I play the Sands PA game often. It is dealer pitch double deck and I have never seen it below $50. They only had a few tables of this game but recently added a few more so you can generally get on a table alone or with one other person. If you want more information let me know.
A few hints for you in order of importance in my opinion.
1. Start off with the KO count. This is described in the 'KO Blackjack' book by as well as 'The Color of Blackjack'. The index plays are easier for this count. There is no true count conversion needed. A basic bet ramp is discussed that works really well. With this count and 10 hours or so of practice you should be able to hit the casino and have an edge from your very first day of playing. Learn the index plays in order of importance, starting with insurance and 10v6 and move down the list. Start with 5-6 of the regular index plays and 1-2 of the surrender index plays and leave it at that. Add a few plays over the next few weeks until you have at least the illustrious 18 and the fab 4 surrender plays memorized. I promise you will be happier with the KO count than starting off with Hi-Lo. The first 3-5 sessions with hi-lo in a real casino are exhausting in my experience. With one less step to decide on betting and playing decisions you will find you can play quickly and accurately with KO.
2. For an 8 deck game you will need to spread pretty aggressively. 1-12 would be a good start: less than that will make your win rate relative to blackjack's variance too small for comfort. With your bankroll and ROR needs I don't think you can have a 25$ minimum bet yet for the 8 deck game, although I think you are getting close to being able to play 25$ min 8 deck shoes. A 10 dollar min would be better especially as your first few weeks of play will be a roller coaster ride.
3. Buy a subscription to BJ21 green chip. Read all of the posts of the month. Use the search feature a lot. Don't expect tons of free info in the form of replies to your posts, but mine the site for info.
4. You may want to use one of the sim programs on the market to optimize your betting ramp, and more importantly, to calculate your true ROR by sim. Be aware that if expenses are taken out of your bankroll your ROR increases significantly. Norm's CVCX program will help you greatly in this regard. CV blackjack is good for practice as well.
Good luck. Keep your eyes open for additional advantages on your travels. Always check for dealer miss pays! Have fun :)
I am saying I suspect he does not know perfect basic strategy, and based on his questions and inclination to attack a 60% pen 8-deck, also has no experience counting. I know a counter who thinks he's APing it, but plays with a 70% ROR everytime he walks thru the door--I pointed him to the best game in the state, he would rather play a different one. I tell him it's pointless to count if he doesn't learn basic strategy, and he forgets to figure the cut-off decks into his true count calculation then hits a 14 against a 4. By playing without an advantage, he can cut into the advantage without cutting into himself, while also learning how it works on his own. You don't know what you are doing, you will bust yourself.
I am suggesting that he can practice in a casino rather than at home. I personally think that is better, probably to the contrary of others. I would strongly suggest a tiny spread like that because at the beginning, there's a very high likelihood you will screw up. When starting, I wanted the slow dealers. Now, I want the super fast ones. When confidence is gained and indices are learned, increase the spread. At that point, maybe you can start asking what is an optimal spread.
Lowering your minimum wager increases your hourly win rate, it doesn't decrease it.
I have a question: Why do you want to play blackjack? You have a 40k bankroll and play poker for a living. Here are a few more:
1)Did you get that money playing poker only?
2)What stakes do you play at?
3)Do you realize that playing poker well is the best thing you can do in a casino(playing badly is conversely the worst thing you can do)? Blackjack is the second best thing you can do, but it's a far drop from good poker.
You sound like you go on tilt after losses in poker. That happens. I've done it. But you can just take a break from poker and walk around a bit instead of learning all of these new things and possibly go crazy and go broke. You can go broke only betting big with highly positive counts!
In my opinion:
1. Wong out aggressively to increase your win rate.
2. You need a higher max bet to make any real money. With a $250 max bet on an 8-deck game you are not making very much. IMO, you need to be willing to go up to $500 at the very least before blackjack is worthwhile (unless you have non-counting ways to get larger edges).
3a. You need a bigger bankroll (see #2).
3b. Always remember that playing 2 hands of half the size reduces variance but leaves your edge the same. eg, 2x$250 has the same edge as a $500 hand but only has the bankroll requirements of a $350 or $400 hand.
3c. Why are you comfortable with a 2% risk of ruin? 2% is not that unlikely. If I was making a living off of this, a 2% risk of ruin would scare the hell out of me.
4. Cover is overrated. This is controversial and many people who make a living doing this, and have a lot more experience than I do, disagree, so I accept that I may be wrong. It's still my opinion, though.
Again, you are over-betting your bankroll. Can you find $10 or $15 game with the similar rules?
Remember that the fluctuation in blackjack is huge.
I do understand that..lowering your min wage by itself .. increases your hourly win rate because you are losing less money on the negative counts.. but it also decreases the amount of your max bets with a similar spread that you would have had at a higher min bet... to keep the same max bet after lowing your min bet .. one would have to increase their spread - thereby drawing more heat from the pit...no?
(by the way ..not trying to come off as if I know it all..because you are the experienced counter not me.. I am simply making this comment in a form of a question ..based on math and logic..) and I do appreciate your feedback and advice..