When playing blackjack in online casinos, players will find there are many types of games that can be enjoyed for real money wagers and payouts. Some blackjack variations offer options for players, such as the surrender option, a great feature that can preserve bankrolls and increase the chances of winning. Of all of the options that are provided for players at the blackjack table, the surrender feature is perhaps the most misunderstood. In fact, many blackjack games have stopped using the surrender option since few players use it. However, surrender can be a powerful weapon when used correctly at the blackjack table.
What is Surrendering and When to Use it
When players have the option to surrender, they will have the chance to forfeit their game and lose only half of the wager after the dealer checks their own cards to see if they have a blackjack if an Ace is shown. When the player does opt to use this option, half of the bet is collected and the hand ends. The general rule of surrendering is that players should employ this option when their hand has less than a 25% chance of winning.
If players are betting $10 per hand, the surrender cost is $5 and the other $5 will be returned to the player. The surrender option can reduce the casino edge by as much as 0.07%. If the game does present a surrender option, there is a basic strategy that should be used.
Players should surrender a hand with a hard total of 16 when the dealer shows 9, 10 or an Ace. The player should also surrender with a hand of 15 if the dealer shows a 10 or an Ace. These are the only two cases in which players should use the surrender option. All other hands should be played according to the basic blackjack strategy.
Why is Surrender Offered?
Many players do not know how to properly use the surrender option, which is beneficial to any casino. The casino hopes that there are more uneducated players at the table who will surrender on the wrong hands, such as 12 or 13 hand values. By doing this, players overuse the surrender option and waste their money, basically always giving half of the bet away. However, if players can use the surrender option correctly, their chances of winning are drastically increased. This is why it is essential to know exactly when to use the option and when to play the hand normally.
Knowing Odds Helps to Understand Surrendering
To understand why the surrender option is beneficial, players need to know their odds of winning one of the worst player hands ever, the hard 16 when the dealer shows a 10. If this hand is analysed, players will find that it will lose 77% of the time and win the other 23%. If players are betting $1 and lose 77 hands and win the others, they would be down $54. Some players think that standing on a hard 16 is a better choice, but this is actually a bad decision and players will find they end up losing the same amount, around $54.
When surrendering the hand on a $1 bet, $0.50 is the returner. If this is done over 100 hands, the loss is just $50. Compare this with the loss of $54 and players can see that the surrender option not only saves the bankroll but increases the chances of winning.
In practice, most rules in live blackjack tables are consistent across different games, providers, and casinos. That's why the presence of the surrender option is one of the biggest differences between tables. The only other rule that is often changed and directly affects RTP is the Soft 17 rule – you can read more about it here.