Insider Chronicles – Is It Playing Both Sides?

In the course of talking about and promoting my book, something that comes up a lot, and understandably so, is the “insiders” aspect of the book. It goes beyond the book even, to my life in general. It comes at me in a lot of different ways and with different words. The basic question though, is, “Andrew, you’re a card counter and you’re in the casino business. Aren’t you playing both sides?”

It’s a fair question. I think it’s a great first blog topic, since it’s such a big part of what’s going on right now for me.

The answer to the question is layered. The outside layer is simple and visible, but the inner layers start to get harder and harder to peel back. Frankly, they’re even hard for me to peel back.

Put simply, the outer layer so to speak, no. I do not play both sides. I’m a casino professional who has a unique understanding of the other side of the table. Advantage play is a hot topic in casino gaming. It always has been, and always will be. It’s quite hard though, to gain a good understanding of how these players can threaten a casino. I happen to have some experience in the area, on a level that not many other casino professionals have. That’s the simple answer.

On the slightly more complicated layer under that, is another answer. I have played on both sides. I’ve already stated my positon as a casino professional. If you’ve read Blackjack Insiders, you know that I spent some time as a fairly high level card counter. Due to that, yes, I have been on both sides.

Now we’re in murky waters, because there was a time when I did indeed play both sides simultaneously. The dichotomy of that point in my life was fascinating to me. Luckily for me, it was fascinating to other people too. You can read all about the struggles of being a pit boss by day and advantage player by night by picking up a copy of Blackjack Insiders here. Well, you can read almost all about it. I couldn’t possibly put every juicy story in the book now, could I?

Today, I don’t play blackjack anymore (or do I?), but I have friends that do. I also have colleagues who are spending their days trying to catch these players. If you have some sort of cognitive dissonance over that, well, I can’t help you with that.

What I can do is tell you that when I’m in a casino these days, I’m wearing a suit and tie. In the book, I use my Insider knowledge to make me a better player. These days, I’m using that experience to make myself a more valuable (in theory) casino gaming professional. I think I’ve found a good balance, the perfect separation of church and state, if you will. Both sides know who I am, what I’ve done, and what I do. I never use one side against the other.

When I’m at work, I’m all business. When I’m talking to my advantage player buddies, it’s all business too, but from the other side of course. I don’t consider that playing both sides. Do you?

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