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Is the Blackjack option Surrender for suckers?

Tuesday 24th August 2010

Even more beneficial to the blackjack player than knowing when to take insurance, surrender is the most misunderstood and least used of the commonly available options. When the first casino opened its doors in May 1978, its 'early' surrender option led some experienced and knowledgeable players to nickname it 'the Candy Store'. It didn't take the casinos long to realise how advantageous the early surrender was for players, and in September 1981 they all changed 'early' to 'late' surrender, i.e. offering the surrender option only after the blackjack dealer is sure that she has no blackjack. In those intervening years, however, millions of dollars that would otherwise have been lost to the casinos were 'surrended' back to intelligent players.

Taking advantage of correct surrendering opportunities benefits the card counting player much more than the basic strategy blackjack player. While surrendering 15 versus Ten, and 16 versus 9, Ten, or Ace provides the basic strategy player with a slight gain over hitting, knowing that the proper modified basic strategy surrender play moves and acting upon them can increase a counter's win-rate by up to half a percentage point.