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Last Updated: December 15, 2016

Early or Late Surrender

Introduction

The purpose of this page is to give exact advice to the basic-strategy player on when to surrender. When the tales show a total of 16, this refers to either a 10+6 or 9+7 total. The situation of two eights has a separate row when surrender is appropriate.


Late Surrender

Late surrender means that the player may surrender his hand and lose half his bet only after the dealer checks for blackjack. The following basic strategy tables show when to surrender (Y=yes, N=no) depending on the player's total, dealer's up card, and the number of decks. The right two columns represent a dealer ace according to whether the dealer stands (S17) or hits (H17) a soft 17.

One Deck

Player's
Hand
Dealer's Card
__9__ __10__ A (S17) A (H17)
15 N N N Y
16 N Y Y Y
17 N N N Y

Two Decks

Player's
Hand
Dealer's Card
__9__ __10__ A (S17) A (H17)
15 N Y N Y
16 N Y Y Y
17 N N N Y

Four or More Decks

Player's
Hand
Dealer's Card
__9__ __10__ A (S17) A (H17)
15 N Y N Y
16 Y Y Y Y
17 N N N Y

Exact card composition of the player's hand can sometimes make it advantageous to deviate from the basic strategy tables above. The following tables show when exactly to surrender given the player's total, dealer's up card, and number of decks. If the dealer has an ace up then the strategy often depends on whether the dealer hits (H17) or stands (S17) on a soft 17.

One Deck

Player's
Hand
Dealer's Card
9 10 A (S17) A (H17)
14 Never 7+7 Never 7+7
15 Never 9+6,10+5 Never 9+6,10+5
16 Never Always 10+6 9+7,10+6
17 Never Never Never 10+7

Two Decks

Player's
Hand
Dealer's Card
9 10 A (S17) A (H17)
15 Never 9+6, 10+5 Never 9+6, 10+5
16 Never Always Always 9+7,10+6
8+8 Never Never Never *
17 Never Never Never Always

*: In a double-deck game, when the dealer hits a soft 17, surrender 8+8 vs. A only if double after a split is not allowed.

Four or Six Decks

Player's
Hand
Dealer's Card
9 10 A (S17) A (H17)
15 Never 9+6, 10+5 Never Always
16 Always Always Always Always
8+8 No No No Yes
17 Never Never Never Always

Eight Decks

Player's
Hand
Dealer's Card
9 10 A (S17) A (H17)
15 Never Always Never Always
16 Always Always Always Always
8+8 No No No Yes
17 Never Never Never Always

Early Surrender

Early surrender is a seldom found rule in which the player may forfeit his hand and half his bet before the dealer checks for blackjack. The strategy is different from late surrender only when the dealer has a ten or ace showing. Following is a list for when to take early surrender against a dealer 10 or ace, regardless of the rules, except as noted.

  • Dealer ace Vs. hard 5-7
  • Dealer ace Vs. hard 12-17
  • Dealer ace Vs. pair of 3's, 6's, 7's, or 8's.
  • Dealer 10 Vs. hard 14-16
  • Dealer 10 Vs. pair of 7's or 8's.

Exceptions:

  • Do not surrender 10 Vs. 4+10 or 5+9 in single deck
  • Do not surrender 10 Vs. 4+10 in double deck
  • Surrender dealer ace against pair of 2's if dealer hits soft 17.
  • Do not surrender 8,8 vs 10 in single deck when double after split is allowed.


  • Blackjack main page.
  • Appendix 1:Total dependent expected return table for an infinite deck.
  • Appendix 2a:Dealer probabilities after dealer peeks for blackjack.
  • Appendix 2b:Dealer probabilities before dealer peeks for blackjack.
  • Appendix 3a:Composition dependent exceptions to single deck basic strategy where the dealer stands on soft 17.
  • Appendix 3b:Composition dependent exceptions to double deck basic strategy where the dealer stands on soft 17.
  • Appendix 3c:Composition dependent exceptions to single deck basic strategy where the dealer hits a soft 17.
  • Appendix 4:Details on the standard deviation in blackjack.
  • Appendix 5:Infinite deck expected return according to player hand and dealer up card.
  • Appendix 6:Fine points of when to surrender.
  • Appendix 7:Effect of card removal.
  • Appendix 8:Analysis of some popular blackjack side bets includingSuper Sevens, Streak, Royal Match, and a tie.
  • Appendix 9:Composition dependent expected returns for 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8 decks.
  • Appendix 10:The effect on the house edge of the continuous shuffling machines vs. the cut card.
  • Appendix 11: Value and strategy for 678 and 777 bonuses.
  • Appendix 12:Risk of ruin statistics.
  • Appendix 13:Probabilities in the first four cards. May be used to test for the number of decks in online blackjack.
  • Appendix 14:Value of each initial player card.
  • Appendix 15:House edge using total dependent vs composition dependent basic strategy
  • Appendix 16: Basic strategy when dealer exposes both cards.
  • Appendix 17: The Ace-Five Count. Possibly the easiest way to count cards.
  • Appendix 18: Basic strategy exceptions for three to six cards.
  • Appendix 19: Blackjack splitting strategy when a back-player is betting.
  • Appendix 20: Blackjack doubling strategy, when doubling after splitting aces is allowed.
  • Appendix 21: Details on the Wizard's Simple Strategy.
  • "21" Movie — Truth and Fiction : My comments on the movie "21."
  • Australian Blackjack: Rules and odds for blackjack down under.
  • Introduction to Card Counting
  • Rule Variations: The effect of just about every known blackjack rule change.
  • Automatic Winner Charlie Rule in Blackjack.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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