5-Card Charlie Rule in Blackjack

Dealt Blackjack Table With 5 Card Charlie Written Over Top

Blackjack looks like a simple game. And in many ways, it is a simple game. But when you realize how many different rules variations there are, it becomes difficult to determine which rules are good and which ones aren’t.

Five-Card Charlie is a blackjack rule that you don’t see in many games. But it’s a good rule for blackjack players. If you see it available, you need to understand how it works so that you can take advantage.

In this post, you’re going to learn about the Five-Card Charlie blackjack rule and how to take advantage of it to earn more at the tables.

How to Judge Blackjack Rule Variations

With all of the possible rule variations in blackjack, it can be difficult to judge which rules are good and bad. But there’s a simple trick you can use to figure out if a blackjack rule is good or bad for you.

The simplest way to compare blackjack rules is to look at the house edge or return to player percentage for each rule. Good rules have a higher return and lower house edge, while bad rules create a lower return percentage and a higher house edge.

When you look at how the Five-Card Charlie rule changes the house edge, you’ll understand why it’s an excellent rule for players. For example, when you compare the return percentage in blackjack games that don’t use the Five-Card Charlie rule and games that do use this rule, your return is 1.46% higher in games with the Five-Card Charlie.

The critical thing to understand is that you only realize this difference in return when comparing blackjack games with the same rules except for the Five-Card Charlie. However, when any other rules are different, your return changes.

Because the Five-Card Charlie rule is favorable to the player, there are always some rules in play that hurt your overall return. For example, you’re more likely to find a blackjack game using the Five-Card Charlie rule that pays 6:5 for a natural blackjack than in a game that pays 3:2.

You have to look at all of the rules for each particular blackjack game to compare one variant to another.

What Is the Charlie Rule in Blackjack?

The Charlie rule in blackjack says that you win the hand automatically once you reach a certain number of cards, as long as you don’t go over 21. Notice that the rule doesn’t say anything about the total the dealer has.

While this post covers the Five-Card Charlie rule, you can also find blackjack games with a Six-Card Charlie rule or even a Seven-Card Charlie. The number before the word is the number of cards you need to have in order to win.

For example, the Seven-Card Charlie allows you to win the hand if you happen to have seven cards without going over 21. The Six-Card Charlie rule allows you to win when you get six cards without going over 21. So, essentially, the Five-Card Charlie is winning when you get five cards without going over 21.

Dealt Blackjack Table

If you start with an ace and a two, the correct strategy is to hit. If you get another two, you hit again and take another card. You’re up to three cards and still only have a total of five or 15. So, you get another card and receive a three, for a total of eight or 18.

A total of 18 is a strong hand, and in a game that doesn’t use the Five-Card Charlie rule, the correct play is to stand on an 18. But if the dealer is showing an eight or higher and the game has a Five-Card Charlie rule, the correct play is to take a fifth card. You’re not going to bust in this situation, and you lock in a win by taking the fifth card.

Another way to look at the Five-Card Charlie is that it’s an additional way to win. You play most of your hands the same way as you do in other blackjack games. But sometimes, you have a hand where you get an extra advantage.

As you can see, the Five-Card Charlie is better than the Six-Card Charlie. And these are both better than the Seven-Card Charlie rule because there are higher chances to bust. The Seven-Card Charlie also changes the house edge and returns such a small amount that most blackjack players ignore it.

Is Five-Card Charlie a Good Rule?

I’ve already touched on this a little bit in this post, but the Five-Card Charlie rule in blackjack is a good one. It helps you get a higher return when you play blackjack, which is why it’s hard to find games that use it.

Here are two of the main reasons why this is a good rule.

The first reason why this is a good rule is that it gives you another way to win a hand. In traditional blackjack, you either have to have a total higher than the dealer without going over a total of 21, or you have not to go over 21, and the dealer has to go above 21.

With the Five-Card Charlie, you also can win by having five cards without going over 21, even if you don’t have a higher total than the dealer and/or the dealer doesn’t go over 21.

The second reason is that it adds another level of strategy you can use to win. I know that sounds a lot like the first reason. But any time you can learn new strategies for blackjack, it gives you a better chance to win. This rule tends to change the house edge and may increase your chances of winning.

Where Can You Find Blackjack Games With Five-Card Charlie Rules?

Blackjack games that offer it are rare. Any rule that helps you and hurts the casino isn’t a rule the casino usually offers generously. Casinos want you to play games that work against you.

To find blackjack games that use the Five-Card Charlie, you have to look at the rules for every blackjack game in the casinos where you gamble. So, keep a list of games and casinos that use the rule. That way, you know where to find it the next time you want to play blackjack.

Make sure that you look at all of the other rules in every game that has the Five-Card Charlie. I’ve never found a game that didn’t have at least one or two bad rules. When you find these blackjack games, you need to determine how the overall return percentage and the house edge are affected, so you don’t end up at a table with worse returns.

Closeup of a Blackjack Table Game

You can find blackjack games using the Five-Card Charlie rule that have a high return. But you need to make sure that a different set of blackjack rules isn’t better before you play.

Keep in mind, this isn’t the most important rule to look for when you compare blackjack games. Surrender rules and tables that pay 3:2 for blackjack are more critical. But the Five-Card Charlie rule is important enough to look for it and understand how it works.

I never worry about whether a table offers the Seven-Card Charlie rule because it doesn’t change the return much. When I find a table with the Six-Card Charlie, I look at the other rules to see if anything else is affected. But it doesn’t change the return enough to give up any of the others.

In Summary

Of all of the blackjack rules, the Five-Card Charlie rule is one of the best. But casinos that offer this aren’t stupid; they attach a few bad rules to the blackjack games to even the playing field.

Sometimes, the blackjack table using the Five-Card Charlie rule is the best table available. Still, it might be a trick to get you to play at a table with a lower return and higher house edge than another available table.

When you play blackjack, you should look for the 5 rule, but never forget to look at all of the other rules to determine if it’s the best table or if it’s even worth playing.