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Blackjack 5-Card Charlie Rule – Does 5 Cards Win In Blackjack?

Blackjack 5-Card Charlie Rule

Blackjack is one of the most popular games available in both online and land-based casinos. Movies such as ’21’ have had a lasting impact on people worldwide and have encouraged them to try their hand at Blackjack. Despite this popularity, not many people know about the Blackjack 5-Card Charlie rule.

What is the Blackjack 5-Card Charlie rule, and where does it exist? Do 5 cards win in Blackjack or not? Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the Blackjack 5-Card Charlie rule and where it’s applicable.

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Do 5 Cards Automatically Win in Blackjack?  

The reason many players want to learn about the Blackjack 5-Card Charlie rule is because of the reputation it holds. It’s said that the 5-Card Charlie rule provides an automatic win to any player who gets it in Blackjack. But, is that true or false?

Well, you should know that this rule is mostly applied when playing Blackjack at home. This is because most casinos don’t have this rule. To be honest, there are barely any land-based casinos in Europe or America that offer the Blackjack 5-Card Charlie rule. That being said, you are more likely to find some online casinos that may provide this rule in some Blackjack variations. 

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What is 5-Card Charlie? 

Let’s get to the point. What exactly is a Blackjack 5-Card Charlie? Anyone who plays Blackjack will be familiar with the ‘Hit’ concept, which is basically when you ask the live dealer to give you another card. A 5-Card Charlie occurs in Blackjack when the dealer gives you 5 cards without exceeding the total of 21.

When this happens, and the 5-Card Charlie rule is imposed, it’s an automatic win for the player even if they have a low total in their hand (like 15). However, this rule is not included in most Blackjack variations. However, it may be found in some online Blackjack variations, or you may decide to add it in when you’re playing at home. 

This rule gives players the incentive to keep taking cards if their total is below 21. It can also potentially increase the Return to Player (RTP) percentage by 1.46%. Hence, it can offer players a slight advantage, and as live casinos have a house edge, this rule is not ideal for them.

However, there can be a downside to the 5-Card Charlie rule. For example, players may be tempted to continue taking blackjack cards to activate the Blackjack 5-Card Charlie rule. This temptation could lead to them going bust instead, as they may exceed the total of 21. 

The one exception in the 5-Card Charlie Rule is that if the live dealer has a Blackjack, he wins. The payout for the 5-Card Charlie Rule varies and can range from 2:1 to 1:1. Other than the Blackjack 5-Card Charlie Rule, a 6-Card Charlie Rule and 7-Card Charlie Rule also exist in certain variations. The number indicates how many cards you’ll need to activate this rule, e.g. the 7-card Charlie requires you to get 7 cards without going over 21. If you do this, you will usually win in blackjack if the rule is allowed.

All the Blackjack rules will affect the gameplay; hence you should always come prepared with a decent blackjack strategy or understanding. Certain things you can do to make the most of the Blackjack 5-Card Charlie Rule (if it is offered) are: 

  • Know when to Hit or Stand
  • Know when to Double Down
  • Don’t expect 5 Cards to always come up

If you need a refresher on these terms, check out our informative Blackjack terminology article. 

Why Don’t 5 Cards Win in Blackjack? 

We’ve established that the Blackjack 5-Card Charlie Rule exists in certain Blackjack variations (mostly played at home or online). So, why isn’t the 5-Card Charlie Rule always applicable in all Blackjack variations worldwide? Well, there’s one simple reason for this. The house would have less of an edge.

You see, casinos are established to make a profit (as are all establishments). If these casinos cease to make money, they would have to close down. If they close down, players won’t get the chance to play any of their favourite casino games.

So, to keep running, casinos always have a slight advantage in games called the house edge. The house edge is no secret, and all players should be aware of the house edge before they start playing. The house edge in Blackjack is usually around 4%, but the 5-Card Charlie rule can potentially reduce this house edge by around 1%. 

The introduction of the Blackjack 5-Card Charlie rule further lowers the house edge and has the potential to increase the RTP percentage by 1.46%. Sure, this 5-card hand may only pop up once in every 50 hands, but it’s still enough to offer you a slight advantage you otherwise wouldn’t have. This advantage could make the casino lose more money than expected; hence casinos often don’t allow the 5-Card Charlie Rule. If they do, certain payouts may be altered.

That said, you can find Blackjack variations offering the 5-Card Charlie Rule at certain online casinos. 

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