16 January, 2023

When to Surrender in Blackjack

Insurance betting isn't the only possible way of minimizing your losses at blackjack. By surrendering, you can get half of your bet back if the dealer's cards are much better than yours. In this article, we'll provide the answer to the question what surrender means in blackjack and explain the difference between the two types of surrendering.

What Does Surrender Mean in Blackjack

At the beginning of a gaming session, the player and the dealer check their starting hands. If you realize that your first two cards are too weak, you have the right to surrender. Thanks to that, you will lose one-half of your bet but will retain the other half. That would be much wiser than going on with the cards that your opponent could forfeit easily, making you lose 100% of your bet.

You should always resort to this move when your probability of winning over your opponent is less than 50%. Surrendering was invented to decrease the house advantage and boost the player's winning odds. This basic strategy is only available in selected online casinos and blackjack tables.

This strategy is available in two variations: early surrendering vs later surrender. Below, we'll focus on the difference between them.

What Is Late Surrender in Blackjack

This surrender variety suggests you should put up with losing half of your bet after the dealer checks their cards. By doing so, you can earn just a minimum advantage over your opponent. You will want to surrender any hands where you don't have at least a 50 percent chance of winning against the dealer's up card.

The efficiency of this approach largely depends on the basic rules of the game and the number of decks used. In some blackjack variants, that would be the best move. In others, it won't grant you good chances for taking advantage over the opponent.

What Is Early Surrender in Blackjack

The essence of the strategy remains the same: the player who was dealt a bad hand takes half of their bet and refuses to keep on placing bets. However, there is one time-related subtlety that matters.

This surrender variety was invented in the late 1970s in New Jersey. In addition to the above-described variant, players could also surrender before the dealers checked their cards. Such an approach had a dramatic impact on house edges, making the game much more profitable for players.

When gambling was first proclaimed legal in New Jersey, casino operators didn't feel confident about their businesses. They believed that even money losses could scare away the inexperienced audience, even though losses are inevitable in this type of entertainment. Early surrender attracted so many people to blackjack that casinos had to pay out too much cash. They canceled this marketing trick in the early 1980s. Their administrations realized they should only offer one surrender variety to remain sustainable. They switched to late surrendering, making playing decisions more difficult.

Today, early surrender is not available in most brick-and-mortar casinos. You can still find it on online gambling platforms — but please don't expect it to be just as lucrative as its initial New Jersey variant. Casinos normally tweak the game rules to avoid disproportionate expenses. Just one small detail might complicate the game considerably, so please make sure to glance through the terms and conditions attentively before joining it.

How to Signal Surrender in Blackjack

Now that you know when to surrender in blackjack, let us explain how to do it. Traditionally, players must draw a horizontal line behind their bet with their index finger. The dealer must understand it without any verbal explanation. Nevertheless, many players express their desire to surrender both verbally and by moving their fingers.

However, it's not the only way of announcing surrender. It's typical of games dealt out of a shoe. In handheld games, players need to resort to other hand signals. Before the gaming session begins, ask the dealer to explain this detail to you.

On online gambling platforms, you might need to click a dedicated button to let the dealer know that you surrender.


Hopefully, you have found the full explanation of what surrender means in blackjack. You might find it only on selected gambling platforms and blackjack variations. You might be allowed to surrender before or after the dealer shows their cards. Depending on where the dealer stands, you can put up with forfeiting half of your bet while retaining the second half. It's a smart alternative to taking out insurance that enables you to drive down your losses.

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