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.

Why Surrender in Blackjack

Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. At least that’s what they say. And there is a play available to blackjack players that covers this.

In blackjack, as long as the house rules allow it at the table you’re playing at, players can surrender their hand if they feel it would be advantageous to do so.

Quickly put, surrendering in blackjack is when a play gives up playing out his hand at the cost of half of his bet. It’s similar to folding in poker except that only half of your bet is gone rather than all of it like in poker.

There are just some hands in blackjack that are tough to play and the chances of you beating the dealer are just too steep. In those cases the player must go on the defensive. And if surrender is allowed, it is the best truly defensive play available to a blackjack player.

So when are the times when it’s in a blackjack player’s best interest to surrender?

No surprise that the most advantageous times to surrender are with some of the trickiest stiff hands:

– Hard 15 vs. dealer’s 10
– Hard 16 vs. dealer’s 9
– Hard 16 vs. dealer’s 10
– Hard 16 vs. dealer’s Ace

When you have been dealt those hands and are faced with those dealer up cards the odds on the player beating the dealer are very steep. The dealer’s up card is in a good place to hit up to a strong hand.

If the deck is rich in high cards they might only hit for one card and have strong hand. But since low cards favor the dealer, if the remaining deck is rich in low cards, then the dealer still has a good chance at building a strong hand.

And with those hands against those up cards, basic strategy advises standing as the best course of action. Unless surrender is an option. If surrender is an option, then basic strategy advises to go that route and save half of your bet rather than lose all of it.