Blackjack: Early surrender v. late surrender

Though the move should be done sparingly, in certain situations surrendering is a wise decision in the game of blackjack. Forfeiting half of your bet automatically is usually not the best option, but in certain circumstances, basic blackjack strategy says to cut your losses. It is important to keep separate the two types of surrender, though: early surrender and late surrender.

First of all, whether you’re playing at an online casino or at a brick and mortar casino, you need to know that not all blackjack tables offer surrender as an option. It is usually available because the house counts on players using the surrender option when they shouldn’t, which amounts to throwing money away. Sometimes you cannot surrender, though. When you can, the blackjack table is only going to offer one of the two types of surrender. Therefore, it’s important to know which type is allowed.

Some people think that with a late surrender, you can surrender late in the hand, like right before you get to that card that would bust you or right before the dealer draws his last card. That’s not the case. It’s really quite simple. If the blackjack table has an early surrender, you choose whether or not to surrender before the dealer checks his hole card. With a late surrender, you decide after he checks. Let’s put it into a scenario.

The dealer gives you your cards and then deals himself a hole card and a ten card. If early surrender is allowed, you would then be asked if you want to surrender. If you do, it doesn’t matter what he has as a hole card. Even if it turns out he has a natural blackjack, you still only lose half of your bet. If the blackjack table has a late surrender, though, the dealer will check his hole card to see if he has a blackjack first. If he does, you lose. If he does not have a natural blackjack, he will then ask if you want to surrender.

For that reason, an early surrender is more beneficial to players. An early surrender allows players to save themselves from a natural blackjack whereas with a late surrender, the dealer checks for one first. For that reason, proper usage (according to basic strategy) of a late surrender only trims 0.08% off of the house edge. However, proper usage of early surrender reduces the house edge by 0.6%.

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