🖐 How a Founder of the MIT Blackjack Team Got Rich Beating Casinos

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When it comes to gambling, the casino always comes out on top - right? But in the s the MIT Blackjack Team proved the punter didn't have.


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With the Encore Boston Harbor Casino throwing open its doors, I wondered: Do you have to be an MIT-level genius to pull off a scheme like this.


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The students realized that blackjack was the only beatable game in casino gambling — and beat it they did. By the s, the team — whose.


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Find out how the MIT students beat the casinos at playing Blackjack! Learn Blackjack tips from an expert to improve your game!


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When it comes to gambling, the casino always comes out on top - right? But in the s the MIT Blackjack Team proved the punter didn't have.


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The MIT Blackjack Team was a group of students and ex-students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Business School, Harvard University, and other leading colleges who used card counting techniques and more sophisticated strategies to beat casinos at blackjack worldwide.


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Fifty thousand dollars strapped to each thigh. MIT being MIT — the world's premier stable of brilliant young math and science prodigies many of whom had always been a little too smart for their own good — it wasn't long before the blackjack club had reached an elite level of play. It will be up to me to prove that I'm not a drug dealer. But hollow crutches are a lot harder to explain to the FBI than Velcro. I'm ferrying money for Kevin Lewis, one of the best card counters alive. Blackjack itself is a simple game. At the helm was a man in his mid-thirties with frighteningly bad teeth and equally poor hygiene, a former assistant professor who went by the name Micky Rosa. Typically, he adopts the pose of a drunken millionaire who has green to burn. There, he was presented to a roomful of students he recognized from his math and science courses — the core of the MIT Blackjack Team. In response, the casinos have developed equally sophisticated means of identifying, tracking, and eliminating their enemies: i. Terminal C is buzzing and chaotic, an over-air-conditioned hive of college students escaping Boston for a long weekend. They had learned to identify and contain the enemy. At first, Lewis was skeptical. The guard doesn't seem to be bothered by the bulges under my clothes. There's enough money hidden under my clothes to buy a two-bedroom condo. Atlantic City has more "civilized" rules: The casinos can't bar card counters, however they can annoy and harass them with constant shuffles, dealer changes, and other countermeasures. You know, James Bond kind of stuff. The Friday night Neon Express. Likewise, since a natural blackjack 21 pays 1. To combat the card counters, the majority of casinos use six decks, deal no more than two-thirds of the way through, and utilize thousands of video cameras to watch everyone they perceive as a potential threat. Dressed in a gray sweatshirt and khaki shorts, Lewis looks like a stereotypical college student. Along the way, he amassed a small fortune, which he keeps in neat stacks of Benjamins in a closet by his bed. Scott Schafer Fingering an earlobe: "What's the count? He was chased off a riverboat in Louisiana and narrowly avoided being thrown into a Bahamian jail. Their system was so successful, it took nearly two years before the casinos began to catch on — engaging in a cat-and-mouse war with the well-trained MIT conspirators. My heart rate has almost returned to normal when I spot Lewis standing near the back of the line of college kids waiting to board flight He doesn't look up, waiting until I am right next to him to show me the edges of a mischievous grin. To the casinos, there's no difference between legal card counters like Lewis, who use their brains to beat the game, and the brash, increasingly high tech cheaters who steal tens of millions of dollars from the resorts every year. Funded, in part, by shadowy investors and trained in mock casinos set up in classrooms, dingy apartments, and underground warehouses across Boston, Lewis and his gang used their smarts to give themselves an incredible advantage at the only truly beatable game in the pit. An entire industry has been spawned by the belief that a mix of mathematics and practice can unlock the casinos' coffers. Scott Schafer Hand in pocket: "The deck is really hot — bet big. If the dealer busts goes over 21 , the player automatically wins. He's taking me back to his glory days when he ran a card team that hit Vegas for millions. Bald white men with glasses, hunched over the cards, scrapping out their tiny advantage. This amiable kid lived a double life for more than four years. A Spotter avoids detection by resolutely sticking to the minimum bet on each hand. Hundred-dollar bills, all over the apartment. And the sheriff has a thousand eyes, covering every inch of the sky. The truth is, Kevin Lewis isn't his real name. For six years in the s, Lewis was a principal member of the MIT Blackjack Team, an infamous cabal of hyper-geniuses and anarchistic whiz kids who devised a method of card counting that took the gaming world completely by surprise. He was audited by the IRS, tailed by private investigators, and had his picture faxed around the globe. Unlike roulette and craps, blackjack has a memory ; past play can affect future outcomes. And yet they always seemed to have tons of money. Lewis was surprised when they asked to meet him late at night in a classroom on the Infinite Corridor, the long hallway that runs down the center of the MIT campus. His features are ethnic, but beyond that, indeterminate. In the beginning, it was more of an after-school club, a place for mathematical geniuses to play cards and pontificate on card-counting theory. On paper, the theory looks pretty good. As Rosa explained it, the team had been around for nearly two decades. I want to turn and run, but the security guard is staring at me, and I have no choice: I show him my ticket.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Individual card counters who follow Thorp's system and succeed quickly find themselves first unwelcome and then extinct: In gaming parlance, they're dinosaurs. The Back-Spotter can count cards without even being seated at the blackjack table.

In Las Vegas, he was something more akin to a rock mit casino blackjack. In Las Vegas, the casino has the right to bar mit casino blackjack it wants. His voice is full of bravado, a stark contrast to his appearance.

Contact wiredlabs wired. This is an airport; they can drag me to a windowless room in the basement and handcuff me to a chair. It's an interesting analogy, yet it falls severely short. Casinos screen for counters by watching for dramatic rises or drops in bets — a sure sign that a deck has gone hot or cold.

I know the chips will show up on the X-ray machine, but mit casino blackjack if the guard makes me open the backpack, he won't realize how much money the yellow hunks of plastic represent. I am dressed like everyone else: baggy jeans, baseball hat, scuffed sneakers.

Both had dropped out of MIT, and neither one seemed to be interested in getting a job. So the enemy did what every good https://rating.freegamesmoney.site/blackjack/odds-of-winning-blackjack-in-vegas.html does: It got smarter.

By keeping track of the past, goes the theory, it's possible to predict, and thus take advantage of, the future. He could be Asian, Latino, even Italian or Russian. Beginning with the publication of Edward Thorp's Beat the Dealer , back in , an arsenal of card-counting systems has bolstered the popular notion that blackjack is the one game in the casino where the player can have an edge over the house. Andre Martinez and Steve Fisher their names, like those of the other members of the MIT Blackjack Team, have been changed were brilliant kids with a shared anarchistic streak: Martinez had mysteriously left MIT his senior year; Fisher had likewise quit with a semester to go before graduation. He dated a cheerleader from the Los Angeles Rams and got drunk with Playboy centerfolds. He partied with Michael Jordan and Howard Stern. Playing against a single deck dealt down to the bottom, in a controlled environment without supervision, Thorp discovered card counting to be a sure thing. In recent years, their after-school hobby had become a business. Of course, if these conditions ever existed, they certainly don't anymore. A hundred thousand dollars, in 10 bricks of hundreds, taped across my upper back. My anxiety increases as I reach the security checkpoint. A player armed with Thorp's book, hundreds of hours of practice, and a good head for numbers can still eke out a small profit from a six-deck shoe — but since card-counting strategy relies on the player's ability to raise and lower his bet to take advantage of the count, it doesn't take long for the casino to catch on. The pit boss is onto us! In this story Robin Hood is stealing from the rich to give to himself. The player gets cards, the dealer gets cards, and whoever gets closer to 21 wins. I nod. In reality, I'm a writer, with six pulpy thrillers under my belt, but today I'm on the scent of a real life story even more high-octane than any of my fictional jaunts. Based on these two facts, Thorp, a mathematics professor at UC Berkeley, developed a system to keep track of the ratio of high to low cards left in the deck. A baby-faced card-counting team possessed with impressive mathematical skills — here was a novelty that turned blackjack into an arbitrage opportunity. The Spotter The Spotter counts cards while playing at the table. He gestures with his head, and I drop my backpack onto the conveyor belt. With his "hi-lo" method of counting, Thorp could beat the dealer. By the early '70s, the casinos had overcome their initial panic. Since the dealer has to keep hitting until he reaches 17, a deck with more high cards than low is dangerous to the dealer. He was recruiting a select group of students, and Lewis fit the profile. He waves me through the metal detector, and I stumble toward my gate. But Micky was talking about something much bigger. Fifty thousand more Velcroed to my chest. A BP always plays a good deck, so he never has to lower his bets by much. America West, flight 69, Boston to Vegas. Walk into any bookstore and head to the section on gambling. Though most novices believe the object is to get the best hand possible, the real point of blackjack is merely to beat the dealer's hand. I try to control my breathing as I stroll through Logan International Airport. Scott Schafer Hand in hair: "Grab your chips so we can get out of here. But in my mind, I have as much chance of blending in as a radioactive circus clown. He is a carbon copy of thousands of other kids who call Boston home.