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Last Updated: February 13, 2020

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Blackjack Surrender: What it is and When to do it

Introduction

What is surrender in blackjack? This is a strategy in which the player may fold the hand risking only half of the bet rather than the entire amount. There are two options in terms of surrendering your hand. Late Surrender may be done after the dealer checks for blackjack and Early Surrender is possible before the dealer check. This page takes an in-depth look at the choice to surrender in blackjack. It depends on lots of things, whether the dealer takes a hole card, the number of decks, whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17, and sometimes the composition of the player's hand.  

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.

Late Surrender — One Deck — Total Dependent

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

Late Surrender — Two Decks — Total Dependent

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

Late Surrender — Four or More Decks — Total Dependent

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

The 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 — Late Surrender — Composition Dependent

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 — Composition Dependent — Late Surrender

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 — Composition Dependent — Late Surrender

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

The composition-dependent eight-deck strategy is the same as the total-dependent strategy. In other words, the composition of the hand never matters, for purposes of surrender.

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.
  • 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.

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