Does Placement of the Cut Card Really Matter in Blackjack?

 Does Placement of the Cut Card Really Matter in Blackjack?

Have you ever noticed that different casinos have their blackjack dealers place the cut card in different places in the deck? The cut card is a solid-color plastic card. After a player cuts the cards, the dealer then inserts the cut card into the deck. When he reaches the cut card while dealing cards, he knows it’s time to shuffle after the hand is completed.

I’ve seen cut cards placed so that one deck is cut out of a six-deck shoe, I’ve seen it so that nearly three decks are cut out of play, and I’ve seen it at points in between. Each casino trains its dealers to put the cut card about where they want it.

Part of the reason for cutting more decks is to foil card counters. When card counters play blackjack, one of the things they look for is called “penetration” — how deep in the deck does the dealer deal before shuffling. The deeper the penetration, the more cards are played, the better picture the counter gets of the shifting odds.

But most players aren’t card counters, and penetration makes no difference in your strategies for hitting, standing, splitting pairs and doubling down.

For the large majority of players, there’s worry about penetration. If anything, the average player is better off with fewer cards dealt between shuffles. More shuffles means fewer hands per hour, decreasing your exposure to the house edge. This is one case where the best interests of card counters and average blackjack players are at odds.

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