Building A Reputation!
I have had a few people ask me how it may be possible to enter into the world of Advantage Play with a very limited bankroll, and of course, that can be very difficult but a large part of it is making the right connections. For many people, this will either come as a result of either Advantage Playing as a de facto employee of another person, or alternatively, doing some combination of playing for yourself as well as for another person. This Forum is actually an excellent place to start in that regard, and many connections have already been made here between someone looking for someone to work for them and someone willing to accept work...myself very much included!
People may ask, ‘How do you start out on the right foot with a person?’ and the answer to that is simply, ‘Honesty.’ The first thing that one should realize is that no Advantage Player worth his salt is going to hold a person working for him accountable if the results of a particular thing run badly, even extremely badly, unless it is so badly (or badly with such consistency) that it is clear that the person doing the work is completely incompetent. Even then, if you have proven yourself enough in other ways, the person that you have worked for might be willing to assist you in becoming better at playing or point you to the resources that you can use to improve your own play.
Furthermore, you are no more responsible for it if a play happens to go extremely well. In many cases, you may have agreed to a certain percentage of the profits in advance of undergoing a play, and also so there is no confusion, I recommend always determining how and when you are to be paid ahead of time whether it be on some kind of hourly, percentage or one of those bases with some sort of contingency. I am not suggesting you will not be paid fairly if you do not do that, everyone I have ever done work for has paid me either fairly or BETTER than fairly, but it is best to understand the terms in advance to avoid any arguments after a play is over...even more so if you are working with someone for the first, second or third time. After you have worked with someone a few times on a comparable play, then perhaps the agreement can be unspoken.
With that said, though, it is a terrible idea to expect a, ‘Bonus,’ if a play goes extremely well unless (and this is very much a maybe) you are personally responsible for the play going better than planned such as thinking of a way to do it with a stronger Expected Value, or perhaps, with lower Variance if that is what the person you are doing work for wanted. Please do not misunderstand me, Bonuses are certainly nice when things go exceptionally well, and in many instances, you will be offered a Bonus by someone for whom you are working, but they should not be Expected. Would you like to take a pay cut if a play goes poorly assuming you were not already working for a percentage? No? I didn’t think so.
Another thing that you may find frustrating is that there is a very strong possibility that you will feel like you are being micro-managed the first handful of times you work for someone. While that can genuinely be annoying, it is important to understand the situation from the other person’s standpoint. If you have not held money for a person or played with them before, they might want to take a look at what you are doing. Perhaps you thought your skills on a particular Video Poker game are stronger than they actually are, so now mistakes (or perceived mistakes when you are actually right) are being pointed out to you. In the event that the errors are potentially costly enough, the person that you are working for might want you to double-check all but the most ridiculously obvious hands.
Here’s the thing: Any employer/employee relationship, fundamentally, is about the employee having value to the employer and gaining value himself or herself due to the relationship with the employer. However, Advantage Play is a bit more unique in this regard as, with many other jobs, you don’t see nearly immediate results of a person’s performance in a dollars and cents way as you do with Advantage Play. The result of that is that an employer may have a less than Optimal employee, but it takes the employer longer to realize that and take corrective action in a traditional environment because it similarly takes longer for an employee’s errors to affect the bottom line.
If you make an error on Video Poker, for example, and God forbid that error be on a large bet amount where substantial value is being impacted, then you have affected the bottom line in an immediately recognizable manner and to the negative. Video Poker is interesting because it is impossible to play better than Optimally, so as a result, the person you are working for can only get EXACTLY the Expected Value of what you are doing or worse. In other words, you cannot add value by the way of how you are playing, you can only diminish the value.
There is more than that when it comes to trustworthiness, though. For one thing, you should always report your results on something as they have actually happened if the person for whom you are working is not with you. If you are working on a percentage basis and $200 in Free Play yields $195, then if you are to receive 40% (let’s say) you might tell the person that the result was actually $200 and give them $120 as opposed to $117, but you should never grossly overstate or understate your results. Personally, I tend to round up to the nearest $5 or $10 IN FAVOR of whomever I may be working for just because it makes the math easier when it comes to cutting the money after the Free Play has been picked up.
Another important aspect of honesty is the fact that an Advantage Player knows that there will be swings up and down regardless of how low the Variance is on whatever you are playing through Free Play on, in most cases. In other words, there is virtually no way that you are going to pick up $200 in Free Play on fifteen occasions and have the result be $200 each time...even rounding up to the nearest $10. Fortunately for me, my recent work has been on a percentage basis and I have had the good fortune to hit a couple of $200 Royals within the last few weeks on Pick Ups!
However, that goes the other way, too. If you deliberately overstate your earnings to reflect at least 100% cash return on the Free Play every single time, then you are ultimately costing yourself money. The Advantage Player MAY appreciate the fact that you are overpaying him, but it also might result in him not trusting you because, if you do hit something or run really good, would you then feel justified in underreporting those earnings because you have already overreported so many things?
Again, falling outside of the Third Standard Deviation is simply something that happens sometimes, so do not be afraid to report that. Even if it happens the first time you work for a person, that person would be pretty foolish to write you off as a result of one bad run. Any Advantage Player worth knowing has already played whatever amount of hands you played on this particular occasion any number of times over and knows that you may not run as expected.
I do reiterate that if you want to overestimate by a few dollars here or there, provided it is to the benefit of the person for whom you are working, then that is probably fine, but you never want to grossly overreport or underreport your results. You might be thinking to yourself, ‘But, how would they know? Could they even find that out?’ I will say this: If questions such as those are going through your head, then you are already thinking the wrong way and should think twice before you embark on working for anybody.
Another thing that you want to be is punctual and dependable. When it comes to travelling long-distances, Advantage Players will generally be more lenient if you hit traffic (assuming that happened) or something along those lines than a traditional employer would. Hell, you could even oversleep and as long as that does not cost the Advantage Player you are working for any time or money, then there is a good chance the person will not care. However, in the event that you are scheduled to meet somebody somewhere, it is absolutely critical that you try to get there a few minutes in advance unless some situation comes up that you had absolutely zero control over.
The bottom line is that you have to treat working for an Advantage Player in the same manner that you would treat working any other job, even if the process is generally more informal by design. You cannot just look at what you are doing that minute and say, ‘Well, it won’t matter if I run a bit late,’ or something along those lines, because you should always act in a manner that reflects you having an eye towards potential future work with that person. In fact, if you can do this enough, then you might even rise up to the level (financially) that you are working WITH the person as opposed to FOR the person.
The other thing that you want to do is always be reasonable when it comes to making offers that will get the person your services and deciding whether or not you want to accept or modify an offer a person makes you. If you attempt to go for too much, then the person might work with you on one particular occasion (especially if they do not have anyone else readily available or need someone, ‘Fresh,’) but you should not expect any additional work from them in the future if you have not been reasonable with what you are willing to offer or accept.
For my part, I prefer to let the person that I might be working for make the initial offer and then I either accept it or attempt to modify it. When it comes to negotiations, everyone knows that if someone offers you something initially, then that means you can theoretically haggle a little bit more out of them, but I do not recommend doing things that way at all. I personally have nothing against haggling as a general concept, but I like to operate with an eye towards perhaps being able to work with a person later on with some different things, so I am more interested in the potential for more Dollars later than I am in potentially extracting a few extra Pennies now.
The result of that is that I am going to accept any offer that I believe to be reasonable without trying to get more out of the person. That does not mean that I will accept any offer at all as there are certainly some theoretical offers that I would consider patently unreasonable, and in some cases, flat out insulting. That is an important thing that all Advantage Players that have people work for them both understand and do, they take a look at the person doing something for them, what the person is doing, and then they make an offer that the vast majority of people out there would consider reasonable...if not a little better.
It is very important for both parties to be able and willing to make and/or accept reasonable offers for work the first time, every time, because that results, almost by necessity, in the two people having a good working relationship with one another that can lead to potentially mutually beneficial arrangements in the future.
Therefore, my advice for people doing the hiring is to always explain what is going to happen, under what conditions, and make sure the person working for you fully understands the situation when both parties agree. My advice for people doing the work is simply to treat it like a job. It may end up being a bit more informal than a punch clock job, especially if you and the person you are doing work for seem to hit it off and can have a good time together, but when it comes to the dollars and cents aspect of things, take the whole thing as seriously as you would any other job.