The rules for Blackjack Five Cards specify that you will win automatically if you get 5 cards in your hand without busting. This auto-win strategy guarantees a win if you collect 5 cards without exceeding 21 points in your hand. For example, if you get a blackjack hand of 4-3-5-6-2, you will win regardless of the dealer’s hand, according to the Blackjack Five Card rule.
The strategy is commonly known as the 5-Card Charlie rule. It is an advantage play strategy that gives the player an edge of around 1.46%.
This means any blackjack variant with the 5-Card Charlie rule increases the player payback percentage (RTP) by 1.46% and reduces the casino house edge by the same margin. If you stick to the correct strategy, you can rest assured the house edge will be much lower than 0.5% with the rule.
Of course, creating a five-card hand without going bust can be incredibly difficult. In fact, your probability of hitting a Blackjack Five-Card Charlie is a paltry 1.96%, meaning your chances or odds of getting five cards without surpassing 21 points are 50 to 1. You can expect to be successful with this strategy once every 50 hands.
Meanwhile, any winning five-card Charlie hand pays even money or 1 to 1. If you place a $20 bet, for example, and create a 5-card hand without going beyond 21, you can expect a payout of double the amount of your stake for a profit of $20. Some casinos and blackjack variants pay 2 to 1 for the five-card Charlie rule, meaning you will get paid 2 dollars for every dollar going in.
Blackjack Rules for Five-Card Charlie
That said, there are a few Blackjack Five-Card Charlie rules you need to keep in mind, including:
- You can only win with Blackjack 5-Card Charlie strategy if you acquire five cards without going over 21. In other words, your five-card hand should not go bust.
- An auto-win with an even money payout is activated for any winning Five-Card Charlie hand.
- The Blackjack 5-Card rule doesn’t beat a dealer’s natural 21. When the dealer has a blackjack (a 21-hand created with an Ace and a ten-card), you will lose even if you have a five-card Charlie hand.
- Blackjack Five Cards don’t automatically win because some casinos, games, and blackjack tables may not offer the 5-card Charlie rule. Besides, other game rules, including whether the dealer stands or hits on Soft 17 and side bets, may affect how the outcomes are determined.
Defining the Blackjack Charlie Rule
Blackjack may seem like a straightforward card game. And, in many respects, that is true. However, when you factor in all the various changes and variations in rules, you may need help distinguishing the good, the bad, and the ugly. Only some blackjack rules are favorable, and not all of them are bad, either.
That said, the Five-Card Charlie rule is one of the most favorable strategies you take advantage of in blackjack. Unfortunately, few blackjack variants use this rule, and none is available in land-based settings.
If you want to boost your chances of winning at blackjack, it is a no-brainer to seek out 5-card Charlie games.
The Charlie rule in blackjack is simple. It dictates that you will automatically win if you get a certain number of cards in your hand without busting. Most Charlie rules require the player to collect 5 cards without going past 21, but others call for collecting 6, 7, 8, or 9 cards without busting.
The one that requires five cards to pay is called the 5-card Charlie rule. It gives you an advantage or edge of about 1.46% and has a probability of 50 to 1. Meanwhile, you will need to obtain six cards to win with the blackjack 6-Card Charlie rule. The same goes for the 7, 8, and 9-Card Charlie rules.
In the traditional blackjack, you can win in two ways:
- Beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21, or
- Get a natural blackjack – Create a hand with an Ace and a ten-card, such as Ace-10, Ace-Jacks, etc.
Therefore, you can think of the Charlie rule in blackjack as a way to earn an extra win. It provides an extra advantage, although you make all your moves as you would in regular blackjack. The 5-card Charlie rule is clearly better than the 6-card, 7-card, 8-card, or 9-card Charlie rule. That’s because your chances of busting are lower with the five-card Charlie rule than with the rest.
How to Gauge Variations in Blackjack Rules
You’ll find various blackjack rule variations while looking for your favorite game. But how will you know if the rule variation is good or bad? Thankfully, there are multiple ways to tell if a blackjack rule variation is beneficial or not.
Look at the blackjack game return to player (RTP) percentage
The easiest and most effective way to judge a blackjack rule variation is to consider how it affects the RTP of the game. The RTP is a measure of payback percentage, meaning the return you can expect from playing the game. Blackjack rule variations that increase the RTP are good, if not excellent, as they will ultimately improve your winning chances.
The RTP of classic blackjack ranges between 98% and 99%. If the variation of the rule can increase the RTP to 99.5%, you can push it even further down with the correct play with basic strategy.
Examine the influence on the house edge
The RTP and house edge are factors that almost exclusively impact the player’s winning odds in blackjack. If the rule variation increases the house edge, the RTP of the game will naturally decrease. That is something you should avoid as a player, whether you are play blackjack offline or at online casinos.
Extra rules of the blackjack games
The only way to compare blackjack games based on a rule variation is for all other rules to remain unchanged. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, especially when the 5-card Charlie rule is introduced.
Since the 5-card blackjack rule favors the players, the casino usually introduces additional rules to balance out the increase in return. For instance, you will likely find that a blackjack variant with the 5-card Charlie rule pays 6 to 5 for a natural blackjack instead of the traditional 3 to 2 payout. It would be best if you watched out for these hurtful extra rules when comparing blackjack games with the five-card Charlie rule.
Is the 5-Card Charlie Rule Worth It?
Whether the Five-Card Charlie rule is worth it depends on several factors and circumstances. It comes with its own fair share of both benefits and drawbacks.
The pros of the 5-card Charlie rule
As mentioned, the five-card Charlie rule is among the few rules that favor the player. Thus, it’s an excellent rule that helps the player get a better return for their money.
- Automatic win – With the five-card blackjack rule, the player can win by getting 5 cards without busting. You win even if the dealer has a stronger hand than you, except if they have a natural blackjack.
- One more winning strategy – The rule provides additional strategies players can use to win. Although this advantage is related to the first one, it stands on its own. Every time you have another good strategy, your chances of winning increase.
- Reduces house edge – Once again, the five-card Charlie rule has been known to reduce the casino’s advantage by around close to 1.5%.
- Boosts your payback – Naturally, this superb rule improves your RTP by around 1.46%, increasing your winning odds/chances in the long run.
It’s for these reasons that casinos don’t carry blackjack games with the rule.
The cons of the 5-card Charlie rule
- It can be time-consuming – The rule can be a hurdle, especially when playing blackjack at a land-based casino. The pace of the game will be painfully slow, and the rounds will last long as some players try to get five cards.
- The rule makes you prone to making poor gameplay decisions – You are likely to be tempted to deviate from the basic strategy by the possibility of winning with the five-card rule. Unfortunately, this will lead to poor gameplay decisions that will reduce your winning chances and increase your odds of losing money.
Every blackjack rule affects the gameplay and your odds of winning. Depending on the variant at play, the basic rules of Charlie can also affect how you play the basic blackjack strategy. That’s why you should adjust your strategy accordingly.
Tips for using Five-Card Charli Rule
The five-card rule is not a sure thing. It can also be tricky to execute it without compromising your gameplay. So, keep the following tips in mind when applying the rule:
Don’t count on the Five-Card Charlie rule
The first strategy is to not count on the rule. You shouldn’t expect it to work instantly. Remember getting 5 cards without going bust only occurs 1.96% of the time. So, you can keep your basic strategy the same when you play Charlie blackjack.
The only time you should seriously consider the rule is when you are nearly getting 5 cards, and your hand is still below 21.
If you are not close to five cards, you’d better stick to your regular gameplay. You may profit more by focusing on other aspects of the game, such as when to double down, how to split pairs, the soft 17 rule, and the number of decks at play.
It pays to know the optimal time to hit or stand
We recommend you do the following rather than counting on the 5-card Charlie rule:
- Hit every time you’ve got 4 cards, and the total doesn’t go over 21
- Hit if you have a 12-16 hand with no aces and cards 7 or higher
- Hit when you have a soft 17 or less
- Stand if all your four cards are worth from 2 to 6
- Stand when you have a hard 17 or more
Know when to double down
We recommend that you double down when…
- You have soft 15 through 18
- You have hard 10 or 11 with only low-value cards
Do five cards hit 21 in blackjack?
Yes, five cards do hit 21 in blackjack. For example, if you have a hand with 6-5-4-3-3 or 6-4-6-2-3, you hit 21 without busting. A regular 21 hand in blackjack wins if the dealer’s hand is less than 21.
If the dealer has a regular 21 hand, the game ends in a tie. This will result in a push, meaning you will not lose or win, so your wager will be returned.
The best thing happens if you play a blackjack game with the Five-Card Charlie rule. When you hit 21 with five cards, this rule automatically stipulates that your hand wins. The payout is even money (1 to 1) or 2 to 1, depending on the variant you are playing.
Hit 12 with blackjack?
The decision to hit 12 or not in blackjack will vary based on two factors:
- The value of the dealer’s up-card
- The rule which dictates whether the dealer should hit or must stand on ace-6 and other soft 17 hands
That said, if the blackjack game rules the dealer has to stand on soft 17, you must hit 12 only against the dealer’s Ace, 2, 3, or 7 through 10
On the other hand, if the blackjack game dictates that the croupier has to hit on soft 17, you must hit 12 only when the dealer is showing 2, 3, and 7-10.
In either case, you must surrender if the dealer’s up-card is a 4, 5, or 6. If the surrender option is unavailable, we recommend that you stand at 12 against the dealer’s 4. This is because the dealer has a 40% probability of busting with a 4 up-card. In other words, you have a 60% chance of losing a 12 hand if you stand, but it is still worth waiting for the dealer to bust out.
Need to split 4 in blackjack?
When you are dealt 4s in blackjack, you can split, hit, or double down. The right choice will depend upon the value of the dealer’s up-card, whether doubling down is allowed after splitting a pair, and the number of decks in the shoe.
- In a double-deck or multi-deck blackjack variant, you should split if the dealer is showing a 5 or a six if doubling down is permitted after splitting pairs. If you are not allowed to double down after a pair splitting, you should hit 4s against any dealer up-card.
- In single-deck blackjack games, you should split a pair of 4s when the dealer is showing a 4, 5, or 6 if doubling down after splitting pairs is allowed. For all other dealer’s up-cards, you should hit instead of splitting.
- If you get a third 4 after splitting, you should re-split against the dealer’s 5.
- If the doubling after splitting pairs rule is unavailable, you should double down on your 4s (hard 8) against the dealer’s 5 or 6. Hit in all other single-deck instances.
These rules for splitting a pair of 4s will help improve your likelihood of winning money and may even turn a hand you would otherwise lose into a winner. It can also reduce your odds of losing money on average.
Are the odds of blackjack better with more players?
No. The blackjack odds are not better or worse with more players. The odds of blackjack remain the same, regardless of the number of players at the blackjack table.
The only ways to change blackjack odds are by changing the game rules, the number of decks used, and payout rates.
What’s the best seat at the blackjack table?
The farthest left seat is considered the best at a blackjack table. It is sometimes called the ‘third base’ and is usually the last position to act before the dealer’s turn to play. Technically, the dealer has the best seat in the house because they get to act last after all the players have made their decisions.
Can I sit anywhere at the blackjack table?
Yes, you can sit anywhere that is available at the blackjack table. An ideal seating position is the farthest left seat next to the dealer at a full blackjack table. Once again, this third-base position allows you to act last, which is beneficial, especially if you are a good card counter. Of course, this is subject to the availability of the seat.