The Blackjack Surrender Rule

min read
blackjack dealer interacting with a player during a game.
BetMGM Nov 02, 2023, 5:09 AM

Some researchers believe blackjack originated in France in the 1200s, while others suggest the Romans invented it. Whatever the case, it’s definitely one of the earliest casino table games — and now one of the most popular live dealer casino games in the world. This is because blackjack is a game of concentration, patience, strategy, and luck (with the best wins paying out 3-to-2 when luck is on your side). One of the more interesting choices in the game is the surrender rule, where players have the option to give up their hands right after the initial deal is complete. Should you ever surrender, or is it a trap?

Carry on reading to learn about the advantages of the blackjack surrender rule and when to use it. 

What Is the Blackjack Surrender Rule?

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. So, when you play at a casino online, be sure to familiarize yourself with the set of rules the casino has in place and what each blackjack game has to offer.

Players can choose from four basic moves in certain blackjack variants, such as double-deck blackjack. These are hitting, standing, splitting, and double downing. However, many blackjack variants also offer players one extra option: the ability to surrender your hand. But what does surrender mean in blackjack? 

Many believe the surrender rule allows a player to give 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. 

To activate the surrender option 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, be sure to review this glossary of blackjack terms.

“Surrender” 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 more risk than chance. So, if you want to play blackjack with surrender rules available, you need to know what to look out for.

Early Surrender vs. Late Surrender

Globally, blackjack is played by millions, who all adhere to various forms of blackjack etiquette and diverse styles of play. Similarly, casinos have different rules — some offer early surrender tables, others late surrender, and some neither. At BetMGM, you can find an exciting range of blackjack surrender tables that offer early, late, or no surrender options. 

If you’re interested in playing a variant with the option to surrender, you might wonder: what are the differences between early and late surrender? And is one better than the other?

Early Surrender

Surrendering early means for a player to give up their hand after the cards are dealt. When deciding to surrender early, you must select the action before the dealer turns over their cards. Once the option to surrender has been chosen, the player pays back half of their wager. 

Overall, it is the most popular of the two versions of surrender, as it reduces the house edge the most — by 0.62%. Furthermore, the player can activate this option whether the dealer was dealt a natural or not. Because of this, the early-surrender version of blackjack is one of the rarest online casino games to find — but it can be found at BetMGM. 

Late Surrender

An alternative to early surrendering, a late surrender allows a player to 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. Still, it’s an advantage you can use if you need it.

When Is a Good Time To Use the Surrender Rule?

To play the surrender option and win, a player must know when it’s the best time to do so. A general guideline for surrendering is only to do so when the odds are overwhelmingly against you.

Early Surrendering

If you want 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 while 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

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

Play Blackjack at BetMGM

From early-surrender to late-surrender blackjack, there are endless variations and high-quality tables accessible to all buy-in budgets at BetMGM. But the fun doesn’t stop there. BetMGM has an exciting library of online casino games and other online gambling activities to choose from, including live dealer casino games, poker, slots, and even sports betting, all accessible with one account.

Register with BetMGM and enjoy the best casino games and sports betting anytime, anywhere.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.