The Technology Behind Catching the MIT Blackjack Team

We’ve all heard of the notorious MIT Blackjack team who travelled around Las Vegas in the 90’s winning big and causing huge losses to the casinos. They had a $400,000 weekend in Las Vegas which is still legendary to this day. They were eventually caught because of their own sloppiness and not some hi-fi technology like most people may believe.

The casinos quickly adapted and discovered how to deal with card counters way before the MIT Blackjack team came into being. When they identified counters, they made sure their time at tables was a nightmare and if the counter happens to win a large sum, they get banned for life. The technology in the 90s matured to a point where news travelled very quickly. It became impossible to get by without detection here.

Las Vegas casinos had long-established profiles of card counters but because the MIT team ran against that profile, they found it much easier to escape detection. The profile always assumed a single card counter and since they travelled in groups, it was easy for them to avoid detection.

It was eventually sloppiness that led to their ultimate downfall. They lost discipline and the well-oiled machine started falling apart. They started fraternizing and giving in to various Las Vegas temptations and much more. The odds finally turned against them and the stakes were too high even for MIT geniuses.

The last team player remaining at the tables was escorted from the blackjack tables by security for a simple reason: “he was too good.”

The tale of the MIT Blackjack team was also converted into a big screen movie called 21. One of the former members, Jeff Ma, is still involved in gambling and casinos even today. This is a great story for you to read up on but you should think carefully before trying to emulate it.