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What Is Early and Late Surrender in Blackjack And Should You Use It?

blackjack table on a cruise shipPlaying online blackjack can result in you experiencing some fascinating features alongside the main game itself. Different versions of the game come with different additions, and when engaging in Blackjack Surrender, you have the chance to…well, surrender! Of course, if you are not familiar with this type of blackjack or the surrender function within the game, then it may come across as being quite a strange option to use. Why would you ever want to surrender when engaging in online blackjack?

And that’s what we’re here for – to give a bit more insight into the function itself and when you may want to utilise it during gameplay. Furthermore, it is important to highlight that the surrender version of blackjack is becoming harder to find at online casinos, and even in land-based casino establishments, too. What is it about this variation that is making it much less common these days? We’re going to take a closer look at the Blackjack Surrender game and what that specific feature is able to provide you, the player, with during gameplay.

What Is Blackjack Surrender?

waving white flag surrenderIt can be said that the ‘surrender bet’ is one of the least known options available in a blackjack game. It exists only in the Blackjack Surrender variant of such, and it gives you the opportunity to save half of your stake by folding your hands prior to meeting that of the dealer. Blackjack Surrender just serves as one of several different variants of the game for players to experience.

Some people steer clear of Blackjack Surrender, due to the fact that they believe it offers an easy way out for what they define as “quitters”. On the other hand, some people have really enjoyed playing this variant, because they define it as being the best route to take when it comes to blackjack. The main reason behind the latter’s thought process is because there is a reduced house edge in Blackjack Surrender, and that’s due to the inclusion of the surrender early possibility. Smarter players who are looking to make real money from online gaming will therefore be drawn to this variant.

The truth of the matter is that when money is involved in gaming, there is never a bad time to have the option of quitting out of things before it’s too late and you lose everything. It’s ideal to learn all about Blackjack Surrender in this instance.

A game featuring the surrender option gives you the opportunity to fold a blackjack hand before any new cards are drawn. When you choose to utilise this feature of the game, half of your original wager is returned to you, while the other half is forfeited to the dealer. This is something that can be executed in both standard RNG versions of Blackjack Surrender, as well as those occurring in a live casino setting.

Usually, you will be given the chance to use an Early Surrender or Late Surrender function, which each differentiate from one another a little.

  • Early Surrender: Prior to the dealer checking for a blackjack with their own cards, you are given the possibility of an Early Surrender. This serves as an ideal surrender option for players, because the chance to utilise it reduces the house advantage by 0.63%.
  • Late Surrender: The same process comes into play with a Late Surrender decision, but this only occurs after the dealer has turned their cards over. In this instance, you receive half of your bet back only in the case that the dealer’s hand is not a blackjack.

When to Make Use Of The Surrender Option

blackjack looking at cards dealer in backgroundWith any novel feature, it is good to know not only how to use it and what it does, but when the best times to use such are. With surrendering, this is definitely something that you need to know about a lot more, because you don’t want to surrender at a moment when winning is still a possibility. Obviously, if the odds are stacked against you in a game, then this makes for a good moment to hit the surrender option.

The best times for using the surrender option in a game of blackjack come in two scenarios. They are as follows:

  1. If your hand totals 16 altogether and the dealer’s up-card is displaying a 9, 10 or an ace. (A surrender should not be used if your first two cards at worth 8 each, though. Simply split the pair, providing yourself with two separate hands, offering alternative chances to win without surrendering).
  2. If your hand totals 15 altogether and the dealer’s up-card is displaying a 10.

Of course, the primary reason for using a surrender function is to benefit you and limit the number of losses you may experience during a gaming session. When used effectively, the house edge can be reduced significantly enough to benefit you. And this is why Blackjack Surrender isn’t quite as promoted as other variations are at both land-based and online casinos. Often times, it won’t be advertised as a game to play at all because casinos aren’t in the habit of shouting about their own edge being reduced.

Furthermore, if a casino does provide a version of blackjack of this nature, then it is more likely to be a game with the late surrender option involved, rather than the early one. Obviously, late surrender is likely to benefit the casino more than the early surrender, so just be aware of what type of Blackjack Surrender you are getting involved in if it is available at your selected casino.

You never know, if you get a good enough strategy going with Blackjack Surrender, you could be the next to outdo Kerry Packer, who secured the largest win ever while playing blackjack back in 1995. Imagine being able to utilise the surrender function effectively enough in some games to build up a win equating to more than $40 million!

Are Early And Late Surrenders Good Practice?

good bad practice wooden blocksThe early surrender rule is the most desirable option to have available between the two possibilities, because it is an option to use regardless of whether or not the dealer was dealt a natural blackjack. And this is another reason why early surrender is such a rarity today – because rules favouring the casino player are not specifically embraced by casinos online or offline.

As noted previously, the addition of the early surrender rule manages to cut the built-in casino edge by 0.63%. Just to put some perspective on that figure (because it doesn’t seem like much), if you changed the shoe of a blackjack game from eight decks to one, the house edge is only affected less than 0.59%. Therefore, early surrender is much more beneficial than even this simple adjustment.

Now, just because the early surrender option is more detrimental to the casino doesn’t mean that it won’t be offered by sites or land-based establishments. Some still have it as a possibility, especially when it comes to the online gaming scene. However, they tend to compensate for their potential loss by introducing other rules to proceedings. They end up damaging the advantage that you have from the early surrender option that you have, so you may be just as well checking into the entire rule set of the game you’re playing before placing a bet. If this is taking place at a land-based casino, then ask the croupier what the rules are surrounding the surrender rule.

In terms of the late surrender option, obviously you get to see the dealer’s hand before being able to utilise it. And unless the dealer has a natural blackjack at this point, only then do you get to really benefit from it. A late surrender rule does not affect the casino’s house edge in the game anywhere near as much as what the early surrender does. Instead, it is affected by about 0.1%, which is around the same level as the double rule that is involved in some blackjack variants.

Because of this minimal effect, this is the surrender rule that you’re more likely to see involved in a casino blackjack game. Despite this, you may still be able to garner a bit of advantage by using it appropriately.

It is actually fairly common for land-based casinos to offer a late surrender rule without advertising it to players. You should always, therefore, ask your dealer if there is such an option available for gameplay.

Using Early and Late Surrender

Let’s take a look at a few tips on when using the early and late surrender options will highly benefit you, should you be playing blackjack with such possibilities available.

Early Surrender

  • When the dealer’s face-up card shows an Ace, and you hold a hard total of between 5 and 7 or 12 and 17. You should always hit on hard totals between 8 and 11 but going up against an Ace with anything else provides an ideal situation for early surrender to be utilised.
  • When the dealer’s face-up card shows an Ace, and you hold two 3s, 6s, 7s or 8s. These are all quite acceptable split hands in other scenarios, but against a soft dealer hand, an early surrender can be more helpful.
  • When the dealer’s face-up card shows a 10, and you hold a hard total of between 14 and 16. Should you draw anything above between 5 and 7, then you go bust in this respect. Unless you are card counting perfectly, then you sit in dangerous territory, so an early surrender should work to help cut your losses.

Late Surrender

  • When the dealer shows an Ace, and you hold any total of 15. The sole exception in this case would be if the rules of the game indicate that the dealer has to hit a soft 17.
  • When the dealer displays an Ace or any 10 and you have a total of 16.
  • When the dealer has an Ace, and you hold a total of 17. Again, if the dealer has to hit a soft 17, then you can disregard this rule.

It is also ideal to know when you should refuse a late surrender in a game of blackjack. Never do this when the dealer stands on soft 17 while showing a 9, 10 or Ace and you have a total of 15 or 17. It may not make sense to you at first, but after a while of memorising and using it, it will reveal itself to be a good move.

Additionally, it is not recommended to take a later surrender when the dealer has a 9 and you hold any cards equating to 16. This is common sense, as the dealer is more than likely to come in underneath your point total than you are to go above and beyond going bust.

A Final Note to Consider

group of people playing blackjack

Even though ‘surrendering’ doesn’t sound like such a good way to go about securing a win and profit, it can actually be very helpful in minimising the amount that you lose in a round. The rule was, after all, introduced for a reason, and used effectively, it can provide you with ample opportunity for this.

Follow a basic strategy when playing any version of blackjack and consider the scenarios when early or late surrender would be useful. Why not employ it in free demo versions of Blackjack Surrender to get used to it and ensure you’re using it appropriately?

This guide has given you some insights into the best times for using surrender, and while the early surrender option isn’t nearly quite as easy to find as the late surrender, it does still exist in some locations. And last but not least, don’t forget to have fun with your blackjack gameplay!

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