Nobody likes to surrender, but as Mr Blackjack shows, sometimes it’s a necessity in blackjack. Learn how basic strategy’s advice on surrender can save you money.
Surrender is probably the most misunderstood move in blackjack. The idea of choosing to lose money over persevering with a bad hand means few players choose to make this move. However, surrender can actually save you money in the long run if you play your cards right.
Surrendering is also a part of basic strategy. Every player will encounter moments in blackjack games when you are in a terrible spot and your odds of making a decent hand are very low. During these occasions, it is sometimes better to give up half you bet in order to save the other half, otherwise known as surrender.
For example, if you have a 16 and the dealer has a 10 up-card, you should surrender. You know 16 is a weak hand in blackjack, and then there's the probability of the dealer's next card having a value of 10, giving him 20.
This makes your chances of winning very low as you will need to take a card and get a 5 to beat the dealer. More than half the cards in the deck will make you bust, and the other ⅓ will make you lose, so in this case, you should surrender.
You should always surrender when you have 16 and the dealer is showing a 9-10 or Ace, and when you have 15 and the dealer is showing a 10.
So to recap, you should surrender when:
- The dealer has a nine, 10, or A and you have 16
- The dealer has 10 and you have 15
You can refer to the OnlineGambling.com strategy chart to review these rules and find other tips for learning surrender strategy.
What this lesson covers
- Which hands to surrender on
- Why you should surrender over persevering with bad hands
- How to incorporate surrender basic strategy into your gameplay
Meet Mr Blackjack
With a career spanning two decades, Mathieu Blake knows his way around a blackjack table. He's taught and entertained over 100,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel NeverSplit10's . In this series he'll take you through basic strategy, card counting, and bankroll management. Take a seat with Mr Blackjack and become a winning player.
Want to learn more about Blackjack?
- When should I surrender in blackjack?
You should surrender when you have 15 against a dealer’s 10, and when you have 16 and the dealer has 9-A as their up-card.
- What’s the difference between insurance bet and surrender? They seem similar.
Insurance is a side bet you can make if you suspect the dealer has blackjack. Surrender is a move that let’s you keep half your wager in return for your hand, regardless of its value. Our insurance bet guide offers more information about the differences between this wager and surrender.
- I’ve heard some casinos offer early surrender and late surrender. What’s the difference, and does basic strategy change?
Essentially, early surrender allows a player fold their hand before the dealer checks for blackjack. In late surrender, a player can fold their hand after the dealer checks. Casinos rarely offer early surrender as it decimates their edge in blackjack. Learn more about early and late surrender in our basic blackjack strategy guide.
- What if the blackjack game I’m playing doesn’t offer surrender?
If surrender isn’t an option, basic strategy recommends hitting as the second-best move.
- Can I surrender in online blackjack games?
If the casino allows it, you can surrender in online blackjack and live dealer blackjack games. Most games will prompt you when the move is available, but you can also check the game’s help screen or pay table for more information.
- How can I practice surrender strategy in blackjack?
Our free blackjack arcade gives you unlimited access to blackjack games with surrender, split, and double down options. There are no registration or sign-up requirements to play these games.
- Why would a casino offer surrender to players if it helps them save money?
Surrender is advantageous for players, and some casinos do refuse to offer this move. If a casino does offer this move they will adjust other rules in the game to keep the blackjack odds in their favor, like adding more decks in the game.