrender, they only lose half of their wager and not all of it, like they would if the dealer has a natural.

Early surrender, as compared to late surrender, allows the player to exit a blackjack round before the dealer checks to see if he has a natural blackjack. This significantly boosts the player’s blackjack edge, with a boost of 0.24%. The biggest difference is that once a player surrenders and gives up half of his wager, he can still keep the other half even the dealer has a natural blackjack. That is where the difference in the boost to the player’s edge is.

Between the two, early surrender is the preferred way to go, but it is less common than late surrender. That being said, if the only option is to play in a game of blackjack with late surrender or in a game with no surrender, go with the one that offers at least one form of surrender—that is if the other house rules are not too steep.

Surrendering to Blackjack

Okay, this is more about a play used in blackjack rather than some romantical notion of giving in to desires hidden beneath the surface.

Players in blackjack have one of the most awesome ways to exit a round of blackjack in which the odds are just too high against them to win: surrender. Sometimes the underdog stays under. And if it looks like a round is just not in your favor, you need to get out.

With this blackjack rule, players can give up half of their original wager, keep the other half and exit the round. There is no other cost for exiting a round other than that half of your original wager.

Not too bad considering blackjack and poker are the only casino games that give players a way out of an unfavorable round—and poker players have to give up all of their wager. So, blackjack players, we have it pretty nice.

Surrender comes in two varieties: late and early.

Late surrender allows the player to surrender after the dealer has checked for blackjack. Only after he has checked can surrender be chosen. So if the dealer does have a natural blackjack you are just out of luck. But if you are able to make the play, it can increase your edge by 0.08%.

And while that 0.08% is not too bad, early surrender fives you an even bigger boost: 0.24%. The reason for the larger boost is because players can surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack. Once you surrender, even if the dealer does have a natural blackjack, you still have only lost half of your wager.

But there are only a few times in which surrender is meant to be used. This is not a play to be used like a petulant child does a temper tantrum. A basic strategy chart can tell you when the best times to surrender are.

In fact, that is your homework—find out when the best times to surrender are. The answers will be posted tomorrow morning.

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.

Surrender as a Part of Your Blackjack Strategy

No one likes to admit defeat. Especially when money is involved. This is probably why many blackjack player for-go the option to surrender when the house rules allow for it.

But what a good blackjack player has to keep in mind is the overall picture, not just one round. What surrender does is let you out of a hand that you are more than likely going to lose, for half the cost.

When a player decides to surrender, he makes the decision when his turn to play comes. He can either surrender or play out his hand. If surrender is chosen, he loses half of his wager and surrenders his cards—the round is over for him.

So it is like folding in poker except you do not lose all of your money.

And even though players do not lose all of their money when they surrender they are still hesitant to do so. It simply comes down to not wanting to admit defeat.

The key to making a successful surrender is when you chose to do so, and there are only four instances in good blackjack strategy when you should surrender: when you have a hard 16 and the dealer is showing a 9, 10 or Ace; and when you have a hard 15 when the dealer is showing a 10.

Those are hands that you are most likely going to lose. In regards to blackjack strategy, which is used to minimize your losses to help increase your overall odds, your best odds for those hands is to surrender. Surrendering and losing only half of your wager is more advantageous in both the short and long run than not surrendering and losing all of your wager.

So while it might feel a bit like a defeat in that round, know that you are coming out better for surrendering.

So ask yourself which you would rather lose: half of your wager or all of it?

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.

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.

Why We Love Late Surrender

Surrender is an incredible play for blackjack players. It’s better than folding in poker. When you fold in poker you lose all of your wager. But for blackjack players who surrender, they can get out of a round that doesn’t look like it’s going to have a good outcome and only lose half of their wager. And that is why surrender is one of the most awesome plays that a blackjack player can make.

But late surrender is better than early surrender. The difference is that early surrender only allows you to exit before the dealer checks his hole card to see if he has blackjack.

In late surrender a player can still surrender after the dealer has check for blackjack; and even if the dealer does have blackjack, you can still leave the round only leaving half of your wager behind.

This comes in handy when you have a stiff hand like a hard 16 and the dealer has a 10 showing. So he checks and doesn’t have blackjack, but he still has that 10 showing. If you check your basic strategy chart you will see that when you have a hard 16 and the dealer has a 10 showing that the best recommended play is to surrender.

So surrender. You exit the round with only half of your wager lost rather than the more likely outcome of all your wager lost to the house.

So what does late surrender do to the house edge since it’s so player friendly?

Having the ability to exit a round of blackjack in which you know you’ve got a better chance of losing than winning will lower the house edge by 0.08%.

But for late surrender to be thoroughly effective you need to play it according to basic strategy. This means only surrendering when it advises you to do so and not to use it as an easy-out when you do not like the cards you have been dealt. Using late surrender as an easy-out can actually reverse the impact on the house edge because you’ll be losing more money over time rather than winning more.

So take advantage of late surrender when you find yourself at a blackjack table that allows for it. But only use it when basic strategy advises you to.