you read the book, Bringing Down the House (written by Ben Mzrich, or seen the
movie “21” produced by and acted in Kevin Spacey and Jim Sturgess you’ve
likely heard of the MIT Team.
ruining the book or movie we will discuss some of the happenings at the MIT and
was well known in the mid to late 70’s that MIT had a group of mathematicians,
scientists, and human behavior students that decided to take a stab at busting
were various groups at both schools, and they competed against one another.
groups dissipated in the early 80’s with a couple from each team joining forces with a man named Bill
Kaplan, he had created a team that was somewhat successful, but soon burned out.
Another guy named JP Massar also known as Mr. M. was deeply involved with
the blackjack. He soon joined forces with Bill Kaplan as his team was struggling
with different counting techniques and inappropriate betting etc.
Massar met up with Kaplan and asked for his opinion on what his team was
broke down what the problem was and agreed to create a new team, but the team
would need to follow his guidelines. He and Massar played and created the first
‘Bank” of the team. It wasn’t
long the team was making between $150-$170 per hour.
they needed to remain somewhat inconspicuous so they recruited new players as
necessary. By the late 80’s they
had 30 players involved.
book Busting Vegas better describes the story, whereas the movie ‘21’ and
the book Bringing Down the House sticks with certain individuals involved. The
story in the movie is also hollywoodized as there are some aspects that did not
team really took off in the early 90’s making anywhere from $100,000-$500,000
per trip. The select group began
changing their appearances in order to avoid detection.
The main group consisted of Jeff Ma, John Chang, Mike Aponte, Jane
Willis, and Laurie Tsao. Once the group hit the tables, each member had a role.
Some would be the high rollers, others the degenerate lowlife, the bimbo etc.
Each member had a specific responsibility; they were a signaler, bettor or
monitor. Signals included brushing hair out of their face to signal a hot shoe,
or leaving for the restroom if things were cold. They also used code words that
represented the count, Pool for +8 (eight ball), +9 was Cats (nine lives) etc.
team or select members were soon figured out, and the rest is history, as
casinos began changing the rules adding more decks, using cutoffs etc. The group
certainly made millions, and today each has their own story to tell.
facts and myths
of the team were every beaten up
Ma was not spending is tuition at the tables he came from a well to do family
The group was not all from MIT
They did not use strippers to cash out money for them.
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