Chris Andrews is a special contributor for VSiN.
Andrews, the South Point sports book director, has been a Nevada bookmaker for 25 years. He started in the business as a ticket writer at the Stardust in 1979, joined Jimmy Vaccaro’s staff at the Barbary Coast in 1980 and was elevated to Cal Neva sports book director in Reno in 1981. After stints with the Golden Nugget, Leroy’s and William Hill sports books, he founded Againstthenumber.com. He returned to Las Vegas to run the South Point book in February 2016.
A native of Forest Hills, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh, Andrews is a 1978 graduate of Robert Morris University. He and his wife, Pamela, have three sons and two daughters.
On the bookmaking business . . .
"One thing I’ve always said is an aggressive bookmaker is actually a conservative bookmaker. You want as much action as you can get. I think guys who try to be ‘conservative’ really kind of hurt themselves.
"The wiseguys are going to find you no matter what, so you might as well try to go out and get all the business you can and then spread your risk and create better margins for yourself.
"Jack Franzi, my uncle, was my biggest bookmaking influence. I grew up with him, and he was Michael Gaughan’s guy for many years. I worked with him from 1980-81 at the Barbary Coast.
"The main things Jack would emphasize are have the right number and don’t be afraid to take a bet.
"We didn’t even have totals in 1981. Totals were a new thing in any sport. Props were not even thought of. Halftime was this exotic bet that few people used. It was teasers and straight bets, and that was it. The business has changed exponentially in the things offered by bookmakers."
Playing favorites . . .
"My favorite teams are Penn State football, and the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates.
"Steelers linebacker Jack Lambert is my favorite player from the past. He was a skinny-legged guy and he was really vicious, no doubt, but he was also a very intelligent. Dick Butkus, Ray Lewis and Mike Singletary were all great players, but none of them could defend the pass like Lambert. He ate up the whole middle of that field in pass defense, and he was a great run defender, too.
"My favorite current player is Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Chuck Noll, who won four Super Bowls with the Steelers, is my favorite coach in any sport.
"Young Frankenstein is my favorite movie. It’s a masterpiece. My favorite actor is Cary Grant.
"The Beatles are my favorite band. The best concert I attended was Paul McCartney at the MGM Grand Garden in 2002.
"Corfu, Greece, one of the islands, is my favorite vacation spot.
"My favorite book is Zorba the Greek.
"My favorite TV show is The Andy Griffith Show.
"A very obscure game was my favorite game I ever attended. It was 1978, the Penguins and the Flyers. The Penguins were down 4-0 and scored four late goals. That was when the Flyers were the Broad Street Bullies. I’ve been to Super Bowls, Final Fours, the NBA playoffs, Stanley Cup games and Kentucky Derbys. To this day, that’s my favorite sporting event, and it ended in a tie."