Just what is it deck penetration? At blackjack, it is the question of how far down into the deck will the cut card appear, which requires the dealer to stop dealing cards and shuffle the decks.
This is important to a card counter, because with that knowledge; what cards remain to be played is a very high advantage to the player because only a small number of cards remain. If a card counter knows what cards are remaining, big ones versus little ones, he or she can adjust the size of their bet or even adjust their playing strategy. The further the cut card is placed toward the bottom of the deck the greater the advantage for the card counter.
Many years ago, when only single decks were in use, dealers would go to the end of the deck, which was very good for the card counter, but this isn’t the case today.
Casino management knows this helps the counter, so they instruct the dealer to put the cut card somewhere near the end of the deck but not at the bottom of the deck. How far down toward the bottom is what deck penetration is all about.
A counter wants the dealer to place the cut card at least 65 to 70 percent or better from the top in any game played. This applies to single or multi-decks as well. If not, the player will not get to see any of those favorable situations that can result in a large advantage over the house.
While playing in Washington state recently, I saw one casino place the cut card half way into a six-deck shoe. Needless to say, I didn’t play very long in that casino that had only a 50 percent penetration. If you don’t see good penetration, move to another table, pit or even another casino.
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