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Advanced Blackjack Surrender Strategy

By: Joan Peppin, Friday May 21st 2010
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Surrender is a move allowed in some blackjack variants that enables the player to cut his losses. If used judiciously it can work to the player’s advantage and help him increase his average return. The move functions as follows. After the initial cards are dealt to the player and the dealer and the dealer has checked for blackjack, the player can surrender his hand without making any other move. He then loses only half his wager. Certain situations are very disadvantageous for the player and it is better that he give up half his wagered amount upfront rather than risk losing it all.

Apart from the cards dealt, the following factors affect blackjack surrender strategy. These are whether the game is being played with a single deck or with multiple decks and whether the dealer stands on soft 17 or hits on soft 17. This gives rise to four combinations and advanced surrender strategy is different for each combination.

Single Deck, Dealer Stands on Soft 17

There are three situations when the player should surrender. When the player has a hand value of 16 from his two dealt cards and the dealer has an ace or ten value card the player should surrender. With these dealer cards if the player has a hand value of 15 or less it is more advantageous to hit and try and improve the hand value. And if the player has a hand value of 17 or more then he should stand and hope that the dealer will bust. The third occasion is when he has a pair of sevens and the dealer has a ten value card.

Single Deck, Dealer Hits on Soft 17

This is a stronger position for the dealer and therefore the player will surrender more often. The player will surrender with a hand value of 15, 16 or 17 when the dealer has an ace. He will surrender with a hand value of 16 when the dealer has a ten value card. He will also surrender when he has a pair of sevens and the dealer has a ten value card or an ace.

Multiple Decks, Dealer Stands on Soft 17

In this case the player should surrender if he has a hand value of 15 and the dealer has a ten value card or if he has a hand value of 16 and the dealer has a nine, ten value card or an ace. The player should not surrender with a pair of sevens.

Multiple Decks, Dealer Hits on Soft 17

The player surrenders most often in this combination. He surrenders when he has a hand value of 15 and the dealer has a ten value card or an ace; when he has a hand value of 16 and the dealer has a nine, a ten value card or an ace and when he has a hand value of 17 and the dealer has an ace. The player should also surrender when he has a pair of eights and the dealer has an ace.

There are two issues that the player needs to keep in mind about the advanced blackjack surrender strategy. This strategy is a statistical strategy that has been generated through computer simulation. It works more often than not. Also, some experts recommend a separate strategy for blackjack games played with two decks.

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