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You're playing me? Nope. I'm playing you

In my memoir, "The Buy Side," I shine a light on a lot of bad Wall Street behavior — mostly my own — hoping that, by telling the truth, it will help people navigate the pirate-infested waters of Wall Street and life. So, in honor of the paperback edition coming out today, I want to call attention to things to watch out for — and offer some advice for how you can make sure that when someone's trying to play you, you're playing them right back.

Your assistant wants your job, your boss is preventing you from taking her job, the person on the other end of the phone is trying to rip you off and your so-called chum flirts with your girlfriend at happy hour. Just another day on Wall Street …


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To be fair, there are tons of good people working on Wall Street. But Disneyland it's not. Once the trading day starts, it's on and you'd better have left all your excuses at home.

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Trading is like skinny dipping in a tributary full of piranhas. In my hedge-fund days, I used to mentally dress like I was out of the movie "Mad Max": Spiked shoulder pads, a helmet and homemade hobnailed boots. My motto was: "Don't be afraid, just paranoid." Suspect everyone and protect yourself.

It seems as if everyone on Wall Street is fishing — fishing for orders, information, and relationships — and sometimes actually fly-fishing in Montana. The bait is already on the hook and people are just waiting to reel you in. Here are four typical behaviors to watch out for when someone is trying to play you:

Pharrell Williams song on repeat. Everyone knows that guy who is perpetually "Happy." How are you doing today? Great! I just love providing customer service. I love reading the Wall Street Journal. I love interacting and entertaining with all of my clients. What it means: No one is that happy, especially if they work on Wall Street. If he can't be honest about his mood, why would you expect him to be honest about a trade? He'll steal your money and then offer to help you look for it.

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An awesomely amazing company with fantastic earnings. Watch out for excessive adjective use (good OR bad). I get it — you want me to buy the stock. But why? A trading idea should stand on its own. Sugarcoating it just sets off red flags. What it means: The person doesn't really believe in what he's saying, but man, he thinks you're totally buying it — and he's got his wallet open ready to take your money.

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. These are the people who sound like an automated recording — it's the same exact thing every day. "TO-DAY-WE-HAVE-THREE-UP-GRADES…" It's like they were taught how to do their job from an instruction manual. Press "1" for execution. "2" for research. "3" for compliments. BEEP! What it means: This person doesn't understand flexibility and change. They'll be impossible to reason with when there is an error or trade problem.

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"Yeah, um, well, you see, this is what happened…" Your ears should go up like a deer who just heard a gunshot in the distance. When you get excuses, excuses, excuses you need to be on high alert. The stock traded ahead. The seller faded. I was in touch with a seller, but not an actual seller. I'll take care of you next time. What it means: They can't admit they made a mistake or take any blame. These people are toxic. They'll steal from you before it's their fault.

No, I'm playing YOU

OK, so now that you know what to look for, here's the fun part: Learning how to play THEM.

Put the ball in their court. If they give you a bad report or misleading information, give them an opportunity to correct the mistake, maybe even smile a bit. If they don't — that's telling. Behavior is consistent over time. It's better to find out what kind of person you are dealing with early in the relationship.

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Give him enough rope to hang himself with. If you suspect someone is stealing from you or acting shady then put them to the test. Leave a $100 bill on your desk and go for a walk. Say to a trader, "In your hands; do your best." Almost beg them to steal from you, dangle future business in front of him or her. Make sure they know the cost of stealing $25,000 and the effect of the future. It's not worth it. He or she won't know what to do, they'll start to stutter, twitch and sweat.

Hide in the weeds. If revenge is your cup of tea, don't try to get even right away, it'll never work. Be patient — and don't get angry. No one remembers stealing from you, but they remember making you angry. Stay cool. Watch and observe. Then, you'll know the best way to seek retribution.

Keep a mental list. You should have a list of good guys and bad guys. It will come in handy down the road.

If you do this over time, two things will happen: You'll know who NOT to do business with and you'll increase the number of mutually beneficial relationships you have. Some people actually do much better when you say, "In your hands; do your best." And these are the people you want to keep close.

Read MoreHow a trader knows when to strike: Turney Duff

It was the last trading day of 2002. I gave one of my sales traders 10 buy orders to be executed in the last 10 minutes of the trading year. It's a common trick to mark up a portfolio at year end to increase your returns by getting paid more on the inflated performance. I gave her my orders with about 30 minutes left in the trading day but with specific instructions to not start buying until the last 10 minutes. I wanted to juice the price of some of the stocks we already owned. But a few minutes after I gave her the orders, I noticed they all started to move up. ALL TEN. I knew that she had leaked my orders to another one of her clients. If someone bought the stocks in front of me, they could reap the benefit of me moving the stocks higher and then turn around and sell them to me on the closing bell with no time to push the stocks as high as I wanted them to go.

I was livid.

But I didn't say anything. Nor did I accuse her of leaking my orders. I just said "thank you," and told her to have a wonderful New Year's.

For the whole next year, I kept her on a tight leash. I never fully trusted her again and probably did about half the amount of commissions as I'd done the year before.

So on the last trading day of 2003, I gave her 10 orders — all shorts. There were 30 minutes left in the day and I gave her instructions to not execute until 10 minutes before the close. "I mean it!," I said. "Do not start until 3:50pm."

"I got it," she said.

As I'm watching the stocks, they all start to trade lower. I know she leaked my orders AGAIN. As soon as the clock struck 3:49pm, I called her and canceled all of my orders — they were fake. I could hear her choking.

Then, I got on the phone and called another broker and gave him my real orders — same ten stocks, but they were actually BUYS. The stocks ripped higher and higher.She leaked the wrong orders. Her client was losing lots of money. I was giggling.

Think you're going to play me? I'll play you — HARDER.

Commentary by Turney Duff, a former trader at the hedge fund Galleon Group. Duff chronicled the spectacular rise and fall of his career on Wall Street in the book, "The Buy Side." The paperback edition comes out June 17 and Sony bought the TV/movie rights to the book. Duff is currently working on his second book, a Wall Street novel. Follow him on Twitter @turneyduff.

VIDEO>>Turney Duff: My biggest mistake on Wall Street—and life after the buy side

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