In fact, the MIT blackjack team Wasn’t set up by an MIT scientist, nor was it the bra1ild of one person as portrayed in the film. Three former MIT students direct the blackjack staff in different points in the group’s history. In reality, the MIT blackjack team wasn’t born at MIT at all. It was all started by a Harvard graduate.
The year was 1980 and Harvard business school graduate Bill Kaplan had been profitably using the card counting techniques presented by Edward Thorp in his book Beat the Dealer for three years. Kaplan had profitably managed blackjack teams that were very 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 convenience of this new goldmine. It just so happened that the before all else blackjack players recruited by Kaplan for his new team were from MIT.
"JP Massar plus some of his MIT buddies will be the before all else players I coached and brought on board,” " says Kaplan. "I attracted JP to co-manage together with me around a year after and we conducted the Team throughout the mid-1980s. Among those players we coached in late 1982 and 1983 had been John Chang. "
Massar and Chang were the core members of the team. 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. 2 of these members became the inspiration for Mezrich’s book and the popular movie. .
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. 2 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.
While many of the actual members of the MIT blackjack team publicly criticized the movie, Jeff Ma was more understanding about Hollywood’s need to glamorize the story. In fact, Ma even has a small role in the film. He plays a dealer named Jeffery who is referred to by Campbell as "my brother from a different mother. " Jeff Ma attended the premiere of the movie with his entire family.
After his blackjack playing days were over, Jeff Ma founded the sports share marketplace 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. Aponte was a level-headed and smart student who also displayed an ability to execute Thorp’s card counting methods.
In one regard the film is somewhat accurate. Mike Aponte did in fact recruit Jeff Ma for the MIT blackjack team. The 2 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 in the middle them at all. Both Aponte and Ma were both concerned with making a lot of money playing blackjack, and they succeeded.
As a youngster, Mike Aponte never had a desire to play cards. Aponte was an army brat and his family moved many times due to his father’s obligations in the military. 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 from the before all else moment he met the MIT blackjack team. It wasn’t before Aponte became the Big Player of their group. The Big Player has been the group member who exhibited the best self-control in the blackjack table, but not always the very best card counting skills. Other players could suggest Aponte if a table was sexy, and he’d then sit assume that the counting and gambling responsibilities.
Mike Aponte was good at his job he finally became a director of the blackjack group at MIT. Aponte was in charge of training and recruiting new associates. He continued to direct the group right up till 2000 and aided the MIT team to produce millions of dollars profit. In the real-life story of the MIT blackjack team, Mike Aponte was the celebrity.
After the MIT blackjack team dissolved, Mike Aponte lasted to rely cards professionally. In addition, he won the before all else World Series of Blackjack championship in 2004, demonstrating his blackjack card counting abilities were as sharp as ever. Now, Aponte teaches other people how to count cards and beat the game of blackjack via a educational website.
The real workings of the MIT blackjack team have been held in confidence by people who engaged in the undertaking, for apparent reasons. A few of the members of this group nevertheless play blackjack now. It wouldn’t serve them well if all their methods have been revealed. There’s sufficient info, but to completely describe the fundamental procedures of the group.
The MIT blackjack team has been headed by a group supervisor. Bill Kaplan, JP Massar, also John Chang all functioned as staff supervisors throughout the group’s history along with different supervisors being released close to the conclusion of their MIT group’s run. Mike Aponte served for a brief while in a double role as the group supervisor and Big Player.
The group supervisor wasn’t typically a person who engaged in real play. As a decree, supervisors of the MIT blackjack team would be those responsible for coordinating the playing sessions and making certain the players can obtain their big bankroll hauled from place to place. It was frequently essential for the players to the group to hide considerable quantities of money in their own bodies to prevent scrutiny by airport security officers. Had the money had been detected, many queries could have been demand. The majority of these questions could have come in the Internal Revenue Service who’d have wanted to understand college students might have so many cash that has been unaccounted to get their own taxes.
The group could be strategically positioned in a variety of casinos from the group supervisor who oversaw the whole operation. If there was a problem with a part of the group, the group supervisor had been the one to take care of this.
The next member of this group was
that the signaler, or even prop. The duty of the signaler was supposed to find blackjack tables that were hot. Even the signaler will sit down to perform just like any additional blackjack player and wager just the table minimal. As they played with these players could monitor the legitimate count of the blackjack tablegame. The moment the count turned into very positive, the signaler would subsequently alert the other member of the group by way of a gesture. In the film, the signaler grabbed their hands behind her back. It’s not likely that this sort of sign was used from the MIT team since it was too simple and too simple to see.
One of the Principal signalers about the MIT blackjack team was Jane Willis. From the film 21, Willis was portrayed by actress Kate Bosworth. Willis was a graduate of Harvard and now she’s a respected lawyer. Willis would provide the sign which would then present the last part of the MIT blackjack team mystery, the Big Player.
The duty of the Big Player was quite straightforward and straightforward. The Big Player came when the count was high and wager big. The moment the deck cooled , the Big Player was indicated once more from the signaler and could cash out their winnings.
While the Big Player needed to also know card counting and also maintain a real running count in the blackjack table, then counting cards wasn’t their principal authority. The Big Player has been expected to restrain their feelings constantly. Self-discipline was a part of this Big Player. Without it, the desire to bet could simply take over along with the MIT staff would eliminate a huge part of the bankroll. Along with this, the Big Player needed to become an authority in evading the evaluation of the casino supervisors hired to capture card counters.
During the peak of the MIT blackjack team’s powerful conduct, Jeff Ma along with Mike Aponte would be the Big Players. Both of these young guys deserve the majority of the credit for your group’s achievement.
21 simplifies the MIT blackjack team since residing a free-wheeling, higher roller lifestyle which has been champagne and lap dances. Nothing can be farther from the reality. During their whole operate, members of this group made every attempt to fly beneath the radar. There were a number of reasons for it.
The main comprehension was that the fear of being captured and banned by the casinos. Casinos haven’t enjoyed card counters, and they employ operatives that are given the particular job of grabbing card counters and penalizing them. In now’s planet, being captured counting cards will probably obtain you banned by the casino. Whenever the MIT group has been playing blackjack, items weren’t always so cut and dried.
In the early days of casino gambling, especially in the casinos of Atlantic City where the MIT team made most of their money, being caught at the act of card counting often involved a trip to a windowless room in the casino where the "bulls" would interrogate the counters. These interrogations were often violent. A blackjack player who suffered the wrath of an interrogation was usually very happy to leave the casino 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 boosted 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 out 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 MIT team were able to view their blackjack team as a business. They approached it with businesslike seriousness.
The team had a very successful run before playing out near the year 2000. Several factors ultimately contributed to the MIT team’s demise.
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 of 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 blackjack well after the MIT team was dissolved. John Chang was one of these. Chang made a very successful living as 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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