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The MIT Team's approach was originally developed by Al Francesco, elected by professional gamblers as one of the original seven inductees into the Blackjack Hall of Fame. In late November , a professional blackjack player contacted one of the card-counting students, J. Upon returning to Cambridge, Kaplan detailed the problems he observed to Massar. Per the terms of the investment offering, players and investors split the profits with players paid in proportion to their playing hours and computer simulated win rates. However, their keen interest in the game coupled with Kaplan's successful track record won out. After meeting Kaplan and hearing about his blackjack successes, Massar asked Kaplan if he was interested in going with a few of Massar's blackjack-playing friends to Atlantic City to observe their play. Ten weeks later they more than doubled the original stake. At various times, there were nearly 30 players playing simultaneously at different casinos around the world, including Native American casinos throughout the country, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Canada, and island locations. Kaplan had earned his BA at Harvard in and delayed his admission to Harvard Business School for a year, when he moved to Las Vegas and formed a team of blackjack players using his own research and statistical analysis of the game. Sarah McCord, who joined the team in as an MIT student and later moved to California, was added as a partner soon after SI was formed and became responsible for training and recruitment of West Coast players. The idea behind all card counting is that, because a low card is usually bad and a high card usually good, and as cards already seen since the last shuffle cannot be at the top of the deck and thus drawn, the counter can determine the high and low cards that have already been played. This resulted in error rates that undermined the benefits of the more complicated strategies. Blackjack can be legally beaten by a skilled player. The detectives obtained copies of recent MIT yearbooks and added photographs from it to their image database. Kaplan said he would back a team but it had to be run as a business with formal management procedures, a required counting and betting system, strict training and player approval processes, and careful tracking of all casino play. The group combined individual play with a team approach of counters and big players to maximize opportunities and disguise the betting patterns that card counting produces. Several members of the two teams have used their expertise to start public speaking careers as well as businesses teaching others how to count cards. He continued for another year or so as an occasional player and investor in the team, now being run by Massar, Chang and Bill Rubin, a player who joined the team in At least 70 people played on the team in some capacity either as counters, Big Players, or in various supporting roles over that time span. Confident with this new funding, the three general partners ramped up their recruitment and training efforts to capitalize on the opportunity. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} Main article: Card counting. They played intermittently through May and increased their capital four-fold, but were nonetheless more like a loose group sharing capital than a team with consistent strategies and quality control. He would make a massive bet, and win big. Fully trained players had to pass an intense "trial by fire," consisting of playing through 8 six-deck shoes with almost perfect play, and then undergo further training, supervision, and similar check-outs in actual casino play until they could become full stakes players. Most never gambled again, but some of them maintained an avid interest in card counting and remained in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In , Bill Kaplan, J. The team often recruited students through flyers and the players' friends from college campuses across the country. Since the early s, a large number of card counting schemes have been published, and casinos have adjusted the rules of play in an attempt to counter the most popular methods. The event was featured in an October Cigar Aficionado article, which said the winner earned the unofficial title "Most Feared Man in the Casino Business". Kaplan enhanced Francesco's team methods and used them for the MIT team. This article needs additional citations for verification. Retrieved 26 May Retrieved 6 March Retrieved Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They traveled to Atlantic City during the spring break to win their fortune. Blackjack team play was first written about by Ken Uston , an early member of Al Francesco's teams. Massar, known as "Mr. They had no interest in having to learn a new playing system, being put through "trial by fire" checkout procedures before being approved to play, being supervised in the casinos, or having to fill out detailed player sheets such as casino, cash in and cash out totals, time period, betting strategy and limits, and the rest for every playing session. Using funds he received on graduation as Harvard's outstanding scholar-athlete, Kaplan generated more than a 35 fold rate of return in fewer than nine months of play. He introduced himself to the speaker, Bill Kaplan, a Harvard MBA graduate who had run a successful blackjack team in Las Vegas three years earlier. The Theory of Blackjack. Kaplan continued to run his Las Vegas blackjack team as a sideline while attending Harvard Business School but, by the time of his graduation in May , the players were so "burnt out" in Nevada they were forced to hit the international circuit. Once the controller found a positive, he would signal to the big player. Campus History. While the profits rolled in, so did the "heat" from the casinos, and many MIT Team members were identified and barred. In a interview in Blackjack Forum magazine, [3] John Chang, an MIT undergrad who joined the team in late and became MIT team co-manager in the mids and s , reported that, in addition to classic card counting and blackjack team techniques, at various times the group used advanced shuffle and ace tracking techniques. Casinos instead have to take other countermeasures like shuffling the cards earlier than normal, using more decks of cards, or offering games with worse rules to destroy the advantage gained by counting--even though these all negatively impact the non-counter as well. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. The team concept enabled players and investors to leverage both their time and money, reducing their "risk of ruin" while also making it more difficult for casinos to detect card counting at their tables. A couple of the players were initially averse to the idea. It involved three players: a big player, a controller, and a spotter. While the MIT team's card counting techniques can give players an overall edge of about 2 percent, some of the MIT team's methods have been established as gaining players an overall edge of about 4 percent. For example:. Having played and run successful teams since , Kaplan reached a point in late where he could not show his face in any casino without being followed by the casino personnel in search of his team members. Structured similar to the numerous real estate development limited partnerships that Kaplan had formed, the limited partnership raised a million dollars, significantly more money than any of their previous teams, with a method based on Edward Thorp 's high low system. He proposed forming a new group to go to Atlantic City to take advantage of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission 's recent ruling that made it illegal for the Atlantic City casinos to ban card counters. They recruited more MIT students as players at the January blackjack class. The group went their separate ways when most of them graduated in May of that year. As a consequence he decided to fall back on his growing real estate investment and development company, his "day job" since , and stopped managing the team. In May , J. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}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. He noted that each of the players used a different, and overcomplicated, card counting strategy. Kaplan observed Massar and his teammates playing for a weekend in Atlantic City. Eventually, investigators hired by casinos realized that many of those they had banned had addresses in or near Cambridge, and the connection to MIT and a formalized team became clear. With its leading players banned from most casinos and other more lucrative investment opportunities opening up at the end of the recession, Strategic Investments paid out its substantial earnings to players and investors and dissolved its partnership on December 31, After the dissolution of Strategic Investments, a few of the players took their winnings and split off into two independent groups. Given the fortuitous timing Kaplan's parting with his Las Vegas team , he agreed to go in the hopes of putting together a new local team that he could train and manage. The team tested potential members to find out if they were suitable candidates and, if they were, the team thoroughly trained the new members for free. Never before had casinos throughout the world seen such an organized and scientific onslaught directed at the game. The team and its successors operated successfully from through the beginning of the 21st century. Hidden categories: Webarchive template wayback links Articles needing additional references from April All articles needing additional references All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from March Namespaces Article Talk. Massar, and John Chang decided to capitalize on the opening of Foxwoods Casino in nearby Connecticut , where they planned to train new players. Not feeling he could continue to manage the team successfully while they traveled throughout Europe and elsewhere, encountering different rules, playing conditions, and casino practices, Kaplan parted ways with his teammates, who then splintered into multiple small playing teams in pursuit of more favorable conditions throughout the world. Massar, after seeing a notice for the blackjack course. These members were replaced by fresh players from MIT, Harvard, and other colleges and companies, and play continued. Views Read Edit View history. Many other blackjack teams have been formed around the world with the goal of beating the casinos. The spotter checked when the deck went positive with card counting, the controller would bet small constantly, wasting money, and verifying the spotter's count. M" in the History Channel documentary , overheard a conversation about professional blackjack at a Chinese restaurant in Cambridge. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Beyond the basic strategy of when to hit and when to stand, individual players can use card counting, shuffle tracking , or hole carding to improve their odds. Ten players, including Kaplan, Massar, Jonathan, Goose, and 'Big Dave' aka 'coach', to distinguish from the Dave in the first round played on this bank. They thus know the probability of getting a high card 10,J,Q,K,A as compared to a low card 2,3,4,5,6. Uston's book on blackjack team play, Million Dollar Blackjack , was published shortly before the founding of the first MIT team.