For purely selfish reasons, I’ve done as folks like us do, and I’ve made an EV evaluation of contributing to this site.
On one hand, the tips and tricks contained herein would undoubtedly smooth the learning curve for the up-and-comer, allowing newer APs to learn from our mistakes and soak up some of the finer points that have been learned through years of actual casino experience.
On the other hand, one could argue that this blog gives away “trade secrets,” or that it offers more value to lurking casino employees hoping to understand how APs operate than it does to the AP community, and even if the inverse is true, the fact remains that there is a finite amount of money to go around in most forms of AP, and the more successful APs that exist, the less money each one of them can expect to take home personally.
While I can’t speak for Lee—the creator of AP Street—directly, I know there’s a touch of altruism motivating his creation of the site. We’ve both leaned a lot from the players who have come before us, and there’s a certain sense of duty in doing the same for the next generation of APs.
But on a pragmatic level, it all comes down to whether or not spreading information and sharing insights that aren’t widely published elsewhere is +EV or not.
In the original version of this piece (I re-wrote a big chunk, for reasons that are probably obvious), I took a look at a particular game that was once a goldmine for APs but is now old hat to casino folks and beginner players alike. While this game still provides the occasional opportunity to observant APs, it’s often a poor proposition from an exposure standpoint. Simply put: casinos got wise.
What took this opportunity from goldmine to waste of time? Was it ever-increasing casino awareness? Sure, to some extent. Was it a major increase in the volume of players exploiting this particular opportunity? Yes, absolutely. But, in my opinion, the number one game killer was sloppiness on the part of players.
Poorly-prepared APs are high-exposure. They heat themselves up through sloppiness and a lack of self-awareness, and they heat up the games that they’re spotted on. Even if a casino doesn’t know a play, they’ll be able to pick off a shoddy AP, and now all eyes are on the game that more skilled players may have been quietly profiting from for years.
I’ll give some of these guys the benefit of the doubt. Some players come up on their own, and they don’t have anyone to help them smooth out their rough edges. They may have absolutely no idea that their play is riddled with red flags.
Writing about stuff that most APs avoid talking about openly is a tough call, but if it helps stop casino-smartening behaviors before they start, then it’s almost certainly a good thing. Weak APs being weeded out as a form of natural selection may seem good for the bottom line, but if those APs wise up an entire casino to a particular sensitivity in the process, then there’s more potential money disappearing than they were going to take in the first place.
So, part of my motivation is giving back to the community that’s given freely to me. But I won’t pretend that there’s nothing in it for me, either. Better APs, longer-lasting opportunities. I may be idealistic, but I can think of a few opportunities that have dried up that might still be around if the people responsible for drying them up had read some of the tips on this site beforehand. That’s why this stuff is important, and that’s what’s in it for me.
Blake Phillips is a professional advantage player and contributing editor to AP Street. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org