Blackjack's Surrender and Raising or Lowering Bets

Early Surrender

This option was once standard in Atlantic City, where it was known as Early Surrender. A player could surrender half his bet and give up his cards before the dealer checked to see if he had a blackjack, when holding an ace or 10 as his upcard.

Why would a player surrender half his original bet without giving himself the chance to improve his hand? The player may feel that he will lose his entire original bet if he acts on his hand, either standing or hitting it. Suppose he holds a 10-6 and the dealer has an ace showing. There's a good possibility that the player will bust if he hits his hand, and lose if he doesn't hit it. The ace is a very powerful card in the dealer's hand, there are a lot of ways he can get up to 17 and stand and beat the player. So, in this instance, the player gives up half his bet rather than taking the chance of losing it all.


The more conventional Surrender or Late Surrender can still be found in casinos. Here, there can be no surrender till the dealer is assured that he doesn't have a blackjack. This cuts down on the effectiveness of surrender, because the dealer's ace or 10 may lead to a blackjack, and there will be times when the player won't be able to surrender because the dealer has an immediate blackjack.

The mechanics of surrender are simple. If you've been dealt cards face down, you turn them over, place them on the table and say "surrender". Half your bet and the cards will be taken away by the dealer.

If you receive your cards face up, simply say "surrender". Let the dealer remove half the chips. Don't touch your chips after you've made a bet. Your cards, of course, will also be taken away by the dealer.

Raising or Lowering Bets

This is a player's option that isn't often thought of as a separate option. However, it is of utmost importance. Unlike other games, such as craps, roulette and baccarat, where a player will move his bet either upward or downward according to a whim or hunch, or a mistaken belief that he is in the "middle of a winning streak," in blackjack, there will be a definite reason for raising or lowering a bet.

The reason is this, if the cards are favorable to the player, the bet will be increased and if the cards are unfavorable to the player, the bet will be reduced. There is logic in this. In a game like craps, where what happened before has no bearing on what happens next, raising or lowering a bet means nothing unless luck is on the side of the gambler. But it means a great deal in blackjack, where luck will eventually even itself out, and where the mathematical knowledge of the favorability or unfavorability of the cards is a certainty.