Most never gambled again, but some of them maintained an avid interest in card counting and remained in Cambridge, Massachusetts. With its leading players banned from most casinos and other more lucrative investment opportunities opening up at the end of the recession, Strategic Investments paid out its substantial earnings to players and investors and dissolved its partnership on December 31, Beyond the basic strategy of when to hit and when to stand, individual players can use card counting, shuffle tracking or hole carding to improve their odds.
It involved three players: While originally marketed as nonfiction, Mezrich later admitted characters and stories in the book were mostly fictive and composites of players and stories he had heard about through hearsay.
Upon returning to Cambridge, Kaplan detailed the problems he observed to Massar. Using funds he received on graduation as Harvard's outstanding scholar-athlete, Kaplan generated more than a 35 fold rate of return in less than nine months of play. Other[ edit ] Several members of the two teams have used their expertise to start public speaking careers as well as businesses teaching others how to count cards.
At least 70 people played on the team in some capacity either as counters, Big Players, or in various supporting roles over that time span. The team tested potential members to find out if they were suitable candidates and, if they were, the team thoroughly trained the new members for free.
Kaplan observed Massar and his teammates playing for a weekend in Atlantic City. They traveled to Atlantic City during the spring break to win their fortune.
Not feeling he could continue to manage the team successfully while they traveled throughout Europe and elsewhere, encountering different rules, playing conditions, and casino practices, Kaplan parted ways with his teammates, who then splintered into multiple small playing teams in pursuit of more favorable conditions throughout the world.
He continued for another year or so as an occasional player and investor in the team, now being run by Massar, Chang and Bill Rubin, a player who joined the team in While the profits rolled in, so did the "heat" from the casinos, and many MIT Team members were identified and barred.
Strategy and techniques[ edit ] The team often recruited students through flyers and the players' friends from college campuses across the country. Having played and run successful teams sinceKaplan reached a point in late where he could not show his face in any casino without being followed by the casino personnel in search of his team members.
Kaplan enhanced Francesco's team methods and used them for the MIT team. Given the fortuitous timing Kaplan's parting with his Las Vegas teamhe agreed to go in the hopes of putting together a new local team that he could train and manage.
The BBC documentary, Making Millions the Easy Way, addressed the Bringing Down the House period as part of the renowned "Horizon" strand directed by Johanna Gibbontold the story of a Strategic Investments breakaway group, and revealed the science behind the winning formula.
He or she thus knows the probability of getting a high card 10,J,Q,K,A as compared to a low card 2,3,4,5,6. Since the early s a large number of card counting schemes have been published, and casinos have adjusted the rules of play in an attempt to counter the most popular methods.
He would make a massive bet, and win big.
Massar, known as "Mr. He introduced himself to the speaker, Bill Kaplan, a Harvard MBA graduate who had run a successful blackjack team in Las Vegas three years earlier.
These members were replaced by fresh players from MIT, Harvard, and other colleges and companies, and play continued. The idea behind all card counting is that, because a low card is usually bad and a high card usually good, and as cards already seen since the last shuffle cannot be at the top of the deck and thus drawn, the counter can determine the high and low cards that have already been played.
Card counting Blackjack can be legally beaten by a skilled player. Never before had casinos throughout the world seen such an organized and scientific onslaught directed at the game. While the MIT team's card counting techniques can give players an overall edge of about 2 percent, some of the MIT team's methods have been established as gaining players an 21st century blackjack strategy edge of about 4 percent.
Massar, and John Chang decided to capitalize on the opening of Foxwoods Casino in nearby Connecticutwhere they planned to train new players. Fully trained players had to pass an intense "trial by fire," consisting of playing through 8 six-deck shoes with almost perfect play, and then undergo further training, supervision, and similar check-outs in actual casino play until they could become full stakes players.
At various times, there were nearly 30 players playing simultaneously at different casinos around the world, including Native American casinos throughout the country, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Canada, and island locations. The spotter checked when the deck went positive with card counting, the controller would bet small constantly, wasting money, and verifying the spotter's count.
The team played on and off the next few years but interest waned as casino conditions, player exhaustion, and weakened management focus caused the group to lose players and finally stop playing.
First MIT blackjack "bank"[ edit ] In late Novembera professional blackjack player contacted one of the card-counting students, J. He noted that each of the players used a different, and overcomplicated, card counting strategy. Semyon Dukach of the Amphibians founded Blackjack Science. They recruited more MIT students as players at the January blackjack class.
The team concept enabled players and investors to leverage both their time and money, reducing their "risk of ruin" while also making it more difficult for casinos to detect card counting at their tables. The detectives obtained copies of recent MIT yearbooks and added photographs from it to their image database. The event was featured in an October Cigar Aficionado article, which said the winner earned the unofficial title "Most Feared Man in the Casino Business".
They played intermittently through May and increased their capital four-fold, but were nonetheless more like a loose group sharing capital than a team with consistent strategies and quality control. Per the terms of the investment offering, players and investors split the profits with players paid in proportion to their playing hours and computer simulated win rates.
Ten players, including Kaplan, Massar, Jonathan, Goose, and 'Big Dave' aka 'coach', to distinguish from the Dave in the first round played on this bank. Uston's book on blackjack team play, Million Dollar Blackjack, was published shortly before the founding of the first MIT team. Jeff Ma and Henry Houhformer players on the team, appear in the movie as casino dealersand Bill Kaplan appears in a cameo in the background of the underground Chinese gambling parlor scene.