One surrenders when one feels that by not doing so the damage will be greater. One can cut one’s losses by surrendering. The same principle applies to blackjack. Blackjack surrender is an option available to the player to enable him to cut his losses.
If after the cards are dealt the player feels that he has a losing hand then he can use the blackjack surrender option and concede defeat by losing only half his wager. If he plays it is very likely that he will lose his total wagered amount. In casino play there is a specific etiquette associated with blackjack surrender. The player places his two dealt cards face up on top of his wagered chips and says “surrender”. The dealer then takes away the cards and half the chips wagered, returning half the chips to the player.
Under European rules, blackjack surrender is played out exactly as described above. Under European rules the dealer is not dealt a hole card and therefore does not check for blackjack. However under American rules the dealer is dealt a hole card, and if the dealer’s open card is an ace then he checks for blackjack before the players can make any move. If the dealer has a blackjack then all players’ bets are lost. This has led to two versions of blackjack surrender in America. The more common version is known as late blackjack surrender. In this version the player can utilize the surrender option only after the dealer checks for blackjack. If the dealer has a blackjack then the player cannot surrender and loses his total wagered amount.
In America some casinos played a version known as early blackjack surrender. In this version the player was allowed to surrender before the dealer checked for blackjack. However casino operators felt that this gave the player too much of an advantage and therefore early blackjack surrender has been given up.
Based on computer simulations the following strategy has been proposed for late blackjack surrender when playing with multiple decks. If the dealer has a nine or an ace, then surrender with a hand value of 16. If the dealer has a 10-value card, then surrender with a hand value of 15 or 16. Hence blackjack surrender is not an option to be used very frequently.