Blackjack Strategy: When it is Best to Surrender

Blackjack Strategy: When it is Best to Surrender


Beating Casino presents, Blackjack
strategy: when it is best to surrender
Henry Tamburin Ph.D is one of world’s most respected blackjack experts and a world
class player. He has written the Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide, Blackjack: Take the
The Money and Run and edited the monthly Blackjack Insider Newsletter. In this
video, he shares with us his great knowledge and a Blackjack strategy that
maybe not many people know about and that’s when it is best to surrender in
Blackjack. One of the playing decisions available to land-based and online blackjack
players in some (but not all) casinos is to surrender their hand. Here is how
it works:
after comparing your initial two-card
hand against the dealer’s upcard, if you think your chances of winning the hand are
not very good, then you can forfeit playing your hand and surrender (or give
up) half of the amount of your wager.
If you decide to surrender, the dealer will
remove half of your bet and then scoop up your initial two cards and place them in
the discard tray. Most players disdain the surrender option because they prefer to
try and win with their hands, rather than wimp out and surrender them. But as a
matter of fact, surrendering can be a smart play if you know which hands to
surrender. First, it’s important that you understand the math behind the surrender
option. You know that when you surrender a hand, you will lose 50% (or half) of your wager.
So, it makes sense to surrender only those hands when your expected loss from
playing the hand to a conclusion is greater than 50%
Example: Suppose you are dealt a 10 and 6 and the dealer’s upcard is a 10.
This is the worst blackjack hand that you can get when you are playing. You have three choices on how to
play the hand: hit, stand, or surrender. The percentages of the time that you will
win or lose for each playing option (assuming you are playing a six-deck game)
are shown in the following table: The percentages at the table mean that if you
stand on your 16, you can expect to lose the hand 77.2%
of the time and win only 22.8%. Therefore, you can expect to lose $54.40
for every $100 bet on the hand.
If you decide to hit, you improve
your outcome only slightly, as your expected loss is $53.20 per $100 bet. So, think
about this: When you surrender your 10-6 against a dealer 10 upcard, you
will lose exactly 50% of your bet, meaning for every $100 wagered, your
expectation is to lose $50.
This example demonstrates why surrender is your
best option for this hand.
Basic Playing Srategy for Surrender
The blackjack basic
playing strategy for surrender in a six-deck game with the dealer standing on
soft 17 is as follows:
Surrender hard 16 (but not 8-8) against a
dealer 9, 10, or Ace upcard.
Surrender hard 15 against a dealer 10 upcard.
Additional Tips for Surrender.
If you are not sure if a casino offers
surrender, you can contact the casino beforehand or just ask the dealer. Usually,
if a casino offers surrender, it will state it on the placard that summarizes the
rules that is located on each table.
In the US casinos, you can only surrender your hand
after the dealer peeks at their hole card when they show an ace or ten-valued
card, to determine if they have a blackjack.
If the dealer has blackjack,
the surrender option is no longer available, and you will lose your entire bet (unless
you also have a blackjack). This is known as “late surrender”. Another type of
surrender, known as “early surrender,” is rarely offered in U.S. casinos and is
more prevalent in European and Asian casinos where the dealer does not take a hole
card until after all players have acted on their hand.
With the early surrender
option, a player can surrender his hand to a dealer’s ace and/or ten-value upcard
before the dealer checks to determine if they have blackjack. In some casinos you
must verbally announce to the dealer that you want to surrender your hand by
saying, “surrender.” Other casinos have implemented a hand signal for
surrender, which is to draw an imaginary line from left to right on the felt
with your index finger. Implementing the late surrender playing strategy will reduce
the house edge by about 0.07% in multiple-deck games.
Surrender also will stabilize your bankroll compared to a game where surrender is not offered
and you have to play your hands to completion. Surrender is also a valuable
playing option for card counters because it will moderate the swings in their bankroll.
Also, knowing when to surrender a hand based on the count should definitely be
employed by a card counter.
Some online casinos also offer the surrender
option in their blackjack games. Check the summary of the blackjack rules on the site
to determine if surrender is available on that specific site and casino room.
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