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They did not use any blackjack cheating software for that. These students used basic strategy and all card counting systems which were described in books ...


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See instructions The Mit Blackjack Team The MIT blackjack team has become famous worldwide for their success at beating the game of.
Even people who are unfamiliar with blackjack and gambling know the story of the MIT students, thanks in large click to the popular movie 21.
The movie 21 was based on the book Bringing Down The House by Ben Mezrich.
Hollywood thrives on drama, and the glamorization of the MIT blackjack team was the goal of the film.
In reality, many parts of the actual story have little to do with the bright lights of Las Vegas and the high-rolling lifestyle.
On many blackjack websites you will find a brief summary of the MIT team, and most of those summaries are just a recap of the movie.
Counting Edge is about to take you behind all of the hype and beyond all of the glitz and glamour to reveal the accurate story of the whiz kids who became legendary card counters.
This month I recommend you visit.
The Formation Of The Mit Blackjack Team In reality, the MIT blackjack team was not founded by an MIT professor, nor was it the brainchild of one man as depicted in the film.
It was all started by a Harvard graduate.
The year was 1980 and Harvard business school graduate Bill Kaplan had been successfully using the card counting techniques presented by Edward Thorp in his book Beat the Dealer for three years.
Kaplan had successfully managed blackjack teams that were mit students blackjack book successful in the Las Vegas casinos.
With the advent of casino gambling in Atlantic City, Bill Kaplan decided to form a team on the East Coast to take advantage of this new goldmine.
It just so happened that the first blackjack players recruited by Kaplan for his new team were from MIT.
One of the players we trained in late 1982 and 1983 was John Chang.
Massar was an MIT graduate who led the team in its early stages.
John Chang was also a leader and member of the original blackjack team.
Chang graduated from MIT in 1985 with an engineering degree.
These three mean formed the basis of the team, but as time went on more members were added.
While a few of these members came from MIT, all of them did not.
The team included members from Harvard and Princeton as well.
As time went on, Kaplan and his team introduced more members.
The Real Stars Of The Mit Blackjack Team When 21 hit the movie theaters it immediately unleashed a firestorm of controversy among those who knew the real story of the MIT blackjack team.
In the movie, the principal members of the team are Caucasians.
The truth, however, is that the most successful members of the MIT blackjack team were Asians.
Two of them became the major stars of the team.
Jeff Ma was the real-life Ben Campbell.
Jeff Ma came from a very affluent family.
Ma had a desire to attend Harvard Medical School, like his character in the film, but that dream was soon derailed when Ma realized he could make far more money counting cards at blackjack.
Ma was well-versed in the theories developed by Thorp and his brain assimilated card counting with the speed and proficiency of a super computer.
In fact, Ma even has a small role in the film.
After his blackjack playing days were over, Jeff Ma founded the sports stock market website Protrade.
Jeff Ma no longer plays blackjack for a living but his interest in gambling remains strong.
Mike Aponte was recreated in the movie 21 as the obnoxious and cocky character named Jimmy Fisher.
In reality, Aponte was nothing like the Fisher character.
In one regard the film is somewhat accurate.
Mike Aponte did in fact recruit Jeff Ma for the MIT blackjack team.
The two students had been friends for a long time and Aponte was the one who taught Jeff Ma how to play blackjack and count cards.
There was no rivalry between them at all.
Both Aponte and Ma were both concerned with making a lot blackjack basic chart money playing blackjack, and they succeeded.
As a youngster, Mike Aponte never had a desire to play cards.
Mike was the valedictorian of his high school class despite having attended 11 different schools.
When Aponte arrived at MIT to study economics he was soon approached by a fellow student who told him that some other students were participating in a blackjack team that was using card counting to make a lot of money.
Aponte says he was hooked on blackjack mit students blackjack book the first moment he met the MIT blackjack team.
The Big Player was the team member who displayed the greatest self-control at the blackjack table, not necessarily the best card counting abilities.
Other players would signal Aponte when a table was hot, and he would then sit and assume the counting and betting responsibilities.
Mike Aponte was so good at his job that he eventually became a manager of the blackjack team at MIT.
Aponte was responsible for recruiting and training new members.
He continued to lead the team right up until 2000 and helped the MIT group to make millions of dollars in profit.
In the real life story of the MIT blackjack team, Mike Aponte was the star.
After the MIT blackjack team dissolved, Mike Aponte continued to count cards professionally.
He also won the first ever World Series of Blackjack tournament in 2004, proving that his blackjack card counting skills were still as sharp as ever.
Today, Aponte teaches others how to count cards and beat the game of blackjack through an instructional website.
I highly recommend you or read the first.
The Organization Of The Mit Blackjack Team The actual workings of the MIT blackjack team have long been held in confidence by those who participated in the project, for obvious reasons.
Some of the members of the team still play blackjack today.
It would not serve them well if all of their methods were revealed.
There is enough information, however, to fully describe the basic methods of the team.
The MIT blackjack team was led by a team manager.
Mike Aponte functioned for a short time in a dual role as the team manager and Big Player.
The team manager was not typically someone who participated in actual play.
As a rule, managers of the MIT blackjack team were the ones responsible for organizing the playing sessions and making sure the players could get their large bankroll transported from place to place.
It was often necessary for the players on the team to conceal large amounts of money on their bodies to avoid scrutiny by airport security officials.
Had the money been discovered, many questions would have been asked.
Most of these questions would have come from the Internal Revenue Service who would have wanted to know how college students could have so much money that was unaccounted for on their taxes.
The team would be strategically placed in various casinos by the team manager who oversaw the entire operation.
If there was ever a problem with a member of the team, the team manager was the one to deal mit students blackjack book it.
The second member of the team was the signaler, or prop.
The job of the signaler was to locate blackjack tables which were hot.
The signaler would sit down to play like any other blackjack player and bet only the table minimum.
As they played these players would track the true count of the blackjack table.
As soon as the count became very favorable, the signaler would then alert another member of the team by means of a gesture.
In the movie, the signaler crossed their hands behind their back.
It is unlikely that such a signal was ever used by the MIT team because it was too basic and too easy to spot.
One of the primary signalers on the MIT blackjack team was Jane Willis.
In the movie 21, Willis was portrayed by actress Kate Bosworth.
Willis was actually a graduate of Harvard and today she is a respected attorney.
Willis would give the signal which would then introduce the final piece of the MIT blackjack team puzzle, the Big Player.
The job of the was very simple and straightforward.
The Big Player came in when the count was very high and bet big.
As soon as the deck cooled off, the Big Player was signaled once again by the signaler and would cash out their winnings.
While the Big Player had to also understand card counting and keep a true running count at the blackjack table, counting cards was not their primary responsibility.
The Big Player was expected to control their emotions at all times.
Self-discipline was a hallmark of the Big Player.
Without it, the urge to gamble could easily take over and the MIT team would lose a large portion of their bankroll.
In addition to this, the Big Player had to be an expert in evading the scrutiny of the casino bosses hired to catch card counters.
The Lifestyle Of The Mit Blackjack Team 21 depicts the MIT blackjack team as living a free-wheeling, high roller lifestyle that was all champagne and lap dances.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Throughout their entire run, members of the team made every effort to fly under the radar.
There were several reasons for this.
The most important reason was the fear of being caught and banned from the casinos.
Casinos have never liked card counters, and they hire operatives who are given the specific task of catching card counters and punishing them.
These interrogations were often violent.
A blackjack player who suffered the wrath of an interrogation was usually very happy to leave the game html blackjack and stop playing blackjack forever.
If the students from the MIT blackjack team had been partying and throwing large sums of money around, they would have been in the crosshairs of the casino bosses.
Their risk of getting caught would have increased dramatically.
It was in their best interest to keep quiet, do their job, and leave as quickly as possible.
Another factor which prohibited the MIT team from leading a lavish lifestyle is that many of them were still students pursuing degrees that required serious academic study.
Getting kicked mit students blackjack book of the casino was one thing, but getting kicked out of MIT was more serious.
None of these brilliant students was going to risk this by staying drunk and partying all of the time.
The simple fact is that the members of the Here team were mit students blackjack book to view their blackjack team as a business.
They approached it with businesslike seriousness.
What Happened To The Mit Blackjack Team The team had mit students blackjack book very successful run before playing out near the year 2000.
Casinos were becoming smarter in identifying and catching card counters.
The greatest blow dealt by the casino was perhaps the introduction of facial identification software which can alert the casino bosses to the presence of a known counter.
By this time things had become so difficult for the MIT team that they were forced to don disguises in an attempt to conceal their identities.
This worked well enough in the beginning, but as the facial recognition software became more advanced the disguises no longer worked.
The bottom line is that there came a time when the risk no longer equaled the reward.
Besides, many mit students blackjack book the MIT team members had completed their degrees and landed valuable jobs in the private sector.
None of them were willing to ruin their career by being caught at card counting.
Little by little the team members dropped out and resumed a normal career.
There were a few team members however who continued to play well after the MIT team was dissolved.
John Chang was one of these.
Chang made a very successful living mit students blackjack book a professional card counter, and he actually still plays blackjack today.
Chang has been caught counting cards many times and most often is forced to use elaborate disguises in order to enter the casino.
A few others, like Mike Aponte and Jeff Ma, are still involved in the gambling business.
They no longer play professionally but use their skills in a variety of blackjack and gambling-related businesses.
For some, like Jane Willis, blackjack is just a fond memory of their youth.
No matter what they are doing now, the members of the MIT blackjack team can always look back upon a time when they were the masters of the casino.
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Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions is. Bill Kaplan founded and led the MIT Blackjack Team in the 1980s and co-managed the team with Massar and Chang from 1992 to 1993, during ...


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The MIT Blackjack Team - The Real Story!
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But in the 1990s the MIT Blackjack Team proved the punter didn't have to be the loser.. How a team of students beat the casinos. Kaplan had read a book about card counting and believed he could use a mathematical ...


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MIT Blackjack Team: Secrets to the Success of the Card-Counting Experts
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The students realized that blackjack was the only beatable game in casino. The MIT players were not the first to count cards.. in the mid-1990s is recounted in the book Bringing Down the House, by author Ben Mezrich.


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MIT Blackjack Team: Interview with Team Manager Johnny C
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MIT Blackjack Team - The Real Story Different to Book & Movie
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GREAT BLACKJACK PLAYERS: CONTENTS By Arnold Snyder By Arnold Snyder By RWM By RWM By RWM By Arnold Snyder In By RWM By RWM BLACKJACK TEAM PLAY: CONTENTS By Arnold Snyder Legal Issues, the Windsor Trial, and Conversation with Tommy Hyland By Arnold Snyder The Playing Strategies By Arnold Snyder By Arnold Snyder Circus, Caesars, and the Hilton Corp.
Munchkin From Blackjack Forum Vol.
Munchkin is the author ofand, like Johnny C.
Ed Thorp, author of Beat the Dealer, did his original computer analysis of blackjack at MIT on their computer.
Though there were players from other schools, who referred to it as the "Boston Team," the casinos labeled it the MIT team, and the name stuck.
Alumni from the MIT blackjack team have gone on to great things.
Joel Friedman was the pioneer of risk-averse blackjack betting strategies, which he wrote about in his landmark 1980 paper.
He also published in the Check this out Conference papers on the Mit students blackjack book Criterion and optimal simultaneous wagers.
Other MIT team players went on to create Windows 3, and Windows NT.
MIT blackjack team players have come and gone, mit students blackjack book team has morphed and split into factions, but for over twenty years there has been one constant—team manager Johnny C.
I sat down with John and his wife Laurie, who is another member of the MIT blackjack team.
Start of the MIT Blackjack Team RWM: How did the MIT blackjack team start?
JC: Resorts International opened in Atlantic City in 1978.
Some of the students at MIT formed a blackjack team to go play.
As those players developed more experience, they joined up with others.
There were players from other schools like NYU, Princeton, and Harvard.
The turning point, which made the blackjack team something to be reckoned with, was when a Harvard Business School graduate was co-running the team.
Before that people used all kinds of complicated counting systems.
I hate to think how many errors they made.
I joined the MIT blackjack team a couple years into it.
RWM: How did you get involved in the team?
JC: I went to an IAP class.
These were classes that people taught between semesters.
I learned about card counting, but realized that you needed money to make money.
The math department was really bad for undergraduates, so I had drifted into electrical engineering.
Not because Jewelry com blackjack had a passion for it, but because it was the best department.
Anyway, I went to this meeting about the at the student center.
I realized it was about blackjack, and I thought, "Oh yeah, this stuff again.
I practiced and got a little better.
A lot of people had expressed interest, but when spring break rolled around there were only five of us left.
As a result, I was able to squeeze into the car and I got to go to Atlantic City as part of the MIT blackjack team.
RWM: What year was this?
The first casino I went in was the Claridge, and it was overwhelming.
That would pay for a meal.
Then I was told by the team to go to the Park Place, and back count.
I was still making basic strategy errors, and I would make card counting mistakes.
I probably played 20 hours.
I got a lot better and had a lot of fun.
I checked out in the team classroom shortly after that.
Then the team leaders would watch you actually play blackjack in the casino.
You had to check out at nickels, then quarters, then blacks, and ultimately full stakes.
While I was checking out at blacks I got my first comp.
Wow, that was cool.
After that I was supporting the MIT team, getting everybody free rooms and stuff.
It seems that people who ended up doing the best had the least responsibility in the beginning.
In the beginning I was a playing BP, but then I made some basic strategy mistakes so the team removed that responsibility from me.
I just had to follow the signals.
I would count but I would have this safety net.
By removing the burden from people at the beginning they could learn without much stress.
RWM: Do you remember your first big score?
JC: I remember my first big hand.
At the DI you could split as many times as you wanted.
I had five hands.
After I split three or four times the casino manager came to watch.
He was laughing his ass off because this idiot Chinese kid was splitting tens.
After the shoe the casino manager came over and gave me his card.
RWM: What about your first big payday?
I first played on a team bank where we won a bunch, but then lost most of it back.
It was somewhat disappointing but I had a great time.
My first big win was on a mini bank.
I got to buy the calculator I wanted.
RWM: What was the biggest win for someone on the team?
One of our players had established himself as a big player at Caesars.
That weekend he brought his family to Vegas.
We allow players occasionally to do that.
He gets to his room and it was some tiny room way in the back and he felt very insulted.
I was talking to him on the phone and he said, "These guys are going to pay.
Then he calls me up and says, "Well, I made them pay.
RWM: What unit size did you play?
RWM: What was your maximum?
MIT Blackjack Team 2: S.
RWM: What was S.
JC: Strategic Investments, or S.
RWM: How big was the team bank?
We recruited about 40 people, and we won pretty well at the beginning.
LC: We were on the West Coast, and we were just card counting and winning.
The guys on the East Coast were playing all these high e.
We just cared about winning.
We called them the "least coast.
What exactly is certainty equivalent?
MIT Blackjack Team Compensation JC: You can find this on the Internet, but essentially it is a variance-adjusted expectation.
Say you had a choice of fifty cents or a coin flip for a dollar.
Which would you take?
The learn more here is the same, but a rational person would take the sure money.
Would you take a half million sure thing versus a million on the flip of a coin?
You get nothing if you lose the coin flip.
As the numbers get bigger you become more risk averse at blackjack betting.
The certainty equivalent for that situation is that number where you become indifferent.
Even though the expectation of one is greater, you have to subtract off something for the variance.
There are four parameters associated with the c.
One is your risk tolerance.
We preset that for the MIT team, and people can invest more or less based on how risk averse they are.
We would pick 0.
The other factors are bank size, expectation, and variance.
RWM: These seem like tremendously important issues for blackjack teams.
How do you pay people equitably?
JC: The way the MIT blackjack team changed over the years has reflected those concerns.
Initially we set a time target of say, six months, and paid people only if we won.
We found that if we were unlucky at the beginning we would only have a few die-hards left playing.
Typically those diehards were people with big investments, so they were playing to protect their investment.
Then we thought we could solve that if everyone was equally invested.
We tried the socialist approach, and tried to get people to commit to trips at the beginning of the team bank.
People would still drag their feet, so we had higher shares of win if you committed to more.
But a higher share of nothing is still nothing.
We also tried a team compensation system based on getting your maximum bet out.
It is important to encourage people to put the money out.
But some people are just afraid.
RWM: Have you finally found something that works?
What we do now is pay people a salary per trip based on what we think their play is worth.
Then we pay them a share of the win when we break the team bank.
LC: The other problem is — the cool part is gone.
When we first started this was the coolest thing I ever heard of.
For the existing players you have to make it worth their while.
MIT Blackjack Team Management Issues JC: One thing I think about a lot is how to structure blackjack teams, or organizations in general, so the motivations are right.
That is a really hard problem.
I like to have a philosophy to rely upon, a way of handling things so they handle themselves.
When you have a large blackjack team you have interpersonal conflicts all the time.
I want to remove that as much as possible.
LC: We have MIT blackjack team players who will never call the BP in even if the count goes up.
A disgruntled player can wreak havoc with a blackjack team.
Disgruntled players have caused us big problems in the past.
Someone sold a list of our team members to Griffin.
Our business does not work with people who are not happy.
If you treat your employees like they are working at McDonalds you are never going to make money.
Most blackjack players are scrupulously honest and standup people.
But some people who disagree with you, and feel mistreated, are going to make you pay.
They may just quit playing or they may steal from you.
I want to avoid that as much as possible.
To the extent that I can, with the MIT blackjack team, I try to make things up front and fair.
They all have worked in the real world, in law firms.
They praise the team players, and tell them how valuable and appreciated they are.
The breakup of our group was largely because of my insensitivity to those concerns.
And it is a large part of why the MIT team players are now working for the Greeks.
RWM: How did S.
John was very disillusioned with blackjack teams.
He wanted to start a new team bank but he said everyone had to be retested, and everyone had to put some investment in the bank.
I had to drag them kicking and screaming into investing in the team.
I wanted them to feel some responsibility for their results.
One of the players please click for source out an email saying the main objective of the bank was to have fun.
I objected very strongly.
No man can have two masters.
If the objectives are to have fun and make money there is going to be a conflict sooner or later.
A blackjack team is a business.
If we are going to do it, we are doing it to make money.
RWM: How big was the team bank?
RWM: So you had half of one percent of the bank?
LC: Yes, but it was a lot to me.
That was all I had in my savings.
I was a poor kid just out of school.
So the new rules were, everyone had to put money in the bank, everyone had to be checked out again, and no more shuffle tracking, ace sequencing, or anything other than straight counting.
More Blackjack Team Management Issues JC: I saw too much of people fooling themselves about those games.
I looked at our results on those games and found them to be near go here />LC: We started doing just big player call-in.
LC: We started winning like pigs.
JC: I think the MIT blackjack team was a victim of its own success.
As soon as interblock multi hand blackjack were making a boatload of money the attitude became, "I know how to do this.
What do we need that investor for?
Your rate of growth is much less.
RWM: How do you recruit people for the team?
That was basically it.
Then it was word of mouth.
Anybody at MIT has the intelligence and skills to learn blackjack.
Today, we get people that are recommended by friends.
No one does, but they seem to be more like that than others.
Also, they rarely have good acts.
LC: Our checkouts have gotten easier over the years.
When I started it was horrendous.
RWM: What was your first check out?
LC: I had to play ten shoes flawlessly.
The dealer would try to steal from you?
The reason we added it was because I had a bad experience in Czechoslovakia.
LC: The first seven shoes were without payoffs and the last three were with payoffs and color change.
The last shoe definitely has payoff errors.
JC: So many people fail on the final round.
RWM: Ten shoes had to be perfect.
JC: You were allowed a few errors.
RWM: How many errors?
JC: Maybe five errors out of ten shoes.
LC: No, you had to be off by a full unit for it to count as a betting error.
RWM: So you were allowed five betting errors in ten shoes, and five playing errors?
JC: No playing errors.
No basic strategy errors.
LC: Index numbers were a separate read article />People are not required to know the numbers to checkout.
RWM: Not even insurance?
JC: Well, they knew insurance.
RWM: What about 16 against a 10?
JC: We modified basic strategy just a little bit because they are going to play only positive shoes.
They had a +2 basic strategy.
People make mistakes when they start dealing with index numbers, and they play slower.
It can confuse their count.
They were just out there betting it playing basic strategy.
RWM: I think this is going to bust a lot of the beliefs that texas holdem tournament payout structure have about the way all this works.
JC: They think all the money is in the "secret stuff" like shuffle tracking and ace sequencing.
But you won millions of dollars just counting and playing basic strategy.
I want to go back to the test.
Is this the first test?
Or continue reading there a written test for basic strategy first.
The written test is drawing the basic strategy chart.
There is more than just the kitchen table checkout.
When you deal to someone you see how shaky, or not shaky, they are.
Initially it was just counting and betting.
One time I mit students blackjack book in the Bahamas, and I had a big stack of greens, black and purples that I colored up.
The dealer made a big mistake.
Instead of just taking it, I was confused and was just staring at it.
I thought, we never practice this.
I went to Paulson and bought a bunch of chips.
We made this part of the checkout.
RWM: Do you ever go in the casino and check people out at the table?
There are various levels of checking out.
This is part of the reason we just played counting games.
I got rid of all the other games because I felt confident in our ability to play a quality shoe game.
All the other games have this judgment involved.
How good are you at estimating this?
How good are you at remembering and recording that?
There are so many ways to piss away your money in those games.
LC: Which we did.
Maybe they were only playing a break-even game.
RWM: You were saying you had a test at home, and then a test in the casino.
What would that entail?
Can they handle the attention?
Can they handle the real environment?
We made them bet it as precisely as they could.
People who are good, I would ask, "How much did you buy in for and how did you do?
Some people are really intelligent and can do everything in continue reading classroom.
We would tell them to just play some more and get more comfortable.
RWM: How do you know if people are honest?
What I looked for was, as you deal checkouts would players own up to their mistakes.
Or was there blame shifting?
You measure their character by the way they behave.
And they gave us many warning signs.
RWM: Did you polygraph them?
JC: No, we just stopped playing with them.
One of these guys was married but was always carrying on with other women.
That rubbed me the wrong way.
RWM: Do you have spotters go in to watch the BP?
JC: Yes, I spoke to him about that.
His attitude is that they are not good enough to tell if they are getting cheated.
RWM: Did you guys have a similar rule?
There are also problems with those games because of the cut card effect and preferential shuffling.
People are trained to do something.
We have high standards for performance, and we check people out with those standards.
We have removed as much judgment from the play as possible.
We found that when you put judgment into it, it becomes a slippery slope.
People start tipping, and it may be perfectly justified, but then you get someone who lacks proper judgment and they piss away the money.
But then you get people who wreck their hands in order to catch the ace.
The last card comes out that they believe is in front of the ace and suddenly they take no more hits.
So a congratulate, blackjack dealer blog does stands on hard seven.
Some people will do that.
They just do what they think they ought to do.
But their conversion rate might be horrible.
You might fool yourself on the sequence.
Was it seven of diamonds and eight of hearts?
Or was it seven of hearts and the eight of diamonds?
Once you start to be unsure about the cards the possibilities explode and here can be betting into nothing.
We had a small group of people on the west coast who were trained just to count cards.
We had one experienced player out here and she recruited a bunch of people, mostly from JPL.
She taught them to count, the MIT way.
Back east we had a lot of people who had been counting for a long time.
Many of them were already burned out and were looking for other methods of play that might avoid some heat.
Shuffle tracking was something that we had done for many years, but the casinos had made the shuffles more complicated.
Our success with those shuffles was mixed.
We never did much analysis on error rates.
There are many ways you can make errors and how much does that cost you?
The East Coast team people were doing this shuffle tracking and ace sequencing.
We had various methods of putting a value on these games.
Our success with these so-called "advanced games" was very mixed.
RWM: Do you go out on the road much?
JC: Disguises are a last resort.
RWM: Your Griffin and Biometrica pages have pictures of you dressed as a woman.
How did that happen?
JC: The first time was in the Bahamas.
What kind of disguise could I have?
I did try a fake beard and mustache once.
I had this big bushy wig and huge beard.
Customers who were playing just looked at me and laughed.
So one of my teammates said I should try being a woman.
She had stuff I could wear.
She made me up and gave me a hat, dress, pantyhose.
The other players said it looked good but they were all laughing.
I played like that but nobody said anything.
The casino people were totally oblivious.
RWM: You tried this again in Atlantic City.
She did have a wig for me, but the problem with the wig is it adds to my height, and I think I was wearing heels.
So I became this six-foot tall Asian woman.
When I was sitting it was okay, but as soon as I stood up people were like, "Whoa.
It just happened that an Asian woman sat down next to me.
Then I look at my hands next to hers and I thought, "Ooo, not good.
It tuned out that when I was noticing this, surveillance was noticing the same thing, and they just busted up laughing.
RWM: How did this end up in the Washington Post?
JC: They sent out a reporter to do an article, the thrust of which was that casinos bring scam artists and lowlifes to the community.
I ended up being the lead into this long feature piece in the Style section.
The reporter talked to the surveillance people at the Taj.
They showed him the pictures of me.
I think the first phrase of the article was something like, "striking from a distance," depicting this elegant Asian woman playing at the high limit tables.
It makes their day, if not their week or month.
RWM: Have you played much out of the country?
JC: I played in England, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, France, and the Caribbean.
RWM: Do something blackjack wheel weight for of them stick out as particularly good or bad experiences?
JC: Austria has the worst games.
I was cheated in Prague.
RWM: How did they cheat?
JC: They short shoed me.
A French guy owned the casino.
This gives the casino a higher edge.
JC: Maybe five years ago.
RWM: What did you do?
JC: I was kind of stupid.
I went to this casino and the limits were higher than the other places.
We played a bit and broke even.
The casino offered us a dinner comp so we went to eat.
After dinner there was an empty table.
The casino manager said, "This table is just for you.
What limit would you like?
The shuffle was very easy.
I start playing and the count goes up and up and up.
At the jugar blackjack casino of the shoe it was +15.
I tracked that and cut it to the front.
At the end of that shoe it was +15 again.
By the end of the third shoe I said, "I want to see those cards.
I saw him furtively reaching into his coat pocket and pulling out the cards to add to the shoe.
I yelled, "I want to see those cards on top.
The guy was very shaky afterwards.
I should have said, "I want my money back.
RWM: How much did they get you for?
I knew I could beat this game.
Or, at least I thought I could.
So I continued to play once all the cards were in the shoe.
Well, then they were completely ruthless with the payoffs.
I caught a ton of mistakes, and they were always against me, even on obvious hands.
But after two or three days of this it finally dawned on me, they were just ripping me off every chance they to deal blackjack dealer in />Especially if you try to have some kind of act.
I finally got it when I caught about the 15th error in a session.
I said, "You mispaid the bet.
What is going on?
RWM: That was an expensive lesson.
Sure, if the dealer is always ripping you off, and there is never a mistake in your favor, then you can be pretty damn sure what is going on.
RWM: Does being in Griffin affect you in foreign casinos?
JC: Being in Griffin scares me when playing overseas.
If the casino has that information, and gives it to law enforcement, they see those pictures and those kinds of descriptions of blackjack players.
Their English may not be that good.
They just decide we must be criminals and deserve to be treated as such.
In a third world country being treated as such is pretty brutal.
RWM: How did that happen?
The casino found him in Griffin and they wanted their money back or they would have him thrown in jail.
He said he had won the money fair and square.
They called the Bahamian police.
So they threw him in jail, which was like a dungeon.
There were rats running around, and he was in there with his wife.
We paid some Bahamian lawyer to get it back.
This happened seven years ago.
This was at the Marriott.
MIT Team Players Carrying Cash RWM: There was a recent article in Wired about the MIT blackjack team.
When rather smartslot ap9617 phrase were going from Boston to Vegas, how much cash would you take on the airplane?
There may have been situations where someone took a quarter million or more.
Especially coming back from Vegas.
We had one player bring over a million dollars back from Vegas on one trip.
RWM: How did he carry it?
JC: Just packed it in bricks, put it in his carry-on, and brought it home.
Early on we did have problems going through airport security with cash.
They would open a bag and it was an amount of money that would scare a lot of people.
They would call the airport police, or the state police, and you have a plane to catch.
RWM: Did you have any money confiscated?
JC: Sort of, but not really.
I was traveling with this girl who had no experience, but she was supremely confident.
I was in a hurry and I asked her to carry twenty or forty thousand.
I went through airport security with no problem.
She got pulled aside.
She had put the money in a money belt that had metal in it.
They found the money and they asked her to explain it.
She was a college student.
She started lying and said her grandfather gave it to her for tuition.
It rang false, so the state police came in and they called the DEA.
I called the team and asked them to call the lawyers.
There was no money in the bags, but I said, "I think I want a lawyer.
He confiscated my bags.
Our lawyer said this happens frequently.
I think that is really corrupt.
It makes the DEA and other people that do this as bad as the criminals themselves.
Anyway, the lawyers showed up within twenty minutes.
They told them we were just blackjack team players.
RWM: What do you do now?
I talked to one player I know who says he never has any problems.
They look at it and say, "No problem.
RWM: Does it help to carry chips?
Our first incident was exactly that situation.
Security called the police.
We happened to have an assistant DA with us.
She was the girlfriend of one of the players.
She spoke to the police and showed her ID so they let us go.
She was later reprimanded for undue use of her authority, and there was an investigation into the incident.
RWM: Dealing with these large amounts of cash, do click ever misplace it or lose it?
He was training all these people, maybe 40 players.
He just left the money in the classroom.
The janitor found it and gave it to MIT.
They suddenly got very lawyerly.
We got the money back fairly cheaply.
I think it cost three or four thousand for the lawyers.
LC: I have a story about that.
When John was going to move to California I went back to help him pack and clean out his apartment.
The first night I was sitting at his cluttered desk.
On the desk was a jar.
I opened it up and saw a bunch of chips.
I said, "Oh, this is where you keep your chips.
I thought this was a fluke.
Then I was cleaning out the closet and I saw a dirty, old, fanny pack in the corner.
He started going through the boxes and found an envelope.
This is bad even for me.
I have never met anyone like this.
I said, "Are you insane?
This is it for sure.
He said he had a slight feeling he was a little short.
JC: I had another incident.
I had finally moved to a nice apartment after living in these student hovels for years.
I went on a trip to Vegas for two weeks.
While I was gone the hose to my washer exploded and flooded my apartment.
The water started going into the units beneath mine.
The police broke in.
I had a green felt on my kitchen table with chips and cards.
They turned off the water, and I guess they started looking around.
In my bedroom they found a bunch of fake IDs I had made.
Why were the police in my bedroom?
If you read the police report it said they were attempting to locate the owner to inform him of the situation.
So the police ransacked my place.
They threw everything off the shelves and emptied all the drawers.
I got home about five days later.
The door was padlocked and I could see the mess through a hole in the door.
When the neighbor across the hall told me there were ten cops in my apartment, I knew they had found the money, so I called up the lawyers.
They told me not to stay there and they said they would call the police in the morning and let them know that I would go turn myself in.
I went to the station and got fingerprinted and photographed.
They charged me with having the fake IDs.
They were investigating whether I was involved in some Asian gang.
I was asking about my fourth amendment rights.
People seem to be taking more precautions to avoid trouble.
RWM: Have you been physically abused in the casinos?
JC: The casinos can kind of do whatever they want.
In Atlantic City they are more regulated so they feel more constrained about doing things.
In Las Vegas, the Venetian, in particular, is filled with Atlantic City people who have had these constraints removed.
I think they have gone overboard in incidents that happened to Laurie and others.
Laurie was handcuffed and dragged in the back room.
There really is no need.
I suppose there are some people who will put up an argument but if someone tells me they know who I am I just leave.
In the Rio I was playing and they recognized me.
Some boss backed me off.
He grabbed me by the arm and I just started to walk away.
The next thing I know the little security blackjack simulator excel attacks me and throws me up against the wall.
I was just shocked.
He started ranting that I was guilty.
RWM: Guilty of what?
Then he told me to leave, which is what I was trying to do when he grabbed me.
RWM: Did you contact a lawyer?
At any major casino the agents suck up to the executives when they show up.
I want to see your ID, I want this, I want that, are you in the book?
RWM: You called gaming in the past?
They wanted to know who I was, and all kinds of information about me, as if that mattered.
They just refused to cash them because they were harassing me.
RWM: Two of the very high profile court cases of blackjack players were people on the MIT team.
The case at the Monte Carlo was a good result, but the case at Caesars was quite a terrible result.
RWM: Do you think this was bad lawyering, or the Nevada courts system that did you in?
My guess is our lawyer represented our player as this poor medical student who was making money playing for this group and he deserved something for his abuse.
Maybe the jury thought that was a good amount.
I think they were ignorant of what a reasonable damage award might be.
What is an appropriate award?
In this case, Caesars makes half a million dollars a day, every day.
If the award had been half a million dollars all the lawyers would be jumping on the bandwagon to represent us.
Lessons of the MIT Blackjack Team RWM: Have you branched out to other games?
I feel disappointed about that.
When players split off because they wanted their own money to grow faster, I felt they were very short sighted.
In any business you shoot for having more money so you can grow.
If you start out with a million-dollar bank and make it grow you can end up with tens of millions.
I think we really passed up that kind of opportunity.
We could have gone into many things.
We certainly had the brains and talent to investigate these other things.
But our selfishness stopped us.
One thing I really feel we should have done when we made a lot of money was earmark some of it for research and development.
I argued for that, but people felt I was trying to take money out of their pockets.
Then we had some bad experiences with it.
We mit students blackjack book earmark a small amount of money for some things, but it was poorly managed, and we ended up spending money on stuff that was useless.
I talked to people who had made tons of money doing other things.
These are guys who have made tens and hundreds of millions.
RWM: Do you still have this desire to have a big blackjack team out there, rather than going on trips with three or four of you?
RWM: What would you say to the guy out there in Peoria who has studied the books, learned to count cards, and wants to become a professional blackjack player.
JC: I would not be very optimistic about it.
You can make some money, but making it a profession is tough.
Most of the professional blackjack players who are successful had initial success.
RWM: You mean they caught a good fluctuation when they first started?
Then they got better and adapted.
If you have enough good experience behind you, then you can withstand the bad stuff.
You set your own hours.
You are your own boss.
People who are just starting are going to make mistakes.
In The Color of Money, Paul Newman says, "Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.
RWM: What would you tell that person to do?
JC: He should try to team up with other players.
LC: Being part of the MIT blackjack team taught me a lot of things.
For someone fresh out of college this can be a great experience.
JC: There is a lot of stuff in blackjack that is useful in other aspects of your life.
Analyzing a game and then putting out the money requires brains and courage.
Running a team requires presence and an ability to deal with people.
Withstanding negative fluctuations requires confidence and perseverance.
I know quite a number of wealthy people who used to play blackjack.
RWM: What gave you the idea to analyze Pai Gow?
JC: I went to UNLV and was looking at papers in their special collection on gambling.
I found an analysis by John Gwynn on Pai Gow.
Then I verified it and came up with a strategy to beat it.
You would never be able to come up with it from first principles.
I came up with a strategy, and then found out that a former teammate, who was then at Microsoft, had come up with a set of rules for that strategy.
I called him and told him my idea.
He had written a program that would test you on the optimal strategy.
I spent a couple weeks at his place, and then I played 500 or 700 hands without a mistake.
I thought I was good enough.
Well, yes and no.
I was good enough to set the hands, but not good enough to check the payoffs.
The dealers flip the tiles and pay or take really fast.
I was looking for any excuse not to play.
Then I ran into a buzz saw at a card room near San Francisco.
I was losing pretty big and finally won a hand.
After that I think they ripped me off every chance they could.
After that they all started betting it up on me.
RWM: What books do you take with you on a blackjack trip?
Tommy Hyland turned me onto that.
I was in the Huntington Press offices and talking to Tommy on my cell phone and he said, "Hey, can you pick me up a copy of the American Casino Guide?
RWM: What do your parents think of your profession?
JC: My mom wants me to buy a Radio Shack.
Whenever we go in one she says, "You should own one of these stores.
You know so much about all this stuff.
His brother and sister both have doctorates.
Now… LC: His dad visited her and said, "Oh, she has such a hard life.
She owns her own clinic, she has to do the books and deal with the personalities.
She has two kids.
You and John have it so easy.
John has plenty of money, he spends a lot of time with our son, and he has the respect of his peers.
We have a great life.
There have got to be a hundred other things casinos spend more money on.
The casinos buy a two-foot thick metal door to protect their house, when all we do is check to see whether the door is locked.
Even the best of us are far from that.
The most profitable casinos take our action the best.
This is the reason blackjack became so popular to begin with.
In general casinos that spend a lot of money on card counter catchers just drive away the legitimate suckers.
Players feel the paranoia and suspicion and take a hike.
In the end by being afraid of the 0.
To read more about his accomplishments, see.
To read more about professional blackjack teams, see the Return to © 2004-2005 Blackjack Forum Online, All Rights Reserved The Story Behind the Hype on the MIT Blackjack Card Counting Team Long-time MIT blackjack team manager Johnny C discusses the reality behind the MIT team's training practices, playing strategies, successes and failures in this Blackjack Forum interview in its professional gamblers at blackjack series.

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