04 April 2012

The Advantaged Player

by Frank Turk

Pack a lunch.

On 21 Feb 2012 I received an e-mail from David Drury, and David was soliciting my feedback about a documentary he is featured in called Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians. I love documentaries -- even really bad ones.  I like to see how the documentarians use their skill in telling stories to tell the story at hand and to see the sorts of things which really happen in our world.  So I said, "Sure - send it and I'll see what I have to say about it."  I have since viewed the video, and I have been procrastinating about blogging it for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that this topic is burdensome and, frankly, surrounded by people who are not theologically-serious when they talk about it.  It leads to high-maintenance comment streams, to say the least.

Now, if you want the book report on this movie, you can go right here. And the trailer for the documentary is conveniently on youtube:



And for those who roll like that, you can find the history of the discussion of gambling at PyroManiacs right here.  Needless to say, I think Phil nailed it.  That doesn't mean we're against playing games that involve dice (like Yatzee or Risk) or even card games (like Spades or even Poker): as Phil covers well in the linked series above, I'd oppose "gambling," which is "to wager on a contest or to play at a game of chance for stakes. When you gamble, you are risking money (or something else of value) on the outcome of something that involves an element of chance, uncertainty, or hazard—for the possibility of winning something someone else has put at stake."  At the core of the matter is greed, pure and simple.

Now, there's an interesting issue which I think is central to this documentary which is treated in a rather breezy way by both the subjects of the movie and the director: the question of what they are actually doing here.  We can see the issue even in the trailer at about 37 seconds when the young fellow in the yellow t-shirt says this:
It doesn't seem like (laughs) one of the most noble things a person could do in the world, but at least we can liberate the money from the clutches of those who would use it for ill purposes (laughs). I mean: that's a start.
See: the assumption here is that Casinos are, inherently, doing something that is at least of dubious ethical value.  But if the casinos are doing something wrong, what exactly are they doing wrong?  In the view we have espoused here at the blog, it's simple: Casinos sponsor games that inherently structured to put the maximum number of players at a disadvantage, and to turn that disadvantage into a profit.

That's very polite statistical language, but at the end of the day, Casinos cheat people out of their money, and the reason their endeavor is illegit (in spite of being legal in some places) is because they intend to cheat people out of their money.

And the people in this video know this -- on both sides of the table.  The reason the people on this team get turned out of casinos is because they are called (as in the trailer) "advantaged" players, and casinos aren't having people who are not at a disadvantage playing.  The long-run consequences of playing systems other than card counting are that the Dealer will bust less often than the paying players, and the Dealer (therefore the House) will clean up.

From a day-to-day standpoint, there's no question that what Casinos do is morally unconscionable.

To that end, as in the quote from the trailer, the team documented in this movie see themselves as legitimate people undoing what the Casinos have done -- taking ill-gotten gains with a system that is not technically illegal, but is forbidden in every casino which sponsors the game.

But is that the case?  In fact, the movie has a lot of problems with unanswered questions.  It's a little dead-pan when it comes to the people and events it's trying to tell us about, and it doesn't seem interested in thinking more or less about the moral, spiritual or ethical issues involved here than the players themselves do.

Two examples come to mind -- the first involving the question of how the team winds up losing thousands of dollars at some point past the midpoint of the team's lifespan.  It turns out that the team grew pretty significantly over time, and they reached a place where, frankly, several of the players were not trained to count cards properly.  This causes the team managers (who were also the team founders) to sort of re-test the whole team and find out if there's anyone doing it wrong.  There are a few -- including one fellow who is a pastor who, frankly, didn't think he was going to have any trouble passing the test, and he failed pretty badly.

Think about this: they were handing out thousands in cash to people they really didn't know were trained well enough to handle that cash responsibly.  The management explanation tendered by the film and the team managers is that the team grew too quickly, and therefore the training process simply didn't scale up quickly enough to cover all the people coming in.

But the problem doesn't stop there.  It also seems to the managers of the team that someone might be stealing from the team at one point, and they seem a little puzzled by the problem.  Then -- and I admit I saw this coming like Cujo toward the Pinto -- one of the team members who bears a striking resemblance to Judd Nelson in "the Breakfast Club" has a moment of Christian clairvoyance and "the Spirit" tells him it's one of the unbelievers on the team who was stealing.  That unbeliever, of course, gets let go.

So at the end of the day,  if this was all there was to the matter of whether or not people were trained and trust-worthy, it makes the whole enterprise look very naive; if there was more to it -- and I suspect there was, given that this was an enterprise with investors who have a concern about getting their money back -- it looks dishonest to play it off as a little thing.

The second example is the question of what passes for Christian, and therefore Christian discipleship, in this circle of people.  At some point, it is mentioned that the team is a kind of Christian fellowship -- it's in the title after all.  There's a lot of eating and beer-drinking demonstrated, and maybe one or two incidents of people praying, but no incident of actual Christian fellowship or togetherness.  Scripture does not rear its head except in the sequence where one member of the team (surprise) realizes that there's something essentially wrong with baptizing people one morning and then that night flying to Vegas or someplace Casino-rich to take the Casino for $10,000.  The kind of "Christianity" we get exposed to here is so soft-soaped as to be virtually indistinguishable from a service fraternity -- except that the local service frat probably doesn't serve beer and allow smoking while they meet.

When I ran the nearly-final draft of this review past the Dirctor of this movie, his response to this point was like this:
I still don't know what your definition of Christian fellowship is because I consider times where Christians get together to eat, drink beer, pray and talk fellowship. They were in a close knit community, hanging out together and building each other up in their faith. Maybe their conversations didn't go as deep as you would have liked in the film, but I couldn't put everything they said in, and I do feel that some fellowship is portrayed. There was much deeper stuff off-camera and you have to somewhat assume that if Christians are getting together to eat, drink, or do anything that fellowship will also occur at times.

I wonder what distinguishes, in his mind, the difference(s) between human friendship and Christian fellowship.  I think the meetings represented in the movie, as they were represented by the movie, demonstrate the kind of friendship any 30 people could muster -- be they agnostics, republicans, an HOA, or any mixed-bag of people who like to drink and eat.  They reminded me of gatherings I used to get involved with when I was a college kid and there was a screening of an art film or an open mike at a local hipster bar.  That is: they could have been about anything at all.

My specific point is that I think this movie diminishes what it means to be a Christian in a very meaningful way.  One of the subjects someplace says that they intentionally live in the gray areas to "make people think" or to "challenge" what people think they are doing. Astonishingly, again, that's not at all how the Bible describes the Christian life.  Jesus himself says that you-all (you disciples, you Christians) are to be a city on a hill, or the salt of the Earth -- and what good is salt that has lost its saltiness?

In my mind, and I think as the Bible represents it (a point of view broadly exempted from reflection in the film), "fellowship" turns out to be something like this:
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. " (Acts 2:42-47a)
That's not the only place we find this sort of description -- 1 Cor 11-14 gives us some insights into Paul's outlook on what makes Christian fellowship (and to be fair: worship) different than just having people over.  The book of Hebrews gives us at least two clear admonitions about how Christian fellowship is different than having friends over for food and drinks.  Anyone with two eyes can see that indicts a lot of what passes for traditional church, but it certainly indicts this shabby post-house-church view demonstrated in the movie.  That none of these people seem to grasp this makes me wonder how they form up the category of "Christian" in such a way that it doesn't just mean "nice person".

And with that said, how likely is it that if the team couldn't tell that a significant number of players couldn't count cards that they could actually tell that anyone on the team had any spiritual or moral problems -- apart, of course, from faux Judd Nelson getting a word from God?

The video doesn't help us at all with these issues.  It doesn't ask any leading questions about these issues, and it doesn't allow that someone from the outside might see something about these people which the people themselves don't already see.  It treats all of the players here as morally neutral -- except, of course, for the slight air of malevolence the film creates around casinos.

If there's a message in the video at all, it's that Casinos are Bad.  Which: fair enough.  But the reason Casinos are bad is not at all explored by this film.  If what has happened is that these casinos have unfairly taken money from "disadvantaged" players, isn't the just action to return the money to the players who lost it in the first place?  Yet the team seems to operate from the logic that if you take the money lost by disadvantaged people and give it "to the Lord" (which in this case means "to me, the minister of the Lord, and my [anonymous] investors"), you have come back to something which is on-net justified.  The ends justify the means, apparently -- especially since God knows the order of the cards in the shoe.  It's a funny time to appeal to the sovereignty of God.

But answering that question, frankly, undermines the business plan of Ben and Colin -- the managers of the team (which has disbanded) who are (surprise) now professionally training other people to count cards for fun and profit.  Just to tack it on the list, it's further troubling that their backing of this movie is essentially white-washed from the web site (they have one link to their "Blackjack Apprenticeship" web site on the front page).  Maybe it's seen as implicit in the conclusion of the movie, but it really is two different things to say, "hey: we have started a blackjack school," and "oh yeah: the subjects of this movie also have a stake in the success of this movie."  When I asked the question regarding whether or not they had input into the final cut, the answer from the director was, "no."  However, that this movie essentially promotes their business and is less-than-transparent about their financial stake in the effort seems, again, naive at best or deceptive at worst.

So I found this movie pretty one-dimensional, and not at all challenging my notion of what Christians are or ought to be.  It actually enforced my view that people looking for a new kind of Christianity are not really looking for Jesus at all.


And the comments, for better or worse, are open.  Play nice.








89 comments:

Tom Chantry said...

Casinos sponsor games that inherently structured to put the maximum number of players at a disadvantage, and to turn that disadvantage into a profit.

That's very polite statistical language, but at the end of the day, Casinos cheat people out of their money, and the reason their endeavor is illegit (in spite of being legal in some places) is because they intend to cheat people out of their money.


OK, maybe I'm naive, but if that's a good description of what casinos do, is it not an equally good description of counting cards? The logic of this seems to suggest that it's OK to cheat cheaters. Does that make it OK to murder murderers? I'm talking vigilantism here, not criminal justice. Because at the end of the day, this sounds to me like a form of fiscal vigilantism: they cheat other people, so it's OK for me to cheat them.

But then, retributive casuistry may prove to be a popular moral system. If it's OK for these guys to cheat cheaters, and for vigilantes to murder murderers, then perhaps Steven Furtick will at last discover a justification for hating haters.

Frank Turk said...

One comment and the whole movie is debunked?

No wonder people hate this blog.

Robert Warren said...

I am such a gambling moron; when I first saw the title of the film a couple of weeks ago in a tweet, I thought it was about charismatics who relied on counting altar-call response cards. Honest.

LanternBright said...

Your mistake, Frank, was probably that you didn't close the way Chantry did in his comment with a (classic!) dig at someone like Furtick. Then there'd be a FIRESTORM of (*snicker!*) worthy comments.

Besides, at least these guys are/were out there actually DOING something...

...wait for it!...

...y'know, like ministry.

Jamie said...

LaternBright-
Your closing begs the question though – what does ministry, that is to say biblical ministry, actually look like. I think one is hard pressed to demonstrate that biblical ministry is what this is about.

Jamie said...

Tom,
I understand what you are getting at, but I do not think this is the case of cheating the cheater since the counters are only using the information available to anyone paying attention, i.e. the number of face cards removed from (or left in) the shoe, to remove most of the advantage held by the dealer (house). I really think it is a little more sinister than that; more like the gang gathering around the loot after the robbery of unsuspecting dupes.

But again your point is taken; it is never right to do wrong.

(while two wrongs don’t make a right, three lefts do)

M. Scott Foster said...

Frank,

Thanks for this review.

I never imagined when I was on the Church Team and reading this very blog every week that some day you would review a movie about what I was doing. It is just strange.

I have all sorts of regrets connected to being part of the team but cheating cheaters isn't one of them. It isn't because two wrongs make a right. They don't. Its because card-counting isn't in any way, shape, or form cheating. An advantage players is only taking advantage of information that is free to everyone at the table were they discipline enough to use it. This isn't an opinion. It is a stone cold fact.

The most interesting question being a blackjack player caused me to think about was what is the nature of good work? Sadly, there is very little out there by Protestants. I had to read a lot of Catholics to develop a theology of work (which was my main catalyst for leaving the team). Mainly Dorothy Sayers. I'd love to read a blog post on that.

Sincere thanks,

dac said...

Good review. MSF is correct, TC did libel them by calling them a cheat, however Frank did not, and Frank's post is a coherent, accurate and can I say, surprisingly nuanced review. Not only is it a fine commentary on the movie, it is very cogent to any discussion of christian fellowship, small groups and church life.

LanternBright said...

Scott--If you'll pardon the analogy, there's a reason the NES Konami Code (up-up, down-down, left-right, left-right, b-a for the n00bs among us) is called a 'cheat'. Sure, everyone who's ever played Nintendo knows about it, but it's still CHEATING in that you're using something to give yourself an advantage that exceeds that provided by the actual terms of the game itself. Please don't split hairs.

Frank Turk said...

Scott --

[1] Challenge Accepted.

[2] I disagree with your analysis. :-)

Tom Chantry said...

Libel?

DAC, you never cease to amuse and amaze - all at once.

M. Scott Foster said...

LaternBright,

Making distinctions isn't splitting hairs. If it is, then I guess modalism vs. trintarianism is just splitting hairs, right? But, if you are a biblical Christian, you know that modalism is a lie straight from the fiery pits of hell. God being three persons is significantly different than God being three manifestations. Distinctions do matter.

I'm not some pomo trying to play word games. Card-counting isn't cheating by any definition of the word. Card-counting is simply a strategy using the information on the table. How many small vs. large cards have been played and how many cards are left in the shoe. It isn't magic. It is just making informed decisions. If using a strategy is cheating, then so is using basic strategy. For example, you shouldn't hit on a pair of tens. Why? Because the odds are you are going to bust due to the make up of the cards in the deck/shoe (hint: only aces won't cause you to bust). Now, using your knowledge of the make up of the cards of the deck is cheating? Standing on a pair of tens is cheating? That is the logic you are backing into.

Like I said, I thought it was a very thoughtful review and I think Frank's criticism have merit.

Tom Chantry said...

Scott,

Honest question here - is it not true that casinos (who make the rules for the games they play) forbid card counting? In fact, do they not kick customers out if they catch them? I've heard this, but I guess I honestly don't know.

To draw an analogy, kicking a golf ball back into the fairway when no on is looking is not illegal in the sense that you can't be prosecuted for it. You can't actually find chapter and verse in the Bible to address it. But it's cheating, because golf has rules, and you just can't do that.

In fact, if you were playing a fun round of golf with some friends and had already pretty well blown the round, you might comically and obviously kick your ball into the fairway - and no one would care. On the other hand, if you were to do so secretly in a tight match, waiting until your opponent was not watching and then kicking the ball, I would argue that you have sinned. You have represented yourself as playing according to the rules, when in fact you have not.

And frankly, I think that's a pretty good definition of cheating. It is to represent yourself as playing according to established rules when in fact you are not.

Now I may be wrong; you certainly know more about casino blackjack than do I, but it does seem to me that on this definition, card counting is probably cheating. The casinos set the rules, they say no counting, they kick you out if you're caught counting, and I'm betting you don't walk in and say, "Yep, I'm going to count cards." No, instead a card-counter represents himself as playing according to established rules when he knows he intends to do something that would get him kicked out of the casino were he caught.

You're the expert, so tell me what I'm missing.

Tommy said...

Well, my thoughts on counting cards, is that it doesn't matter if it's cheating or not. Making distinctions cannot be an endgame to itself, it has to have a reason. Understanding the Trinity correctly has a specific doctrinal reason. Justifying counting cards still finds you in a casino, still respresenting and supporting the existence of these institutions(whether you see yourself as defending it or not). The grand point of it all is, if you are going to every extent to make yourself like Christ, to truly be sanctified from this world, you wouldn't be finding yourself in that position.

Maybe I'm off though. Wouldn't be the first time.

M. Scott Foster said...

> Honest question here - is it not true that casinos (who make the rules for the games they play) forbid card counting? In fact, do they not kick customers out if they catch them? I've heard this, but I guess I honestly don't know

No it isn't against house rules. However, casinos can ask anyone to leave. Some casinos, not all, will ask you to leave or play another game if they think they can't make money off you. Some don't care. For example, a pit boss at Little River Casino in MI asked me if I was a professional. I said, "Yep." She said, "Cool." Nothing happen.

> It is to represent yourself as playing according to established rules when in fact you are not.

They analogy fails since card-counting isn't illegal nor against house rules. Card-counting works within the established rules of the game. Like I said, no word games. It isn't cheating.

R said...

I second Tom's post. I was going to ask that question. Cheating is defines by who sets the rules for fair play. In this case it seems the casinos (as unfair and disadvantageous as their rules are for the players) still set the rules.

Sort of like, "if you don't like what's on TV, turn the channel." They set the programming, you choose to operate in it - accordingly.

Another small quibble - if it's on the up and up, why all the deception and disguises? Seems to me that the team KNEW they were target and it wasn't allowed so they used "creative" means to get around that - that being the breaking of the stated/known rules.

Would like to hear your thoughts M Scott.

For the record, I REALLY appreciate your interaction here. You could have come in sideways and offended, but you seem to be looking for honest interaction. Much appreciated, bro.

Maybe after this we can take up
Options, Futures and Derivatives in all of our Mutual Funds - that we don't question. :o)

M. Scott Foster said...

"Another small quibble - if it's on the up and up, why all the deception and disguises? Seems to me that the team KNEW they were target and it wasn't allowed so they used "creative" means to get around that - that being the breaking of the stated/known rules"

I think we were wrong to use the disguises. It was deceptive and immoral. I know many of the players regretted doing so. It should be said that using disguises wasn't a normal practice by the majority of the team.

CSharpAJ said...

Tom Chantry, I used to work in the corporate office of a casino company as a Web Development Analyst and I believe you are correct regarding card counting. I honestly don't know much about the casino industry (even though I worked for one for 2 years), but I do know about that. I know about the black lists and how people can put themselves on that list if they feel they have an addiction and anyone who gets help for an addiction is put on that list by law in many states.

Tom Chantry said...

Scott,

That does in fact change the scenario.

I would still agree with Frank's post, and I would also agree with why you said you got out of the game. I also agree with Phil Johnson's earlier posts on gambling.

All that said, if counting cards isn't against the established rules of the game, then it isn't cheating by my definition. I appreciate the clarification.

Frank Turk said...

I knew today was going to be a fascinating discussion.

M. Scott Foster said...

Thanks, Tom.

My pastor, Tim Bayly, put up a very helpful blogpost on gambling this morning.

http://www.baylyblog.com/2012/04/lotteries-and-gambling.html#more

Didn't the Baylyblog use to be link to on Team Pryo? Huh.

Frank Turk said...

Scott:

Do casinos cheat people out of their money?

LanternBright said...

Ditto Chantry. Thanks for clearing that up, Scott.

R said...

M Scott Foster, the REAL question now is - do you use the new NIV?

Appreciate your reply re: disguises.

M. Scott Foster said...

They entice people into making unwise and sinful decisions. They do this by offering free drinks, hiding clocks, making non-fire exits difficult to find, and comping you things to keep you in the building.

Obviously, that is wrong but I'm not sure that it is cheating. The rules and odds of the games are stated somewhere in the building and a discipline person would know that all games are a losing venture. But the casino never explicitly lies. They just manipulate.

M. Scott Foster said...

R,

The NIV 2011 is a despicable translation that edits out the Word of God. It boggles my mind that a godly man like Pastor MacArthur has connected himself to it. But that is an old issue, right. So, no. I use the New American Standard.

R said...

Appreciate the discussion, Frank. For the benefit of further discussion, can you define "cheat" here?

By my casual googliszing, I can't (easily) define what casinos do a cheating. Taking advantage of the person who does not understand the improbably odds is not technically cheating - as I understand it.

In fact, one "could" say that they are wise (seeing a opportunity to gain an advantage on the poorly informed)?

Not moral, not right either, just not sure it's "cheating."

R said...

Okay, Scott. You can stay - if you can tolerate this BigMac Study Bible loving crew. :o)

My mind was getting ready to explode - thinking the Baylys' were going to justify gambling.

Shew!!!

Frank Turk said...

Scott -- so you would disagree with the statement that the manipulation of people cheats them out of their money?

Notice that what I am asking here is not, "do they violate rules or regulations?" What I am asking here is, "do they defraud or swindle?"

Am I right to say that you think their manipulation is not an attempt to "defraud or swindle"?

M. Scott Foster said...

I last played blackjack in 12/08. I moved to Bloomington to be part of Tim Bayly's church in 4/09. So, no, Tim was very much against my former occupation. My footage in the movie is almost all from late '07 and early '08.

Frank Turk said...

"R" -

The common dictionary lists at least 7 meanings of the verb "to cheat," and sadly omits the proper noun, "Sidekick and friend to StrongBad."

Lucky for all of us my question has nothing to do with StrongBad. It has to do with at least two of the definitions found in the dictionary.

M. Scott Foster said...

Frank,

Yes. Websters 1828 says to defraud is:

"To deprive of right, either by obtaining something by deception or artifice, or by taking something wrongfully without the knowledge or consent of the owner; to cheat; to cozen; followed by of before the thing taken; as, to defraud; a man of his right."

So, I don't think they are defrauding through a deception but rather through a sly artifice.

R said...

Frank,

Yeah, I saw that. Where I was tripped up is on the definition of fraud and swindle. More Webstering revealed this - "intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value."

I guess my hangup is this, is not revealing the staggering statistical odds of winning (by chance) "intentional perversion of truth."

As an admitted non-gambler, I don't know the inner workings of how casinos operate. But from the little I do know, I haven't seen the "perversion" part. Just more of an intentional ignorance.

Taking Tom C's cue - what am I missing?

Eric said...

I think casinos decieve at least in part by how they present themselves and their customers. They present themselves as mainly providing entertainment, and they present their customers as unequivocally happy, satisfied, and quite often rewarded. That alone qualifies as deception in my book. After all, if it is not an honest depiction (which it clearly is not), then it must be a dishonest deptiction. And why have a dishonest depiction unless you intend to decieve.

Unknown said...

I didn't know much about card counting in Black Jack until I heard about this guy who convinced the casinos to change their usual rules and allow a certain player to discount his losses. This changed the odds dramatically in his favor and he won millions of dollars. Black jack, when played perfectly, is just a matter of statistics. The casinos (almost always except in this case) have the odds with them.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/04/the-man-who-broke-atlantic-city/8900/

Frank Turk said...

Wow. That's a pretty narrow eye of the needle you're threading. When you're making a distinction between "artifice" and "deception," I have to worry about how transparently we're having this discussion.
__________

ar·ti·fice   [ahr-tuh-fis] Show IPA
noun
1.
a clever trick or stratagem; a cunning, crafty device or expedient; wile.
2.
trickery; guile; craftiness.
3.
cunning; ingenuity; inventiveness: a drawing-room comedy crafted with artifice and elegance.
4.
a skillful or artful contrivance or expedient.
__________

de·cep·tion   [dih-sep-shuhn] Show IPA
noun
1.
the act of deceiving; the state of being deceived.
2.
something that deceives or is intended to deceive; fraud; artifice.
__________

If the dictionary says that "artifice" and "deception" are synonyms, I think you have quibbled yourself out of a position. :-)

However, let's work with it.

Since casinos are taking people's money thru a "sly artifice," what is it to fail to disclose at the table what method or strategy you are using when you know that this strategy will likely get you removed from the table? What term describes that?

Old Paths Pilgrim said...

There is no doubt that the gambling industry's goal is to have a transfer of money from their patrons' pockets to their pockets in very deceptive and unfair ways.

Their marketing is deceptive to lure greedy and/or ignorant people into losing money.

What we need to do is not zero in on casinos as the only perpetrators of this type of dishonesty.

Marketing in general in our culture is meant to lure people into spending their money, enticing them into thinking that they really need something that they don't. The spiel is meant to entice and often is deceiving.

What about the store that has the 'Biggest Sale of the Season' once a month? And they raise their prices when they offer coupon discounts.

All of that is deceitful too.

How many Christians work in marketing firms that put together such advertising projects and think nothing of it?

Jer. 17:9 is at work in all of us in all areas of our lives.

"Cheating" goes much further than the obvious issues like gambling.

I don't mean to derail the topic, it is just that I believe that there is a much broader application to ponder.

Bev

dac said...

talk about digression

Casino's do what every other business does - they convince someone to give them their money. Strippers, Casinos, Ford Motor Company, windmill makers - they are all in the business of convincing someone to take money out of their pocket and give it to the business.

David Regier said...

Frank -

Now that's what I'm talkin' about! That was amazing! I mean you—... I—... I can't b—... Chi-g-d-b ... He—g ... I'm buyin' you a pizza!

Scooter said...

Lunch packed. Day off work? Not so much.

The logic of this seems to suggest that it's OK to cheat cheaters.
I love Tom C's first comment. Frankly, I love Frank's two posts today.

We love Robin Hood. I love Robin Hood too. It's a great story. The trouble is that Scripture paints a different picture.

"For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one."

What exposes our hearts the most though is that gambling is completely optional. We let ourselves be plundered.

My (barely) 2 pence.

dac said...

Tom

Libel - A published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a written defamation.

You wrote that they are cheats. In my world, to be called a cheat is very damaging to ones reputation. Card Counting is not, by any law of any state or local unit of gov't in this county, cheating. A Casino may deny card counters access to their building, but it is because card counters change the odds of a game ins such a way the casino's lose. Casino's are in the business of convincing people to take money out of their pocket and give it to them - if you fail to do that, you are not welcome

So lets be clear. You called them a cheat, they are not. Since you wrote it, it is libel. If you had said it, it would be slander. Clear enough? Failure to actually know what your talking about does not change the fact you libeled them.

Eric said...

Yes dac, because buying a car is exactly the same as throwing money away in the hopes of a big payday of other peoples' money. If you can't see a difference then I think you are being purposely blind and difficult.

M. Scott Foster said...

Frank,

I thought the deception vs. artifice was a helpful distinction but looking closer at the definition it isn't. My point is that people know that casinos have the advantage and the don't care. If they ever start to care, they casino quickly soothes them with a free drink, entertainment, or something other sly artifice. Is that fair?

Do believe that their is a moral obligation for a chess player or football team announce the strategy the are going to use to defeat their opponent?

Consider the NFL for a moment: There a huge difference between using a trick play (which really just means an unexpected play that is fully legal) and, say, getting video of the team passing their routes to gain an unfair advantage, right? The trick play (card-counting) is fine and a team isn't obligated to say, "We are going to lateral to our TE and then through it to the WR! " It is within the rules. No announcements required.

Eric said...

"Card Counting is not, by any law of any state or local unit of gov't in this county, cheating."

So now the gov't is the sole arbiter of ethics and morality? There is no higher authority? Hmmm. I wonder if I am still allowed to call abortion murder...or have I justed libelled a whole bunch of well meaning Planned Parenthood employees. I'll wait for dac to weigh in and either convict or ease my conscience.

Frank Turk said...

dac --

That you can't distinguish between paying for a car and paying for sex disqualifies you from being part of this conversation. Move on.

M. Scott Foster said...

Yikes. Forgive my multiple typos in the last comment. Hopefully, you can figure out what I was trying to say!

Tom Chantry said...

DAC,

I'll take two minutes here to pretend that your opinion matters, which it doesn't since you pretty much clown yourself every time you post here.

My comment, to which you object, was as follows:

OK, maybe I'm naive, but if that's a good description of what casinos do, is it not an equally good description of counting cards? The logic of this seems to suggest that it's OK to cheat cheaters. Does that make it OK to murder murderers? I'm talking vigilantism here, not criminal justice. Because at the end of the day, this sounds to me like a form of fiscal vigilantism: they cheat other people, so it's OK for me to cheat them.

Let's assume for a moment that you don't comprehend the point of question marks or of phrases such as "if that's a good description," "seems to suggest," and "sounds to me." The point is, DAC,that I expressed an impression and asked for clarification from the very first comment I posted.

My perception of the stated rules seems to have been wrong - I admitted that possibility from the start. And you call this libel? What I said was a tort?

For a guy who is ever concerned that the wicked of this world not be unfairly mis-characterized, you have an amazing capacity to jump to the strongest and most absolute language imaginable in your criticism of us.

It's laughable, DAC. You're a clown. Stop arguing as though you were fourteen years old. You've been doing it for years now, and it's not cute.

Frank Turk said...

Scott --

If I didn't know better, I'd say you're not convinced that you did anything wrong by counting cards to take the Casino's money. It sounds like you're trying to water down the matter of the dualing flim flam men at work at any given table.

So now you're saying that the Casino is wrong not for sponsoring games with odds which statistically cause the players to lose more often than win, but for giving other enticements to play?

If they stopped serving free drinks, would they have clean hands?

Nash Equilibrium said...

This is one interesting blogpost, from so many perspectives. It illustrates to me how the reason we do something is sometimes more important than what we are doing (I said, "sometimes"). Examples: Beer drinking? Yes, Christians can drink beer but it comes down to whether it is done in moderation or to excess, for example. Gambling? I suppose there's nothing terribly wrong with doing it occasionally as long as you understand you're going to lose and it's done strictly for entertainment or competitive purposes (e.g., friends waging very small amounts in a friendly card game). Obviously in the film these folks weren't just doing this for entertainment.

I also think most people don't understand the huge difference between true investment activity and zero-sum games like gambling: how the latter simply transfer wealth from one person to another, while smart investment activity can result in an actual increase in wealth for all. Part of peoples' confusion stems from not understanding this key difference, I suspect.

M. Scott Foster said...

Frank,

> It sounds like you're trying to water down the matter of the dualing flim flam men at work at any given table.

How does card-counting con the casinos?

>If they stopped serving free drinks, would they have clean hands?

No. They would not have clean hands. Why? Because they bring nothing redemptive into the world. I suppose someone could argue they provide entertainment but so do strip clubs. They take advantage of people that are bad at math, possessed by greed, and are looking for thrills.

Again, do believe that their is a moral obligation for a chess player or football team announce the strategy the are going to use to defeat their opponent?

Tommy said...

I'm still confused. People are arguing over the whats and hows. No ones answering the why. Why is it(any affiliation with a casino) acceptable? I have no objections to a group of well-balanced and close friends tossing change on the table and playing poker, because the why is for camaraderie(spelling?) and friendship. Why is the only question worth asking at this point.

The same with DAC's flamebaiting comment. Why would you buy a car? Why would pay for sex? Why windmills?

Also, "Why windmills?" will be the best question I ask all day.

It's the intent of the heart, which our great Christ spent time emphasizing for us.

Frank Turk said...

Scott said:

No. They would not have clean hands. Why? Because they bring nothing redemptive into the world. I suppose someone could argue they provide entertainment but so do strip clubs. They take advantage of people that are bad at math, possessed by greed, and are looking for thrills.

So why say "take advantage of people" and not "cheat them"?

Frank Turk said...

Scott asked:

Again, do believe that their is a moral obligation for a chess player or football team announce the strategy the are going to use to defeat their opponent?

One-word answer? No.

Your question, however, confuses "strategy in games also requiring skill" and "strategy in games of chance."

When you sit at the table in a casino, they effectively say to you: "The odds are against you under our rules; you are probably going to lose."

The common gambler replies, "Betcha not."

The card counter fails to reply, "I'm using different rules." That is: he has tacitly and secretly changed the rules on the house.

Cathy M. said...

First, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not one of your smartest readers/ commenters, (I don't even know what "retributive casuistry" means) but, it seems to me that this group of casino "crusaders" have abandoned their original orders and gone on a rogue mission that they happen to find more enjoyable and profitable. Christ didn't commission us do battle with his enemies, but to preach the good news to them.

I like the point you made about what constitutes Christian fellowship. The "fellowship" net is cast over all sorts of activities and gatherings that don't meet a minimal standard of Christian fellowship... same for worship.

Barbara said...

M. Scott Foster -

Just a couple good resources on the theology of work:

Business Ethics Today: Foundations

and

Business Ethics Today: Stealing

davdrury said...

Frank:
You said, "One of the subjects someplace says that they intentionally live in the gray areas to "make people think" or to "challenge" what people think they are doing. Astonishingly, again, that's not at all how the Bible describes the Christian life. Jesus himself says that you-all (you disciples, you Christians) are to be a city on a hill, or the salt of the Earth -- and what good is salt that has lost its saltiness?"

Living in the grey has to do with itinerancy, journey, the mystery of the gospel, wrestling with truth, engaging, and living inside the tension of the already/not yet. It has NOTHING to do with being "unsalty" or a dimly lit city on a hill. As Christians we celebrate the Gospel paradox of mercy that invites us to love an otherwise "unlovable" neighbor. That is what lights our city on a hill.

M. Scott Foster said...

> Your question, however, confuses "strategy in games also requiring skill" and "strategy in games of chance."

Blackjack is only a game of "chance" when you play it recklessly.

> When you sit at the table in a casino, they effectively say to you: "The odds are against you under our rules; you are probably going to lose."

Not at all. Casino love to publicized that "beatableness" of blackjack. Max Rubin, curator of Barona’s Blackjack Hall of Fame, does it all the time at Barona Casino in San Diego. They know that most people lack the training, discipline, and funding to be profitable.

All casinos I've been to give out free basic strategy cards which, if followed, will greatly lower the player's degree of risk. Again, they know people won't follow it. They will start to feel lucky and do something foolish.

> The common gambler replies, "Betcha not."

Nah. They will more likely cite some pagan notion of luck. "Its a full moon." "I'm wearing my lucky underwear."

> The card counter fails to reply, "I'm using different rules." That is: he has tacitly and secretly changed the rules on the house.

That just isn't true. I use their rules.Which of their rules do I break? None.

Tom Chantry said...

The problem for the Christian professional gambler, then, and I think maybe Scott has recognized this, is that he is in a bit of a moral conundrum.

1. The casino is using deception/artifice to take advantage of the ignorance of its customer base. This is wrong, and frankly the whole premise of the exercise is to liberate this money from the sinister influence of the deceptive casino.

2. The artifice used is that people can win at blackjack. In fact, only the disciplined and informed player can win. Furthermore, many casinos forbid the disciplined and informed to continue playing.

3. The professional gambler is either side-stepping the rules of the casino or he is not.

4. If he is side-stepping the rules, than he is guilty of a similar deception/artifice as is the casino, pretending that the casino's odds are better than they actually are. He looks like an ordinary rube, but is actually a pro.

5. But if he is not side-stepping the rules, then he is guilty of the exact deception/artifice as the casino - in fact he is their accomplice.

Consider, by winning he is helping to perpetuate the myth that the average gambler can win if he is lucky enough. Further, his winnings are essentially his take from the scammed losers.

Jeremy said...

Having a debate about cheating cheaters as if it will guide us whatsoever in a moral way is ludicrous because it takes place in the realm of rhetorical word-acrobatics without considering the words and spirit of Jesus' actions on Earth as a guide. What did Jesus do and say when it came to systems that exploited the poor? What did he say to the tax collector who was unfairly taking money from the poor?

He sure as hell broke some rules in the temple when he overturned the money changers tables. Was that considered cheating? No, because it wasn't a game. And neither is organized gambling. It's a system of transferring money from the poor to the wealthy.

Eric said...

Jeremy,

Am I correct in understanding that you are intending to defend the idea of cheating or otherwise recouping money from the gambling institutions?

Aaron Snell said...

First, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not one of your smartest readers/ commenters, (I don't even know what "retributive casuistry" means) but, it seems to me that this group of casino "crusaders" have abandoned their original orders and gone on a rogue mission that they happen to find more enjoyable and profitable. Christ didn't commission us do battle with his enemies, but to preach the good news to them.

I like the point you made about what constitutes Christian fellowship. The "fellowship" net is cast over all sorts of activities and gatherings that don't meet a minimal standard of Christian fellowship... same for worship.


On the contrary, Cathy, I think your comment has been the best one so far. I hope everyone reads it again.

Frank Turk said...

David:

Before I engage you at all here at the blog, let's make sure we make a couple-three things very clear.

1. You solicited me to write this review even after I told you I was unlikely to find favor with it.

2. After viewing it, I was reluctant to write the review. I told you specifically, "I received your video today, and watched it with my wife tonight. I'm wondering how you think I'll connect with the story in this video? I'm having pretty strong feelings about it, but probably not the same ones you will have. My fear is that if I publish a review of it based on my impressions you'll find it unloving." And then later: "I'm still sort of torn by my final analysis of the video because I think the documentarians sort of don't press any of the issues to closure, and the irony of the two team managers ending up as card-counting consultants isn't expressed as strangely as the outcome turns out to be."

3. I asked you cats for the liberty to upload some excerpts for the sake of talking more specifically about the video, and you-all never got back to me on that, so I had to rework my post to work around that constraint.

Will you confirm or deny any of that?

Barbara said...

Just rings of "There was no king in Israel and everyone did what was right in their own eyes" to me.

semijohn said...

Personally, I think the issue of gambling straight up and whether its ok to "cheat cheaters" is relative small potatoes. I think the bigger issue her is causing little ones to stumble. Teaching Christians to count cards exposes them to a terrific temptation. It wouldn't surprise me to see some gambling addictions coming out of this "education".
I'm not sure that in every possible circumstance that gambling is straight-up biblically wrong, despite what has been said here (by the way, I tried to reread the old gambling posts and it directed me back to this article; just letting you know if its not just me and you're not aware). But causing little ones to stumble makes me afraid to even host or play in a poker game even if no actual money changed hands.

Frank Turk said...

semijohn:

Click the link, and scroll down. you didn't scroll down past the first article for the index tag.

candy said...

Having grown up in Reno NV, and had parents who worked in casinos, I can speak on a personal level. We were frequently hungry, our bills ended up in collection agencies, my parents didn't come home sometimes, sidewalks outside casinos smelled like vomit, etc.

Our community could argue (when casinos were owned by local people instead of corporations) that the casino industry put money into the community, but the harm done by them is much more extensive and now the money many times does not stay in the community but goes to a mega corporation looking to start casinos in other states as well.

I think a good testimony for Christians is to work honestly, and not play with fire, so to speak. How does counting cards in any way glorify the God of the Universe. There is absolutely no redemptive value in an industry that overall strips people of dignity, an honest way to make a living, and exposes them to other temptations as well. How can any of these card counters honestly say they can be in that atmosphere and not be effected by that environment in a negative way?

Tobias said...

Thank you Tommy, Cathy, & semijohn for bringing this discussion back to scripture. We can argue over semantics for days, but eventually we must comes back around to what does the bible have to teach about the activity in question. Some relevant verses that come to mind: 1Cor 10:12-13 and 21-24 and 8:9-13. If one's conscience allows the activity: well enough. But if my participating in the activity may cause a weaker brother or sister to fall: woe, woe. I will never again eat meat (or play cards for money).

Jeremy said...

Tobias I also brought the topic back to scripture, or more importantly to the values of Christ as espoused through his life. But it ran contrary to what you wanted to hear so you ignored it.

Eric, you are almost correct. I do not need to defend the idea, because I personally am not engaging in it. I merely see that these Christians feel a call to it, and based on the fact that it supports the values of Christ, while possibly contradicting some other scriptures, I find it ambiguous. Anything I find ambiguous is beyond my own comprehension to judge as only God can.

Tommy said...

Jeremy,

I think Tobias didn’t include you because you’re still missing it, NOT because you disagree. Maybe show a little more grace while you’re talking, also. Makes people listen better.

Again, what is the intent of the heart as you’re busy taking money from the Man? Are you focused on Christ during this? Are you emulating Him? If you are running this race as hard as possible, you’ll lay aside ALL burdens and weights. Especially when the point is literally just to generate more money.

Also, thank you for giving us an analogy of what the casinos should do(even though you meant it to apply to us). What did Christ tell the tax collector? When I see the casinos giving the money back, then it will be a fantastic day. Jesus did NOT tell all those that were swindled to take the money back from the collector against his wishes. You’ve made our point well.

Tommy said...

Also, be wary of anytime you put your Bible down and say, “Well I don’t see it here, must not be a black and white issue.” Trust in 2 Timothy 3:16, really let the fullness of that sink in. There’s a LOT that we still won’t know about God or His creation even in His glorious Word, but notice that’s not the point. His Word is…His words for us. What pertains to us. No one feels “called” to gamble, unless you truly see that as a legitimate ministry(please say it ain’t so), or more importantly, if you see spiritual leaders in Scripture using events not focused on God’s Word and worship or Him as ministry.

Eric said...

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for the answer.

I wonder, then, how is justice served by recouping money from the gambling institutions unless that money is somehow returned to the poor from which it was transferred?

And I think that you have failed to make a compelling case that what this group was involved in "supports the values of Christ". The fact that this group may "feel a call to it" is fairly immaterial, since all sorts of heinous acts have been committed throughout history by folks who claimed that they felt a call to it. I also think you misuse the passage of scripture about Jesus in the temple in attempting to justify this behavior by saying that Jesus broke some rules, so it's all ok.

Tobias said...

Hi Jeremy, I didn't ignore your comment because it was contrary to mine, but because your comment was ambiguous in itself and Eric had already asked for clarification.

Now that you've given some, I'll comment that I find it difficult in the extreme to understand how an activity can "support the values of Christ" while at the same time "contradicting some other scriptures" as you put it. If it does, in fact, contradict the written Word, then it is counter to the Word made flesh (Mat 12:25.

In your first post you compared card counting to Christ's cleaning house at the temple. I find this a curious example, since Christ explained the rationale behind His actions: they had turned His father's house into a den of theives. That is, He was zealous to expose the corruption and spiritual bankruptcy of those taking advantage of the institution of sacrafices and offerings to line their own pockets. We really can't extend that to casinos, since God's not in the equasion (not even in the case of Bingo night at the local Catholic church).

CSharpAJ said...

Tom Chantry, I think you just hit the nail on the head with your last statement.

Instead of taking the money from the "casino" by using deceptive means, why not just go to these people personally and explain all of the stuff you already know (about odds and other things, not how to count cards).

Tobias said...

Tommy, I picked up on that, too. In fact, Christs words to the tax collector were 'Hurry down from that tree because today I'm going to break bread with you'. Zaccheaus was so impacted by Christ that he volunteered to give half of his wealth to the poor and pay back four times whatever he had acquired by illicit means.

davdrury said...

Frank:

I am happy to have invited you to view the documentary film (not "video" ha ha).

I am also happy that you spoke to it on your blog and gave people a forum to engage the topic.

As to "excerpts" (I assume you mean clips from the film) I leave that in the hands of the director. It sounds like you feel shortchanged. I am sorry that we didn't get back to you about that.

Now...back to the subject at hand.

You said, "One of the subjects someplace says that they intentionally live in the gray areas to "make people think" or to "challenge" what people think they are doing. Astonishingly, again, that's not at all how the Bible describes the Christian life. Jesus himself says that you-all (you disciples, you Christians) are to be a city on a hill, or the salt of the Earth -- and what good is salt that has lost its saltiness?"

Living in the grey has to do with itinerancy, journey, the mystery of the gospel, wrestling with truth, engaging, and living inside the tension of the already/not yet. It has NOTHING to do with being "unsalty" or a dimly lit city on a hill. As Christians we celebrate the Gospel paradox of mercy that invites us to love an otherwise "unlovable" neighbor. That is what lights our city on a hill.

LanternBright said...

davdrury,

you said:

"Living in the grey has to do with itinerancy, journey, the mystery of the gospel, wrestling with truth, engaging, and living inside the tension of the already/not yet. It has NOTHING to do with being "unsalty" or a dimly lit city on a hill. "

I'm going to call foul on that one. Here's what the person who mentioned "living in the grey" actually said:

"Blackjack makes people reassess what Christianity really is. And in a good way. We want to live in the grey. Because in the grey you've got to question who you are and what you're doing."

See: contextually, there's *NOTHING* about itinerancy. *ZERO* about journey. *ZILCH* about the mystery of the gospel. *NIL* about wrestling with the truth, etc. etc.

Further, contextually, that bit comes immediately AFTER footage of casino workers describing the outright deception that club members are using to gain access to casinos from which they've already been banned. It also comes immediately BEFORE one of the club members makes the utterly preposterous statement that "Anyone who seriously wants to be a disciple of Jesus should learn blackjack."

In other words, it's awfully convenient for you to argue that Frank doesn't know what he's talking about when you have to completely redefine what the actual speaker has actually said on the matter and ignore all the contextual clues that totally undermine the definition you've given.

Finally, you try to get around all those problems by saying that

"As Christians we celebrate the Gospel paradox of mercy that invites us to love an otherwise "unlovable" neighbor. That is what lights our city on a hill."

Okay...fine. But how exactly are you "loving" your "unlovable" neighbors the casinos? By cheating them out of money? Really?

Sorry, bro--that kind of argument just won't stand.

Frank Turk said...

David --

Super! I'm please you can admit you came to this with your eyes open.

Here's the crux of your response, such as it is:

"As Christians we celebrate the Gospel paradox of mercy that invites us to love an otherwise 'unlovable' neighbor."

Let's lay aside, for a moment, whether or not this is actually any kind of representation of either the Bible or the ideas promoted by this movie. How does beating a Casino out of other people's money translate into your statement, above?

Bryan S said...

Hi All,

I'm the director of the film and I appreciate the discussion that is going on here. One of the main reasons I made the film was so people would be able to discuss it afterwards and come to their own conclusions. I appreciate all the time Frank has put into this as well.

I'm not going to debate you on all the issues in the blog or the comments, but there is one main thing I'd like to clear up. The team wasn't playing blackjack as a ministry. They were doing it as a job. They started the team to make money and that was it. I just don't want people to get confused and think that the guys thought they were doing ministry by counting cards or doing something noble. They were punching the clock, earning a living and support their families. It was first and foremost a job.

LanternBright,
In regards to your last post, the trailer takes some things out of context and purposely misleads a little to get people interested in the film. It's a preview. It's a 3 minute trailer and doesn't represent the views of the team very well. There is a lot more to the story and it's not really fair to use the trailer against them or to support your argument against David Drury. Just because there is nothing about the journey, the mystery of the gospel or wrestling with the truth in this 3 minute piece, doesn't mean it wasn't there. I think there's a lot of this in the film (but maybe not enough).

Thanks again.

Sir Aaron said...

M. Scott Foster:

I appreciate that you came here and you've been a good sport.

I understand that counting cards isn't technically cheating. But you and I both know that Blackjack is structured to favor the house. In fact, unless you use card counting stragegies or similarly related reshuffling strategies, the house is always favored to win even if you follow basic player strategy (following basic playing strategy dramatically lowers the casino's edge but doesn't eliminate it).

And when the house finds out a rule can be exploited by very good players (i.e, card counters) they change the rules (for example, changing the payout for blackjack from 3:2 to 6:5 or even 1:1; adding more decks to the shoe; reshuffling early). And if changing the rules fails, they'll simply ask you to leave.

I have some decent knowledge of the gambling industry and it's not an uncommon tale to hear of card counting crews being hassled legally and illegally by casino staff. As a member of a card counting crew you know this. In fact, that you used disguises is evidence of this knowledge. So you know full well that the casinos cheat people out of money using morally repugnant but perfectly legal means (in most cases).

Now if you would, please read the entirety of Matthew 5. I'm sure you are familiar with it and we can see from this chapter that God's standards are higher than man's. No man in Jesus' time would say that merely looking at a woman with lust was adultery. No Man. And yet we have God telling us it is. So if you apply these standards to card counting (as a crew), the question is not whether you can convince me or Frank or Tom Chantry that it isn't cheating a cheater when you count cards (again as a crew) but can you stand before a just and Holy God and explain that to Him?

So I don't really want to argue dictionary definitions or look at rule books. I just want to know if, according to God's standards, we can rightly say "this is not cheating cheaters."

Brad said...

Seems like the post by Centurion here is saying:

"This movie leaves tons of questions without answers, so I'm going to connect all the dots and assume that the whatever picture I come up with is what the answer that the director was trying to create. And, the way I like to connect dots is spiritual, so I must be right. Therefore, I'm certain that the director and the other guys in this doc are wrong and nonspiritual." (bible verse goes here)

Sorry Centurion, that this film didn't do what you thought it was supposed to do for you, but some of your dots were way off to begin with.

You, like your blog, and the film remind me that "...the world is an imperfect place. Screws fall out all of the time."

Frank Turk said...

Brad:

Too bad you didn't read this review. You might have learned something.

Brad said...

This is not cheating cheaters. This is playing a game open to the public and winning. Nothing more.

Brad said...

Did read it. Terrible review. Not convinced the guy saw the movie. ? Um.... what did you learn from the review?reviewers

davdrury said...

Frank:

You said:

How does beating a Casino out of other people's money translate into your statement ["As Christians we celebrate the Gospel paradox of mercy that invites us to love an otherwise 'unlovable' neighbor."]?

Being excellent at a game in such a way as to earn a living for you and your family translates to the Gospel in the same way that eating a banana or putting a roof on your house facilitates the Gospel.

Brad said...

Or did you not read it Frank?

Sir Aaron said...

yes, dressing up in all kinds of disguises and lying is all part of "playing the game and winning."

mike t said...

M Scott,

I had the pleasure of having you stay with my wife and I in San Diego one time. I hope you and the family are well.

At the time, you had mentioned to me your concerns with the issue of the job not "producing" anything, and struggling with it being considered "work".

Are you actively pursuing convincing others that are interested in joining something like this or who are currently doing this type of "work" to not do so?

Frank Turk said...

Wow, am I glad I came back to check the wreckage here.

Brad:

Not only did I read it, I write it! yay me!

Frank Turk said...

David:

Because you morally equate "beating the Casino out of other people's money" with "eating a banana," You have simply defined your position as ethically inept.

Because you didn't actually answer my question, you define yourself as invincible to reason or other people's points of view -- that is, those things bounce off you rather than encounter you. I'm not so stupid as to put myself up against someone that invincible.

Comments are therefore closed.