The automatic win upon receiving five cards in blackjack is called “5 Card Charlie”. However, the rule doesn’t apply to most blackjack games online or in land-based casinos.
You’ve probably heard this from someone who plays blackjack at home. That’s where the five card rule is the most prominent.
When it comes to real casinos, though, it’s simply not there. So, to answer your question:
“No, 5 cards do not automatically win in blackjack.”
There are practically no land-based casinos that would allow this blackjack rule in Europe or America. You’re much more likely to find it in online blackjack software. However, it’s a rare occasion even at virtual casinos.
What is 5 Card Charlie Rule?
5 Card Charlie is a blackjack rule that gives an edge to the player. It simply states that if you collect five cards without busting, you automatically win.
The exception is the dealer’s blackjack, which usually wins even if the player has a blackjack too. The payout of this kind of a win can differ as well, ranging from 1:1 to 2:1.
“The odds of collecting five cards without busting are roughly 50:1 (other rules can affect this probability).”
This isn’t a likely scenario in blackjack. However, it’s much more likely than getting six or seven cards without busting. Such rules exist as well, yet you won’t find them easily in real or licensed online casinos anyway.
5 Card Charlie + Other Rules
If you do find a blackjack game with this variation, it most certainly has some additional rules. All kinds of other rules may apply in conjunction with the automatic win rule, namely:
- Double Down
- Side Bets
Obviously, if you split your cards, you’ll have to collect five cards in each hand separately. Also, this auto-win rule doesn’t work as side bets do.
In other words, if you get five cards and win, you immediately end the round. This means that you can’t win both by getting a Charlie and beating the dealer on the same round. Only one kind of a win is possible per round.
Why Don’t Five Cards Win?
The answer to that is simple. The rule isn’t in popular use because it wouldn’t be a lucrative strategy for the house. Depending on other rules of the game, it could tip the scale in the player’s favour. So, casinos simply can’t have that.
“Automatic five card win rule adds 1.46% RTP to the game.”
With many blackjack software and real casino rules, these games already have house edges below 1%. That’s why adding this rule simply wouldn’t be feasible.
Of course, some games have lower payouts, so this rule could be added to them. Yet, casinos don’t like to implement it anyway as it isn’t part of the classic blackjack.
Blackjack Games with 5 Card Win Rule
Nevertheless, it isn’t impossible to find games with the automatic win rule. Here are a few titles that we know of:
- Blackjack 5-Card Charlie
- Blackjack Six Card Charlie
- Blackjack Charlie 7
The number indicates how many cards you need to collect to win without checking their value. Unfortunately, not all of these titles are legally available to the UK players.
Regardless, should you stumble upon such a variant and wish to play it, you should know how to do it well.
Blackjack 5 Card Charlie Strategy
Every single rule in blackjack affects the gameplay. So, the best strategy differs accordingly too. The Charlie rules are not an exception in this case.
There are certain tips and tricks that you can use to increase your odds in this variant. They don’t guarantee success in every round. However, you’re more likely to end up with a positive balance if you stick to these strategies:
- Don’t count on it
- Know when to hit or stand
- Know when to double down
Here’s the explanation of each of these points:
1. Don’t Count on It
Don’t count on getting five cards from the start. Remember, this will only happen once in 50 rounds or so. So, it makes no sense to change your gameplay in any significant way if you’re playing Charlie blackjack.
That is unless you’re getting close to actually collecting five cards and are still under 21. If not, just play it as you would any other standard blackjack game and pay attention to other rules.
Depending on the variant, other rules might be much more important in most cases. For example, things like card decks used, dealer’s rules and splitting and doubling will affect the game in every round. The Charlie rules won’t.
So, take the automatic win rule into consideration only if you already have at least 3 cards in your hand.
2. When to Hit or Stand
Depending on the number of decks used in the game and your current hand, you have several choices. You can either:
- Double down (if allowed)
The lower the number of decks used, the more important are the cards already in the game. If you can’t make out anything from them though, we suggest to:
- Hit if your hand is soft 17 or lower
- Hit if you have four cards worth up to soft 21
- Stand if you have a hard 17 or higher
- Hit if you have a 7 or higher card, no aces and your hand is worth between 12 and 16
- Stand if all your cards have a value of 2 to 6 and your hand is worth at least 13 unless you already have four of them
3. When to Double Down
Generally, doubling down is an overused strategy in blackjack. However, there are some cases where it’s lucrative to use it.
Doubling can be used to capitalize on the automatic win to double your winnings. All you’d have to do is collect four cards and then double down on a fifth one without busting.
If you have less than four cards, you’ll want to consider which path is better. Should you aim for five cards or lose this opportunity by doubling down? In most cases, we’d suggest you to:
- Double down on hard 10 or hard 11
- Double down on soft 15 to 18 if all your cards have low value
You shouldn’t blindly follow these guidelines though, due to numerous possible rule variations for which we can’t account for.
Remember that automatic win rule is always in your favour. So, it can’t make your matters worse than they’d be in classic blackjack games.