When should you Surrender in Blackjack?

Master the art of Surrender and save money playing Blackjack. Learn the exact moments to Surrender playing Blackjack.
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Despite the name, a Surrender in Blackjack is not the card game equal of waving a white flag. And it's certainly not the coward's way out either. In truth, it's one of the smartest plays you can make in Blackjack. If you time it right...

The good news is that learning when to Surrender isn't some kind of art form. It's actually a precise science. And it becomes especially important in certain niche situations. You could compare its significance to the double down in blackjack.

As long as the rules dictate that a dealer stands on soft 17, then the following applies.

  • If you are dealt a hard 16, then you should always surrender if the dealer has anything above a 9.
  • If you are dealt a hard 15, then you should always surrender if the dealer has a 10.

Interested in learning why it's important to surrender on these hands? Continue reading for a full breakdown of the Blackjack surrender move - and why it's essential in these situations.

What is Blackjack Surrender


The surrender is a type of optional side bet that is included in some blackjack game rules. And it can be most commonly found in high roller games. 

The surrender rule allows you to escape from a dealer hand that would otherwise wipe you out. Once you take the surrender option, you will keep half your staked bet - but you will also forfeit the hand.

There are two types of surrenders: the Late Surrender or the Early Surrender.

  • Late Surrender: You choose to forfeit your hand and lose half your bet after the dealer checks for blackjack.
  • Early Surrender: You choose to forfeit your hand and lose half your stake before the dealer checks for blackjack. This is a rare rule.

Note: Not all games have the option for surrender. But if they do have the option available, then you will find this on the dealing table or the game information screen.


Surrender is a fantastic rule for any Blackjack player regardless of experience. It eliminates many of those "oh no" moments that happen when the dealer draws an Ace... and you're stuck with a hard 16.

When to use the Surrender in Blackjack


We are going to base the following information on several assumptions.

  • You are playing at a table where the dealer stands on soft 17
  • The casino uses a 4-8 deck shoe

Both of these variables can change the mechanic of the surrender rule. And different strategies should always be applied depending on the rules.

Note: If the casino allows the dealer to hit on soft 17, then keep in mind this rule is favourable to the casino. It raises the house edge to 0.2%. That doesn't seem like much - but after many hands, that edge starts to stacks up.


There are two main hands where the Surrender rule becomes relevant: the hard 16 or hard 15.

Playing a hard 16
This is often dubbed the worst hand in blackjack. And for more experienced players, seeing a hard 16 is a gut-churning moment. But thanks to the Surrender rule, we can avoid some of the bad matchups for this hand.

Ideal Strategy: Surrender a hard 16 on 9, 10 or Ace.


Playing a hard 15
If a dealer has a 7+, you generally want to hit on a hard 15. But there is one exception: if the dealer possesses a 10.

Ideal Strategy: Surrender a hard 15 on 10


It should be noted at this point that you may receive some heat when using the Surrender rule. While it is a smart play, many casino goers shun it completely - opting to gamble anyway. Even when that gamble puts them at a mathematical disadvantage.

Blackjack Surrender at Online Casinos


The surrender rule is not just isolated to land-based casinos. You will also find it in plenty of online games too. What's better is that many of these games make it obvious which has the rule available.

Microgaming casino games commonly feature the rule - as well as some Playtech variants. Of course, classic casino players may find it hard to play games with RNG involved.

Thankfully, we also have live dealer options in the form of Evolution Gaming casino sites. If you don't trust a computer algorithm, then these options are ideal. The surrender rule is available at many of the online casinos shown below. 

Which casinos offer the Blackjack Surrender rule?

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