The MIT Blackjack Teams Story

If you think you know the story of the MIT Blackjack team just because you saw the movie 21 then think again. Even though the movie does get the basics of the story right, it doesn’t tell the story the right way. Here is what happened.

In the 70s, MIT was known for being a group of scientists and mathematicians. But, there was one set of people who decided to use mathematics and statistics to take on Vegas. There were many groups at the school and they competed regularly with each other.

The groups broke up in the 80s but some of them joined up with Bill Kaplan to become quite successful while taking on the Las Vegas gambling scene. But, it was only when Kaplan joined forces with JP Massar that they made it big time.

Kaplan then created another team and if they followed the new guidelines, they were making more than $150 every hour.

It’s obvious that they needed to remain inconspicuous so they kept on recruiting new players as and when required. There were more than 30 people involved by the end of the 80s.

The main group consisted of John Chang, Jeff Ma, Jane Willis, Laurie Tsao and Mike Aponte. Once they got to the tables, every member had a fixed role. Some were the high rollers, others were degenerate lowlifes while some were the bimbo, etc. There were signallers, monitors and bettors. Signals included brushing hair to signal hot shoes and leaving for restrooms when things went cold.

The team was soon figured out and the rest is not worth mentioning. The casinos started changing their rules to prevent this from happening by using cut-offs, increasing decks, etc. They could make millions for sure but to think that you could do the same thing in today’s casinos, you’d be wrong!