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Blackjack Surrender Rule: What Is It & When Should You Use It?

Blackjack Surrender Rule: What Is It & When Should You Use It?

Blackjack is an exciting and popular casino game with a long history dating back to the 1200s in France, or possibly earlier in ancient Rome. The game requires concentration, patience, and strategy to master, but one rule that could give players an advantage is the Blackjack Surrender Rule. This lesser-known rule can be a crucial part of your strategy if used effectively. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what the surrender rule is, the differences between early and late surrender, and when to use this rule to your advantage.

What is the Blackjack Surrender Rule?

Blackjack offers players several basic moves, including hitting, standing, splitting, and doubling down. Additionally, players have the option to surrender their hand. The surrender rule allows players to forfeit their hand after the initial deal is complete, returning half of their original bet to their stack and losing the other half to the dealer.

Not every casino offers the surrender rule, as it can give players an advantage if used correctly. Additionally, some players are skeptical about the benefits of surrendering, believing that it brings more risk than reward. To use the surrender rule in a live dealer blackjack game, you need to swipe your finger behind the bet to indicate the move. In online blackjack games, there is usually a dedicated surrender button.

Early Surrender vs. Late Surrender

When it comes to surrendering in blackjack, players have two options: early surrender and late surrender. Understanding the differences between these two options is essential, as it can impact your decision-making during gameplay.

Early Surrender

Early surrender allows players to forfeit their hand and pay only half of their initial bet before the dealer checks for a blackjack. This option is more favorable for players, as it reduces the game's house advantage by 0.62%. However, early surrender is rare and has become nearly obsolete in modern times, with only a few online blackjack variations offering it.

Late Surrender

Late surrender, the more common of the two options, allows players to forfeit their hand only after the dealer has checked for blackjack. In this case, you can only take back half of your bet if the dealer's hand is not a blackjack. While still favorable to the player, late surrendering reduces the casino's edge by only 0.07% to 0.09%.

When to Surrender in Blackjack

To maximize the benefits of the surrender rule, you need to know when it's the best time to surrender in a game of blackjack. The decision to surrender should be based on the odds being clearly against you, meaning your chances of winning are less than 25%, and your chances of losing are greater than 75%.

Situations to Surrender

There are specific situations where surrendering is the best option. These include:

  1. Your hand is a hard 16 (excluding 8-8) against a dealer's 9, 10, or Ace upcard.
  2. Your hand is a hard 15 against a dealer's 10 upcard.

In the case of a hard 16 consisting of two 8s, it is better to split the hand into two separate hands and continue playing, as your chances of winning are higher.

Blackjack Surrender Online

Several online casinos offer blackjack games that include the surrender rule. Most of these games only offer the late surrender option, but the top casinos also provide the early surrender option for better winning odds. When playing online, be sure to check the rules and practice using the surrender option in free play mode before wagering real money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you surrender in blackjack?

Surrendering can be a wise decision in situations where the odds are clearly not in your favor. It allows you to recoup some of your bet when facing a likely loss, ultimately reducing your long-term losses.

Is surrender allowed in Las Vegas blackjack?

The surrender rule is not featured at all blackjack tables in Las Vegas. If you want to use this option to lower the casino's advantage, ask the casino staff to direct you to the 'blackjack surrender' games.

What is the hand signal for surrender in blackjack?

To signal your intention to surrender in a live blackjack game, draw an imaginary horizontal line behind your bet on the table using your index finger. Some casinos may also accept raising both hands as a surrender gesture. In any case, it's a good idea to verbally announce your intention to surrender as well.

Can you surrender in online blackjack?

Yes, many online blackjack games offer the surrender option. Be sure to check the game's rules before playing to ensure that the surrender rule is available.

Additional Tips for Surrender

Keep these tips in mind when considering the surrender option in blackjack:

  • Inquire about the availability of the surrender rule before playing, either by contacting the casino in advance or asking the dealer at the table.
  • Early surrender is more advantageous than late surrender, but it is rare and mostly found in online blackjack variations.
  • Be familiar with hand signals and verbal announcements for surrender in live blackjack games.
  • Use the surrender rule strategically to minimize your long-term losses.
  • Practice using the surrender option in free online blackjack games before wagering real money.


Although the surrender rule is not widely known or used, it can be an essential part of your blackjack strategy when applied correctly. By understanding when to surrender and the differences between early and late surrender, you can minimize your losses and increase your chances of success at the blackjack table. Remember to practice using the surrender rule in free play mode and always be aware of the specific rules for each blackjack game you play. With the right knowledge and strategy, you can make the most of the surrender rule and improve your overall blackjack experience.