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Six former MIT students were the founders of the most popular blackjack team in the world of casino gambling - MIT Team; these guys were the kings of Vegas in 1990s and were able to beat all casinos out of really big money thanks to card counting technique. They considered blackjack being not only an interesting pastime but also a good business which could bring really huge income.

The definite sum of money MIT Team was able to win during the years of their gambling is not known though some experts said it was something about $ 4 000 000.

The beginning

First, it was just a club for those students who were interested in playing blackjack in general: they met after classes and played blackjack, learning card counting strategy. Soon, the idea was born that it would be really possible to win some money with the help of blackjack card game.

So, founders of this club now invited just those students whom they considered to be really talented in mathematics (by the way, all members of MIT blackjack team were either mathematicians or physicians): people who wanted to become the part of MIT team had to pass a test first.

The book of Edward Thorp Beat the Dealer became the basement of their trainings, but a rather long time passed before the team was ready to go to Las Vegas and try their knowledge in practice.


Every member of MIT team had its role in playing blackjack, and the main of them were a counter and a big player:

  • A counter - this person just sat at the blackjack table and counted cards without making big bets; when a score was good enough to increase a bet, s/he gave a sign to a big player.
  • A big player - this person came to the blackjack table every time when s/he got a sign from a counter; usually, this person played a role of a very rich man who did not think much about money they bet on blackjack.

Though the story of MIT blackjack team began in 1979, their success came to them in the middle of 1990s when really big money was won by those guys every time they visited Las Vegas.

The famous members of MIT blackjack team:

  • Jeff Ma
  • Jane Willis
  • Mike Aponte
  • Laurie Tsao
  • John Chang
  • Bill Kaplan

The end

Certainly, nothing is endless, and MIT blackjack team was finally caught by casino security systems: the team was banned from all casinos and could not continue their work as card counters. The members of the team wrote and published books about the secrets of their work and gave lectures to all people interested in the game of blackjack.

Except of card counting, MIT team used also such techniques as shuffle tracking and big player which were perfectly shown in blackjack movies, such as 21 and The Last Casino for example. Even today MIT team continues its living, and its members take part in various blackjack tournaments from time to time.


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  • Online Blackjack

    Blackjack gained worldwide popularity and played in land casinos as well as online.

Being a highly popular casino game, no weird there exist lots of funny jokes about blackjack.

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