I’ve been asked on occasion by players who would have five cards in front of them at a blackjack table about something called a “five card charlie”, which, in blackjack terms is a five card hand that does not exceed 21. Well I’m here to tell you…
It’s a myth.
Five card charlies are traditionally counted in home games or back alley games. What would traditionally happen on a five card charlie would be a player would either get paid even money, or 2:1, depending on what’s agreed upon before game play. From what I’ve heard no casino in Europe, Asia, or the States recognize five card charlies, or their brother/sister hands six card charlies, or seven card charlies, even though the odds of getting these are 50:1, 400:1, and 4,600:1 respectively.
Some online casinos may pay five card charlies to encourage new players, however it may not be with all blackjack games. Check out the rules before you play.
And no, a player’s five card charlie at a home game does not beat a dealer’s blackjack, then again, it should never get to that point, since a dealer needs to check for blackjack before the players get cards, unless we’re going by Vegas dealing practices (this is when the dealer only deals themselves one face up card and their face down card isn’t dealt at all. The dealer will deal their second card, and all remaining cards for the house once all players have taken their cards. Not all Vegas casinos do this, however it is still called “Vegas Style Blackjack”). If, at a home game, someone gets a five card charlie, if the dealer did not first get a blackjack, and the five card charlie rule applies, then yes, the player would win automatically, they would get paid then, their cards would be taken away, and then the next player would be allowed to take cards. However, if played Vegas style, and the dealer deals themselves a blackjack or a 21, then the value of the cards outrank a five card charlie, unless it too is valued totaling 21, then it’s a push against the house’s 21, but loses to the house’s blackjack. Then again, this is how I think it should be done and since it’s a home game rule, you can make up whatever house rules you choose.
If you have any questions about any of the games, let us know and we’ll see about debunking the myth for you.