I have a past. We all do. I’m not proud of everything I’ve done to get a rush of joy. You take what you can get in the postgrad life. I work in finance. It’s boring as hell.
I have a confession: I’m an APer. What does that mean? I’m an Advanced Player. At Dave & Buster’s. What is that? It’s exactly what it sounds like. I play games there. Not for fun, but for profit. See, you can win prizes at D&Bs, some of great value – iPads, laptops, gaming systems, etc.
I haven’t told many about my secret second life as an APer. Basically just my group chat from college, the woman I live with, and my tax guy. I had to explain to him how I acquired the 9 iPads I sold on eBay in 2015. When I do speak about my double life, the same questions pop up. So here I am, it’s time to come clean.
How did you start APing? Well, I’ve always had a very particular set of skills when it came to throwing/shooting, sport-related hand-eye coordination. After a rare (at the time) visit to D&B back in January 2013, I realized there was a real opportunity for me to flourish.
When did you first realize you were good? What was that feeling like? Mechanically, I always knew I was good. I began frequenting D&B more often late in 2013. I quickly learned a variety of games that could both complement my skill-set and be exploited enough to invest both my time and money. Of course, the more you do something and develop a system, the better you get.
Do you even enjoy playing? Fuck no, are you kidding me? The only enjoyment I get from APing is seeing the failure and disappointment on other patron’s faces when their weak game yields a couple tickets while I’m stacking jackpot payouts and looking bored in the process.
What was your greatest one-day ticket haul? This is tough, since I mostly measure my success based on my efficiency during the time spent. Much like a professional poker player, I look at my time at D&B like one long, never-ending trip, not as a series of daily appearances. That being said, my biggest days are half-price Wednesdays. I’ll hit the D&B on my lunch break, and churning out 12-15k in an hour is a great haul. I generally make a second trip after work, and add another 10-12k to the daily haul. But, my efficiency nosedives after work. This is because in addition to having my soul crushed by eight-plus hours of soul-crushing work, I double-fist overpriced drinks to numb the lonesome reality of my endeavor. And, since you’re wondering, iPads cost about 130,000 tickets. iPad Minis cost about 85,000.
How many APers do you know? I don’t know any other APers on a level personal enough to ask, let alone, remember their name. Frankly, I’d be embarrassed if I did.
Do people “cheat” by playing a game with multiple players? This sounds like a reference to Down the Clown, where a multi-person play could be more than advantageous. If you’re cheating “the man” or “the machine” aka D&B, I don’t give a shit because most of these games are cheating us. Now, if two teens/adults are tag-teaming Down the Clown and running up the jackpot, thinking they’re the shit, and cheating me out of tickets, that’s a different story. I’m an AP’er who can essentially match their score alone, and this makes me want to go punch them both in the throat. They are stealing from me and my family. Fuck them. Kids are cool though, sometimes I’ll even help them out to hit a few jackpots.
You’re a heavy gambler. Does this explain your quest for prizes at D&B? There is definitely a correlation between APing and gambling, and a competitive aspect to both that I enjoy. However, at this point in my AP career, there’s not much gambling involved. I spend my time exclusively on skill-based games. The only real gamble is how much of my social life and self-respect I am willing to risk for the benefit of getting some crappy, soon-to-be-dated electronic device a couple hundred bucks cheaper than retail? Somehow, I just keep coming back.
Explain how the “jackpots” work, and why they get reset each week. The jackpots reset each day (or sometimes intraday so unskilled patrons can have a chance after an APer has already run it up). It varies from game to game, but an incremental run-up of the jackpot score is the correct to strategy to take for a game such as Two Minute Drill. You want to barely beat the jackpot so it’ll marginally increase, and you can get a higher return of tickets until it is at a level no longer obtainable. This doesn’t apply to me for this particular game, because I can hit 999+ all day and get an indefinite amount of tickets depending upon how long I decide to play. The only way they (D&B) can stop me, is by limiting the amount of footballs available to throw. When this is the case (7 balls or less) I won’t waste credits trying to hit 999+.
Do any co-workers or loved ones know about your APing? Both co-workers and loved ones are impressed when they see my AP skills executed in the short-term, but they probably question the multi-year commitment I’ve made to the craft. They just don’t know what it takes to be great. Fuck them all.
Will you play a game for hours on end, blocking normal kids from playing it? Not really. I generally hit & run games, get the highest return out of the game, and then let the scrub patrons bring the jackpot score back down with their many failed attempts before I hit & run it again.
Do you play before work? Never before because it’s closed, but during my lunch break on Wednesdays as soon as it opens.
Have you ever eaten at a D&B? Never when I go alone for AP purposes. I do drink heavily though more often than not. More often than I’d care to admit.
How is the food? Had a steak? Just like the games, overpriced and shitty.
It’s been a couple of years. I have a family now – two kids and a woman I live with. It’s a lot. I change diapers. It sucks. Do I long to return to my ways as a four-times a week D&B degenerate? Sometimes. Life was easier then – much more simple. I was a Robin Hood of sorts. I used my wits and skills to steal from a faceless corporation. Ask any thief – we’re always thinking of the next take. One day, Dave and Buster, I’ll be back. .