The Blackjack Surrender Rule

min read
blackjack dealer interacting with a player during a game.
BetMGM Aug 31, 2022, 4:25 AM

Some researchers believe blackjack originated in France in the 1200s while others suggest the Romans invented it. Whatever the case, everyone agrees that it is one of the earliest casino table games and has become one of the most popular live dealer casino games in the world.

Blackjack is a game of concentration, patience and strategy. But with the surrender rule, players have the option to give up their hands right after the initial deal is complete. Join us as we uncover the advantages of the blackjack surrender rule and when to use it. 

What is the blackjack surrender rule?

Overall, players can choose from four basic moves and one optional. These are hitting, standing, splitting and double downing, with the extra move being allowed to surrender your hand. 

The surrender rule is the least known of the five moves in a player’s arsenal. This is partly because not every casino offers it due to its overriding advantages if used effectively. The other reason is that some are skeptical about its advantages, believing it brings on more risk than chance. So, if you want to play blackjack with surrender rules available, you need to know what to look out for. A key fact to remember is that there are many variations of blackjack games between casinos and each establishment comes with its own unique set of rules. Take your time to understand them before playing.

Many believe the surrender rule refers to a player giving up their move. This is not the case. When one decides to surrender, half of the original bet is returned to the stack and half is forfeited to the dealer. As a player, you have two options of surrendering: early or late. This will be discussed in detail below. 

To activate the rule, when playing a live dealer blackjack game, you need to swipe your finger behind the bet to indicate the move. When playing on an online casino platform, there will be a blackjack surrender button to call the move. If you want to get acquainted with more in-depth blackjack terminology, check out our glossary of blackjack terms.

Early surrender vs late surrender

Exciting and exhilarating, blackjack is regarded as one of the best casino games to play. Globally, it is played by millions, each with their own blackjack etiquette and style of play. Similarly, casinos have different rules – some offer late surrender tables, others early and some neither. Luckily, at BetMGM, we have an array of blackjack surrender tables. So, when you play at a casino online, familiarize yourself with the set of rules the casino has in place.

Early surrender

This allows players to give up their hand after the cards are dealt. When deciding to surrender early, you must select the rule before the dealer turns over their cards. Once the rule has been chosen, the player pays back half their wager. 

Overall, it is the most popular of the two rules as it reduces the house advantage the most – by 0.62%. Furthermore, the player can activate this rule whether the dealer was dealt a natural or not. Because of this, it is one of the rarest online casino games to find – but can be found on BetMGM. 

Late surrender

Parallel to early surrendering, a player can give up their hand for half of the initial bet once the dealer has turned over their cards. If the dealer doesn’t place a natural blackjack, you can surrender. However, if the dealer draws 21, you no longer have the option to surrender.

The effect it has on the house’s advantage is minimal compared to surrendering early and is more commonly found in a brick-and-mortar or online casino. Albeit a slight advantage, it’s one nonetheless and should be used if given a chance.

When is a good time to use the surrender rule?

To play the surrender rule and win, a player must know when it’s the best time to do so. A general rule for surrendering is when the odds are overwhelmingly against you. This could vary between early and late.

Early surrendering

To surrender early, there are specific cards that you and the dealer hold that will influence this decision. For example, you should surrender if the dealer places down a 10 and you have pairs of 7s or 8s, or hold a hand adding up to a 14, 15 or 16.

Another scenario includes the dealer holding an ace, whilst you have pairs of 3s, 6s, 7s or 8s, or any hands adding up to a 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17.

Late surrendering

Because you can surrender after the dealer checks his hand, surrendering late should only be done if you have a 14, 15 or 16.

Play blackjack on BetMGM

From early-surrender to late-surrender blackjack, we host endless variations and are passionate about providing high-quality tables accessible to all buy-in budgets. With an array of online casino games to choose from, register with BetMGM today and play casino games anytime, anywhere.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.