Blackjack MIT Team

Blackjack is a favorite game of many gamblers because they have a ‘say’ on the outcome of the game. The Blackjack MIT team is probably the most popular group of players who successfully beat casinos. This group was composed of students from MIT, Harvard University and Harvard Business School. They were able to beat casinos worldwide since 1979 until the early 21st century. The members of the team changed through the years but they all succeeded in winning at blackjack.

The Beginning

A group of students who attended a mini course known as the ‘How to Gamble if You Must’ began the blackjack MIT team. In this lecture, the group of students known as Conner 3 learned about card counting methods and how to use them in the game of blackjack. This lecture was held in January 1979 and the group decided to see if they can use their new-found knowledge. The group went to Atlantic City in the same year to play blackjack and they were able to apply what they have learned. The group then separated after graduation. Two of the members, JP Massar and Jonathan, continued their interest in the card counting methods. When the New Jersey Casino Control Commission made a ruling which allowed card counting in casinos, a professional blackjack player convinced JP Massar to form a new group.  Unfortunately, they were not successful and the group eventually separated.

The New Team

In 1980, JP Massar heard about a Harvard MBA graduate who successfully managed a group of blackjack players. His name was Bill Kaplan. Mr. Massar then contacted Mr. Kaplan and proposed to him to form a new group, and so Mr. Massar and a group of blackjack players then went to Atlantic City with Mr. Kaplan. The new team also failed but Mr. Kaplan was able to identify what was wrong with the strategies being currently used. Mr. Kaplan’s observation proved to be very helpful in the success of both the new team and the succeeding teams. The new Blackjack MIT Team consisted of ten players, including Kaplan and Massar, who then invested $89,000 and played blackjack. After two weeks, they were able to double the amount. In 1982, John Chang who is another MIT graduate, joined the group. The team basically used card counting techniques, advanced ace tracking techniques and other sophisticated strategies. Their strategies were so successful that they were able to beat many casinos in the US and thus they also played in casinos in other countries.

The MIT Blackjack Team continued playing and winning in many casinos worldwide until the late 1990s. Many teams were created all over the US and internationally as well. The players were usually tried and tested before they can join the team. However, because of their success, players such as Kaplan were blacklisted from many casinos. Many books, films and TV programs were created based on the story and success of the MIT Blackjack Team. These days, land based casinos and online casinos are taking measures to identify card counters. The success of the MIT team is an inspiration to many gamblers worldwide.

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