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When to Surrender in Blackjack

Learn when to surrender in blackjack in this Howcast video about gambling.


I wanted to go over the finer points of when to surrender in blackjack. A lot of casinos will have a rule where they do allow surrender. What would happen then, after your first two cards are dealt and after the dealer checks for a blackjack in which case I don't, then the player would have the option to surrender.

What that is, is that he would basically lose half of his bet, and just walk away from the hand, right? This is done in situations where basically -- and 16 versus a 10 is actually a classic example of that -- where if the player were to hit, then he's probably going to be in trouble, because he's really weak right now with the 16 versus the dealer's 10, right?

If he stays, he's still way behind the dealer's 10. So any other way that he plays it, it's just wrong. It's one of those things where you just try to cut your losses and move on to the next hand.

Surrender, it's not like a lot of plays in blackjack where there are hand signals, and you've got hit and stay, and split double down, and all that. The hand signal for surrender is to make a little line right across the table, like that. But a lot of casinos in general would prefer a verbal. That's probably the only situation where you could actually verbally tell the dealer what to do, as opposed to having to give a signal over the table.

What I'll do if I surrender, I'll actually say it and make a signal, and then I'll lose half my bet and I'll walk away from the hand. It's a good way to save money in the long run, if it's used correctly. A lot of times, people want to abuse surrender, because you figure the dealer's probably got a 19 or 20 or something, against 13. So it's like, "Oh okay, I'm going to surrender too." But the thing is that 13 is really not that weak. You have a lot of other cards that could actually make a hand for you.

I would advise against surrendering any hand lower than a 15, and then even still it would really depend on the house rule, as far as exactly if surrender is allowed at all, or when to do it. But generally, if the dealer is showing a 10 and you've got a 15, then you should surrender. The dealer's showing an ace, depending on the house rule, then you want to just play it like normal.

16's versus a 9, 10 or an ace, you want to always surrender those whenever possible. A lot of people are going to get on your case, "Oh, why are you surrendering?" I go, "I came to the casino to gamble." But it's kind of a war of attrition, blackjack, where you just pick your spots because if you don't have the chips to actually make your move when cards are actually going your way, then you're going to lose. It's as simple as that, so I'd rather just cut my losses on that hand, and face a tongue lashing, rather than play it out. Go down swinging, so to speak.

That's how you surrender in blackjack.

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