Blackjack surrender guide

Options like blackjack surrender are some of the reasons why some gamers still prefer good old casino offerings such as blackjack to loading up the latest online adventure games. This bet gives players more control over their winning chances. Read this guide to know exactly what blackjack surrender entails and the best time to go for it.

What does surrender mean in blackjack?

Blackjack surrender is an option for players to back out of the game literally. It allows you to accept a potential loss beforehand, and in return, you get 50% of your original bet back.

The blackjack surrender move is not available in all blackjack games. It is available in the Blackjack Surrender variant alone. Where it is allowed, players can take advantage of it after receiving their opening cards and seeing the dealer’s up card.

When to surrender in blackjack?

Although blackjack surrender can be very useful, there are only a few scenarios where it is advisable. All these scenarios boil down to having a weak opening hand when the dealer has a strong hand.

According to most schools of thought, the best time to surrender is when you have a hand value of between 15 and 17, and the dealer has an empowering face-up card.

For instance, you will want to surrender if you have an opening hand with a total value of 16 points and the dealer’s face-up card is a 10, 9 or an ace. This is because there is a high chance of going over 21 if you pick another card. On the other hand, the dealer is likely to get a total very close to 21 or right on the mark (perfect blackjack).

Types of surrender blackjack moves

Early surrender 

Here, players can choose to give up on the round after being dealt the starting cards, but before the dealer checks for blackjack or any other moves are made. The early surrender reduces the game’s house edge by about 0.6%. For this reason, the early surrender blackjack move is the most desirable.

Late surrender 

Nowadays, this is the most predominant type of blackjack surrender. It’s not as favorable to players as early surrender in terms of the house edge, but it’s still better than the standard blackjack edge. It reduces the house edge by about 0.05 to 0.1%.

Late surrender is available after the dealer turns the face-down card to reveal their hand total. If the dealer’s up card is an ace or a ten-value card, they will turn the second card to check for a perfect blackjack. Late surrender will not be possible if the dealer has blackjack since the game automatically ends.

However, if they don’t have blackjack, you can take advantage of the late surrender rule. You’ll get half your wager back.

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Exceptions to blackjack surrender

The example given above explains the standard rules for surrender. However, there is an exception. If your hand total is composed of two identical card values, you should not surrender. Instead, you can place a split bet. A split bet is one where you divide your starting hand into two separate hands and place an identical bet on the second hand.

Imagine that your 16-card hand consists of two 8s. You can split them to create two hands. After placing a matching bet, you can take new cards.

These two hands are independent of each other, and the winning chances of one do not affect the other. Since you are betting on two separate hands, there is a chance of winning twice as much but you can also lose both bets. So, players should only choose to split when the winning chances are high.

What happens when you surrender in blackjack?

Blackjack surrender is a bit of a bittersweet move since you’re basically accepting defeat in order to reduce your losses. Note that it’s game over for you right after you surrender. You need to wait until the next round to play again. Fortunately, you’ll have only given up half your bet, so you have the other half to pump back into subsequent bets.

Some players consider surrendering to be dismissing the small winning chance you may have. In reality, it is a wise move that seasoned players make after weighing the potential risks.

Let’s suppose you have a hand total of 17. One of the other standard moves players make in this situation is to ‘stand’. This move means ending your turn without taking a card. The hope is that the dealer will go over 21 so that you win by default.

Unfortunately, the probability of this happening is very low if the dealer’s up card value is 9, 10 or ace. They are more likely to get a perfect blackjack.

Another possible move for players is to hit (take an extra card). This is an even worse choice because taking another card increases your chances of busting to above 60%.

Blackjack is a game of probabilities. Whenever the odds are not in your favor, you should be willing to back down and save whatever you can.

What is the difference between the insurance bet and surrender in blackjack  

Blackjack rules that allow insurance or surrender generally help players minimize their losses and strengthen their bankroll. Another common factor with these two blackjack moves is that they come in handy when you believe you cannot win with the current hand.

Nonetheless, they share some differences too. For instance, insurance in blackjack is a side bet that is available when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. You’ll need to place 50% of your original wager as insurance on the dealer having a blackjack.

If the dealer does indeed get a blackjack, your bet gets a 2:1 payout. So, unlike blackjack surrender, insurance bets can be an immediate winning strategy and not just a defense against a loss.

On the flip side, if the dealer does not have a perfect blackjack, you lose the 50% wager before the round ends. Fortunately, your original bet will still be in play, so you still stand a chance to win. Insurance bets are much riskier than the surrender move though.

Do most blackjack tables offer surrender?

Most blackjack games on our platform with the surrender option are late surrender. As already explained, this is where you can surrender after the dealer checks for blackjack.

Players can check the game’s help page or the paytable to learn which type of surrender a blackjack title allows. Usually, pop-up instructions at the start of the game will let you know which kind of surrender is available and when there is an opportunity to make such a move.


In a game like blackjack, players can make several moves. There are also several rules and side bets that you can build your blackjack strategy around. One option is surrender, which saves you lots of cash in the long run.

When the dealer’s up card is 9, 10 or ace, the probability of the dealer’s hand going bust is low. It would be a bad choice to hit or stand on a 15, 16 or 17 since you’re at a greater disadvantage. The surrender option is a saving grace because instead of losing your entire bet amount, you can make the strategic decision to give up and keep 50%.

Author: Tanya Fields

Campaign Acquisition Manager Length with RC: 1 year, 9 months Favorite Casino Game: Starburst Background in iGaming: Opened the iGaming Department at Hard Rock Atlantic City in 2018 in both Customer Service, and then CRM, prior to moving over to RC in January 2021 Location: Based in NJ at the RC HQ Content: Occasionally, but only as it pertains to RC