The Massachusetts Institute of Technology
One of the most famous blackjack stories of all time is the story of the MIT blackjack players (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Here are some interesting facts about their story:
- At MIT, there was a tradition of students playing serious card counting blackjack together since 1982.
- In 1991, some of the students actually formed a legal corporation called Strategic Investments so that they could get funding to use in playing blackjack.
- The strategy they used was card counting plus team blackjack with spotters.
- Their most successful blackjack years were 1994-2000, when they were making hundreds of thousands of dollars a night.
- They used to transport their cash in plain brown paper bags, and one night a bag with $120,000 got left behind on a table in an MIT classroom. The janitor picked it up while cleaning without even knowing what was in it.
- The team’s blackjack exploits have inspired a book, a major motion picture, and several TV shows
There are also a few movies inspired by the group:
“The Last Casino“, 2004, is loosely based on this premise and features three students and a professor counting cards in Ontario and Quebec, as well as “21“, 2008, which was inspired by Bringing Down the House and produced by and starring Kevin Spacey and Jim Sturgess. Jeff Ma and Henry Houh, former players on the Team, appear in the movie as casino dealers and Bill Kaplan appears in a cameo in the background of the underground Chinese gambling parlor scene. The movie took significant artistic license with the history of the team with nearly every story being made up for the movie.
Whatever your history or interest in blackjack, these fun facts certainly show the history and tradition of this outstanding game. Want to have a go? Try it here at Blackjack Ballroom!