Charlie Rule in Blackjack OnlineBy: Joe Valentino, Monday January 16th 2012
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Apart from the standard land casino variants, there are a number of innovative blackjack variants available at online casinos. In these variants some of the rules are changed in ways that create more interest and greater challenge for the player. The player has to make changes to the standard optimum blackjack strategy so as to accommodate the effects of the different rules.
One such rule is the Charlie Rule, which is present in blackjack variants like Triple Attack Blackjack. Actually the Charlie Rule is a generic rule. It says that if the player is dealt a specified number of cards without busting then the player's hand is an automatic winner, irrespective of the value ultimately obtained by the dealer. Sometimes the Charlie Rule is tempered by making it lose against a dealer blackjack.
Getting four cards without busting is fairly common and therefore the Charlie Rule never applies to four cards. It begins with a Five Card Charlie. A Five Card Charlie hand is a hand of five cards whose hand value is not over 21 calculated according to the normal blackjack rules. This decreases the house edge by 1.46%. Blackjack variants usually have a house edge of 0.5%. Hence the Five Card Charlie Rule will increase the return to the player at over 100%, which is not feasible for the online casino. Hence the Five Card Charlie Rule is rarely offered and when it is offered then some other advantage is taken away from the player in order to level the field.
A Seven Card Charlie hand is a hand of seven cards whose hand value is not over 21. This decreases the house edge by 0.01%. This advantage is really insignificant for most online blackjack players. Therefore they are not really attracted by the Seven Card Charlie Rule. The Charlie Rules with more than seven cards offer even less of an advantage and are not even heard of. Therefore the focus is on the Six Card Charlie Rule.
A Six Card Charlie hand is a hand of six cards whose hand value is not over 21. This decreases the house edge by 0.16%. This offers a reasonable advantage to the player and is something that the online casinos can absorb. Therefore the Six Card Charlie Rule is the one which is usually employed. Because it offers an immediate win players gain by hitting and trying for a Charlie hand, when they would have stayed in the normal blackjack game. The Charlie Rule strategy is displayed on a strategy card that is identical in structure to the normal card. The difference is that certain cells are marked with either '1' or '2'. In the normal card these cells were marked with 'S', indicating that the player should stand. If the player's and dealer's hand values correspond to a cell marked '2' then the player should hit if he is at most two cards away from a Charlie. If the player reaches the hand value in the cell with four or five cards then he should hit with a Six Card Charlie Rule in force. Similarly if he is on a cell marked '1' in a Six Card Charlie Rule then he should hit when he holds five cards.
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