When playing Blackjack at a casino with others, I am always shocked how seldom I see someone surrender a hand. In fact, it is so rare, that it often requires explanation! Most casinos – including most online casinos – allow you to surrender a hand of Blackjack after all the cards have been dealt (and if the dealer is showing an Ace, he checks and has no Blackjack – if the dealer has Blackjack, all players lose and no surrender is possible).
Before you are dealt another card you can “surrender” your hand, at which point the dealer will take half of your wage and return the other half to you. I was in Las Vegas not too long ago, playing Blackjack at one of my favorite spots, judi casino and I never saw anyone surrender! That is, not until I had done it and explained the strategy. Generally, the first reaction I get to a surrender is “What?!?” Then, after the surprise, I get the typical, “You need to man up dude and play the hand.” And, these reactions come from otherwise solid Blackjack players. Go figure.
The goal in Blackjack is to reduce the house advantage. It is one of the few games where you can chisel away at the house edge until it is almost gone; you can get it to the point where you are almost playing even up, and if it is longevity you are looking for, you can play a long time without losing (or winning) any money. Of course, there are ways to try and make money and get out while ahead, but the starting point is always to get the playing field level. Diminish the house edge in every way you can. And, one of those ways is to surrender your hand where the odds are that you will lose more than half your money if you play.
Don’t you hate getting dealt that 16 and the Dealer is showing a ten. Of course you do because you are going to lose that hand 77% of the time. Like all the “basic rules” for Blackjack, the surrender rules have been quantified by the statisticians and the results are clear. If you hit this hand – as the rules require – you are only going to win 23% of the time – your net loss would be 54% of your total wagers on this hand. (If you don’t hit the hand, your losses will be marginally worse, but it still rounds to losing 54% of your wagers.)
But what if you surrender your 16 against the Dealer’s ten? You will cap your losses and only lose 50% of your wagers on this hand. Not a great situation, but better than any other alternative.
To be a solid player and trim that house edge add these rules to your Blackjack play:
(1) Surrender when you are dealt 16 and the Dealer is showing a 9, 10, or Ace;
(2) Surrender when you are dealt 15 and the Dealer is showing a 10; and
(3) if the Dealer hits a soft 17, then Surrender when you are dealt 15, 17, or a pair of 8s and the Dealer is showing an Ace.
Before you go to an online casino make sure that you practice free no download blackjack for a while.