It is a story that has gone down in Blackjack history. It seems that no other story has contributed to the game's reputation and appeal as this story of college students and graduates who decided to take on the casinos and managed to overpower them in their own playground.
The movie 21 has brought their story to the big screen. We will bring it to you here.
This amazing story started in the form of an innocent club that students attended after class, where they would relax and have a laugh by seeing how their mathematic abilities could be used to profit from card games. Then the MIT Card Counters, or the MIT Blackjack Team as they were known, took their skills to Atlantic City and Las Vegas in an attempt to beat the casinos using card counting, with limited success.
The club was set up by a Blackjack professional who got in contact with an MIT graduate called J.P. Massar about setting up a crack Blackjack team. After a short while J.P. Massar met with a player called Bill Kaplan, who decided to lead the group. This new partnership upgraded the team by creating order and structure in it. Success was around the corner!
As time went by success came on. The group became stronger both in numbers and ambition. They began to rent out space to simulate real casino environments and set about training those involved in the card counting to ensure they were playing a faultless game that couldn't be detected or suspected.
Throughout the 1980s the team grew larger. Outside investments poured into the group and the return was huge. It was said that the players were bringing in about $162 an hour per person.
But with success came trouble. Bill Kaplan, the man behind the group's success could not walk into a casino and was basically haunted by the gambling industry. Although forbidden by law to harras cards counters, The casinos managed to make Kaplan's role untenable. In 1984 he stepped down to a backseat position.
But even without Kaplan's active support, the team continued its development. With profits rising more and more players and investors joined the group, who was said to produce a 300% return to its investors.
Over time the casinos managed to track down the MIT players. Photographs of the players were obtained and the group suffered a huge setback as their players began to be found out. Since the center of their activity was the anonymity of the card counters, this was basically the end of their activity as a group.
The players went their own separate ways and new branches of the Team set up across the country under different guises. Even though players involved in the group still remained involved in card counting they were in separate groups doing their own thing. The MIT Blackjack Team as it was known was dead.
It had still created such a large impact on the global Blackjack scene that many people try to re-enact the success it had but casinos are ready for card counting groups now and the levels of success the MIT Blackjack Team had are unlikely to ever be reached again. The organization, communication and ambition of the team was unparalleled in casino history and those who made the team what it was have gone down in Blackjack folklore forever.
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