As I have said in previous posts, I started learning by reading Beat the Dealer, then The World's Greatest Blackjack Book. Most recently I have also read the sections of Professional Blackjack that were not covered in the other two and/or are more up to date.
I've done some drills for recognizing how many decks are in the discard pile and also counting down a deck. I can count down a deck as fast as I can deal it out, so that seems sufficient for now. Of course, I've memorized basic strategy for SD, DD, 6D h17, and 6D s17, as well as Don's Illustrious 18 indices.
In terms of an actual casino play, I have practiced playing at a local casino for hour long sessions. The games available are 6D, h17, ds, rsa, about 1.2-1.5 penetration at the dealer's discretion (.56% casino edge according to CBJN). Decent games for my purposes, since the minimum is $10 and I can practice counting and wonging. I have eliminated stupid errors and have bet at a 1-4 spread most of the time.
First, do you guys have any tips on how to inconspicuously wong in and out of a table? I found it to be a bit awkward when everyone at the table, dealer included, assumed that I would want to join at the beginning of the shoe and thought I was just being polite when I said they could start without me. When I have lost some hands, it's easy to act like I want to take a breather and then I can jump back in when the count is favorable. I know if it is unfavorable I could also go to the bathroom or something, but that initial sit down always seems awkward. Backcounting also seems awkward.
Second, I wanted to see if anyone had input about my prelim plan for my Vegas trip. I am going with three friends so it's not a strictly blackjack trip but I do plan to get a good amount of playing in. I arrive tomorrow at 9:30am. I plan to head to El Cortez and play their SD and DD games to start. I figured late morning/early afternoon Friday may be the least crowded time of the weekend. Other seemingly decent games I noticed downtown were at Main St Station (DD), Fremont (SD), Four Queens (SD), and California (DD). Do you guys have any input on these places?
The rest of the weekend, since I'll be on the strip, I figured I will need to do some wonging and identified Bellagio, Caesars, Excalibur, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, NY NY, and Wynn all as casinos with decent DD and 6D games at $10 or $25 minimums. Also, I'm staying at the Mirage but it seems anything below their $25 games are continuous shuffle machines. Do you guys have input about these places?
Thanks in advance, sorry for the lengthy post.