I've read through many messages on these informative boards, and I'd appreciate an informed perspective on the following.
First, to those who have recently started advantage play and to the experienced players, given the game's condition today, do you believe the effort to improve one's Blackjack skills worth it?
I am dismayed to read all the posts concerning 6:5 payouts, preferential or machine shuffles, horrible penetration, etc. etc. And the trend appears to be worsening. I'd be content to travel to a couple gambling destinations a couple times a year and try to make a decent profit while enjoying some downtime, a trip to the pool, and buffet. Is this still possible, or are even accomplished blackjack players throwing in the towel because the casinos can count on the one-armed bandit slaves to pump their coffers?
Second, if bankroll is not a major concern, but earning a decent return for time invested is, what do you recommend as far as games? Some of the more informative posts I've reviewed indicate, for example, playing a 6-deck shoe with $25 minimum bets is a waste because the shoe may turn positive for only 5-10 hands a round, and thus the expected return is very low. To counteract spending hours of time with only a paltry return (boring), would you recommend upping betting minimums on six-deck shoes to $100 with a $100-$400 spread, or seek out double deck games and limit play to an hour or so?