Have you ever watched that epic movie with Kevin Spacey about Blackjack titled “21”? Then you’ve probably heard about the MIT Blackjack Team. This is the group of students who used card counting techniques to beat casinos in their own game and walked away with huge winnings. In this post, we will take a closer look at the history of the MIT Blackjack team, their methods, and their impact on the world of gambling. Let’s go!
MIT Blackjack Team – Who Were They?
The MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Blackjack Team was a group of students and ex-students from some of the top universities in the United States. We’re talking about Harvard, MIT, Princeton, and the University of Chicago. They came together to apply their mathematics and probability skills to the Blackjack. Using a combination of card-counting techniques and other sophisticated strategies, the team earned a lot of money.
Road to Riches
Let’s see how it all started. The team came together at the start of the 1980s. A group of students at MIT and other top colleges taught themselves a card-counting technique and went to Atlantic City to try it out. They used advanced strategies like card counting to beat casinos at blackjack.
The head of the team was Bill Kaplan, who was inspired by Edward O. Thorp’s classic novel How to Beat the Dealer. He managed to turn a $1,000 investment into a whopping $35,000 in Las Vegas and then started training other students.
He formed a team of ten people who rolled into action with an $89,000 investment in August 1980 and in 10 weeks they had doubled their money! Some of the team members who were crucial to the team are Bill Kaplan, Jeff Ma, Semyon Dukach, Jane Willis, Mike Aponte, and John and Lori Chang.
MIT Blackjack Team Earnings
It is difficult to say exactly how much money the MIT Blackjack Team earned, as the team operated for several years and shared winnings. Also, these operations were secretive and not all of their winnings were publicly disclosed. Some sources claim that the team won millions of dollars since they could win as much as $400,000 in a single night! Mike Aponte once declared that the biggest win was about $500,000 on Super Bowl weekend in 1995. The largest loss of the MIT Blackjack team was $130,000.
As time passed, casinos also became more skilled at spotting card counters and shuffling the decks more often. Eventually, by 2000, the 15+ year reign of the MIT Blackjack team came to an end and this legendary crew stopped doing what they were best at.
“There are tens of thousands of people who tried to win at the game, but MIT was the only team who really won year over year because we ran it like a business. Training, extensive training, checkout procedures, two hours of perfect play, leaving the table right. It was really run more tightly than most businesses.”- Bill Kaplan, the founder of MIT Team
Movie About MIT Blackjack Team
21 is a movie based on this story and it is probably one of the best movies about Blackjack. Thanks to it, this team became so famous worldwide. The story follows Jim Sturges, a brilliant student who cannot pay his tuition, so he joins the mentioned team in hopes of making just enough money to achieve his dreams. And the way he does it is by employing mathematical card-counting skills to earn himself a fortune. This is an absolute recommendation from casino Yabby if you’ve missed it in any case. Even people who are not familiar with gambling love it, so we think you’ll enjoy it!
Blackjack is one of the most played casino games. Through time, there were a lot of misconceptions about Blackjack card counting. Nowadays, no one can forbid you to count cards. What you do with your own wits is your business only. To learn more about card counting, and some of the techniques read our articles about Blackjack strategy and card counting. When you finish reading them, visit our bet-safe casino Yabby and try out a great selection of Blackjack!