Six Card Charlie In Online Blackjack

Published on: August 17, 2012 

Land casinos offer only the standard blackjack variants. There are no side bets and no additional payouts. These are multiplayer games where speed of play is of essence. In most online casino blackjack games it is the single player against the dealer. Therefore innovative features have been introduced in order to make the online blackjack games more interesting and more challenging. One of these rules is the six cards Charlie rule that has been incorporated into some blackjack variants by practically every software provider.

This rule states that a six cards Charlie hand is an automatic winner. Once the player is dealt a six cards Charlie hand then he does not hit again and even the dealer’s hand is not played out. The player is awarded the six cards Charlie payout, which in most online blackjack variants is 3 to 2. This is the same payout as for blackjack. A six cards Charlie hand is a hand of six cards whose hand value is not over 21. The usual blackjack valuation applies. The inclusion of the six cards Charlie rule decreases the house edge by 0.16%. Considering that the house edge with optimum strategy used by the player in most blackjack variants is around 0.5%, this reduction is quite significant. At the same time it is a potential loss that online casinos can easily absorb.

The optimum strategy changes when the six cards Charlie rule is employed. Players have to wager more aggressively and take greater risks. In normal games where the correct move would be to stand, with the six hands Charlie rule it would make sense to hit and try to get the six cards Charlie hand. For example if a player has a hand value of hard 12 and the dealer has a face up card of 6, then in the normal case the player should stand. But with the six cards Charlie rule if the player is one or two cards away from a Charlie then he should hit. Strategy cards are available for six cards Charlie games as they are for other blackjack variants, though they are coded a bit differently.

There is a very interesting reason for the Charlie to be associated with six cards and not with five or seven cards. A five cards Charlie hand will decrease the house edge by 1.46%. Since blackjack variants usually have a house edge of 0.5%, the five cards Charlie rule will increase the return to the player at over 100%. This will spell doom for the online casino. Some blackjack variants however offer the five cards Charlie rule, but tweak some other rule and take away some other advantage from the player in order to level the field. Some options are having the Charlie lose to a dealer’s blackjack and reducing the payout of the Charlie to even money while retaining its instant win characteristic. On the other hand a seven cards Charlie hand decreases the house edge by only 0.01%, because the probability of getting such a hand is very low. Again, some blackjack variants offer the seven cards Charlie rule. But discerning online blackjack players do not attach any value to it.

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