Blackjack is a game that offers multiple options for the player, making it one of the best games to choose in an online casino. Of all the options available, surrender is a potent weapon that can be used by the player. The problem is that many players do not know how to use it effectively.
When to Early Surrender in Blackjack
In blackjack, an early surrender is one that is permitted before the dealer looks at his hole card. This gives the player such an advantage overall that most live casinos abandoned this option years ago. It can still be found at a few online casinos and live tables. If possible, a player should choose a casino with this option.
The reason an early surrender is so powerful is that it gives the player a chance to avoid the dealer’s blackjack. When the dealer shows an Ace, the player can surrender their hand before the dealer checks to see if he has a 10 in the hole for a blackjack. Basic blackjack strategy is pretty clear on this point.
If the dealer shows an Ace, the player should early surrender the following hands:
- Hard totals of 5-7
- Hard totals of 12-17
- A pair of 3’s, 6’s, 7’s, or 8’s
If the dealer shows a 10, these hands should be given an early surrender:
- Hard totals of 14-16
- A pair of 7’s or 8’s
The reason for these strategy suggestions should be apparent. In each case, playing the hand would put the player at a severe disadvantage. In an overwhelming number of cases, the dealer is going to win. Using early surrender when you do not have good cards allows the player to retain half of their original wager. Losing half of a bet is certainly better than losing it all.
Why Should a Pair of 8’s be Surrendered Early?
In many books of basic blackjack strategy it is advised to always split a pair of 8’s. While this is good advice in most cases when early surrender is not an option, this pair should be surrendered when the dealer shows an Ace or a 10.
The reason why is that a pair of 8’s offers the worst starting total in blackjack, a 16. The player is almost certain to lose with this hand. If the cards are split against a dealer’s Ace or 10, the player runs the risk of being dealt two bad hands instead of one. Even if the player receives a 10 on both of the split cards, they now have a total of 18. That total will not be good enough to win most of the time when the dealer shows an Ace or a 10. It is better for the player to early surrender, retain half of their bet, and live to fight another day.
Early surrender, when used effectively, can help to minimize a player’s losses at the blackjack table, but it cannot be used in a haphazard fashion. There should be no intuition or guesswork regarding early surrender. It is one of the few player options in blackjack that can be subjected to a strict set of applications.