Penetration in blackjack isn’t so important to basic blackjack strategy players but for card counters, it is crucial. Penetration is how far the dealer goes into the deck – or decks, more likely – before reshuffling. Obviously, the deeper the penetration, the better the conditions are for card-counting. Blackjack dealers shuffle differently in each casino and each blackjack dealer has his or her own preference for shuffling. Sometimes the pit boss will come to a blackjack table and tell the dealer to shuffle immediately.
It’s simple to understand why penetration is important in blackjack; if the dealer keeps reshuffling midway or a third-of-the-way through the deck, then it’s harder to accurately count cards. If the blackjack casino dealer reshuffles less, it’s easier to predict the cards that will come based on the cards that have already been dealt.
With minimal penetration, you will have to place bets over a larger spread because, as mentioned above, it’s harder to accurately predict the count. Even if you’re a card counter par excellence, with poor penetration you have a slim chance of making a profit from the poorly penetrating blackjack table.