20 questions during quarantine with Captain Jack Andrews: Thoughts from a preeminent pro bettor

Tropicana sportsbook, Atlantic City, NJ (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
Tropicana sportsbook, Atlantic City, NJ (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
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Sports bettors who want to keep improving during this temporary shutdown of the games we love should thank Captain Jack Andrews. Captain Jack, a preeminent pro bettor, industry watchdog and sportsbook customer advocate, is offering weekly educational webinars, and covering topics such as “How to Emerge From This Bettor Than Before” and “5 Ways You Can Trim the House Edge”, they’ve become appointment viewing for engaged gamblers. Also, Captain Jack’s Twitter feed continues to be a go-to source for industry insiders and recreational bettors alike.

I spoke over the phone this week with Captain Jack from his home in New Jersey to ask what else he’s up to during this difficult time and for his outlook about the days ahead. Among his responses: He’s hesitant to get involved in the non-traditional betting markets that have popped up in the dearth of the sports we’re familiar with; he’s applying a lesson about work/life balance he learned from a colleague; and like you (or at least me), he’s spent some of his leisure hours watching the Tiger King and Ozark.

Here is the first installment of our new series, “20 Questions During Quarantine,” in which we’ll be speaking to all kinds of personalities around the sports betting industry.

BetIndiana News: Where did the nickname ‘Captain Jack’ come from?
Captain Jack: I don’t have any military service, so I don’t want to throw people off that way. Back in the late ‘90s, I signed up for a website that was all blackjack card counters – BJ21.com, which actually still exists – and when you sign up you have to pick an alias. So on the spot, I thought ‘Captain Jack’ – it’s a Billy Joel song, I liked Billy Joel at the time, and Jack/blackjack, it just seemed to fit. That took about 10 seconds of thought back in 1998 or so, and it stuck ever since.

BetIndiana News: If you could bring back one sport tomorrow, what would it be and why?
Captain Jack: Basketball (NBA), because basketball has the most uncertainty as to where this season was going to go.

BetIndiana News: Are you betting on anything now that you normally wouldn’t bet on – for example, eSports, NASCAR drivers playing video games or Belarusian hockey?
Captain Jack: None of those.

BetIndiana News: Are you modeling any of these unfamiliar markets?
Captain Jack: No. I briefly explored that, and I decided that the limits just aren’t high enough to make it worth my time.

BetIndiana News: Will you bet the NFL Draft?
Captain Jack: Yes, but only betting on value. In other words, comparing lines between sportsbook and finding the softer lines.

BetIndiana News: Will the NFL season start on time?
Captain Jack: My guess is yes with a shortened preseason and training camp, and that might be a good angle for sports bettors.

BetIndiana News: Set an over/under on number of states that will have legal betting on the 2020 presidential election.
Captain Jack: I have to go with a line of 0.5. It’s more of a yes or no proposition (note: this question and answer are in context of West Virginia regulators this week asking FanDuel to halt betting on the 2020 election after initially approving the market. For more of Jack’s thoughts on the controversy, check out this thread on Twitter).

BetIndiana News: Coin-flip odds, -110 both ways, Trump vs the field. Who ya’ got, purely as a bettor?
Captain Jack: Trump -110 has the most value in that proposition (note: Jack said he has no interest in betting the election).

BetIndiana News: Your favorite sports betting podcast?
Captain Jack: It’s still Bet The Process. They just do a great job of having such high-level conversations through the entire broadcast (note: Jack has appeared as a guest on the show hosted by Jeff Ma and Rufus Peabody).

BetIndiana News: Are you listening to any new podcasts, sports betting or otherwise?
Captain Jack: I am listening to every podcast that my iPhone has ever subscribed to. Normally, I ignore a lot of them, but right now I’m digging deep into the well of anything I’ve ever listened to. If there are any new episodes, I’m listening to them.

BetIndiana News: Anything that you really like that you can recommend?
Captain Jack: I will say I salute the effort that a lot of these podcasts are doing to find content in this whole downturn period.

BetIndiana News: Best thing you’ve watched on Netflix during quarantine?
Captain Jack: My wife and I are avid Netflix viewers. The things we’ve watched lately are the new things such as “Tiger King” and “Ozark” Season 3.

BetIndiana News : Any books you’ve read over past few weeks?
Captain Jack: The last book I read is titled, “Adobe Premiere Pro Creative Cloud 2019 release Classroom in a Book” because I’m trying to learn video editing on the fly as I do these webcasts (laughs).

BetIndiana News: Your go-to beverage during quarantine?
Captain Jack: In the morning, it’s a latte, and the rest of the day, it’s usually iced tea.

BetIndiana News: Nothing with a little more edge?
Captain Jack: I’ve never been much of a drinker at home. When I’m home drinking, I don’t feel like that’s the best use of my time

BetIndiana News: I can’t disagree with that, but you’re definitely going against the trend based on what I’m reading about alcohol sales during this. … What’s the best habit or behavior you’ve picked up during quarantine?
Captain Jack: It’s actually a piece of advice Rufus gave me, and that is when you’re working be working, and when you’re not working don’t be working. Don’t have the TV on when you’re trying to code something or (working on) a presentation. Just work, or don’t work.

BetIndiana News: Worst habit or behavior you’ve picked up during quarantine?
Captain Jack: Sleeping. It’s bad. It’s 3 a.m. bedtimes and 11 a.m. risetimes, and naps in the afternoons. Too much sleep going on here.

BetIndiana News: What did you have for dinner last night?
Captain Jack: We made salmon with green beans and cauliflower. A very healthy meal, and I felt good after eating healthy for the first time in a few weeks (laughs).

BetIndiana News: Do you have enough toilet paper in your house?
Captain Jack: Yes, I’m one of those guys who shops wholesale anyway, so I had enough before this all happened. But I’m down to about a month left, so I’m probably in better shape than most.

BetIndiana News: Predicted date for the first game back for one of the four major leagues?
Captain Jack: I still think July 4th is going to be a target date. It’s going to be a celebration of American independence, but we’re not going to be able to gather, so in order to kind of keep everyone’s morale up, I think they’re gonna have some kind of sport come back on July 4th. I would love for it to be all the sports coming back on July 4th in some shape or form. I don’t think that’s realistic. But July 4th.

BetIndiana News: One lesson you’ve learned during quarantine?
Captain Jack: Wash your hands more (laughs). I was never aware of how little I washed my hands until this all started, and now I’m super attentive about washing my hands. If I get the mail out of the mailbox, I wash my hands right away.

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