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HOME > Gaming > Blackjack deck penetration

Blackjack deck penetration

29 September 2012

By John Marchel

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.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine. Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

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