How did the MIT blackjack team become the most intimidating team the casino world had seen throughout the 80s and 90s?
In this Wizard Slots blog post, we will discuss the infamous blackjack card counting team, including who they were, how much they won and what happened to them.
Who Were The MIT Blackjack Team?
The MIT blackjack team were a group of students from prestigious universities in the USA who joined together to beat casinos at blackjack. To become successful at playing blackjack worldwide, the MIT blackjack team used various complicated blackjack strategies and card counting techniques. Bill Kaplan formed the MIT blackjack team in 1980.
MIT Blackjack Team Earnings
The MIT blackjack team is famous for breaking Vegas and making millions. Individual members are estimated to have made between $100,000 and $180,000 per session.
The MIT blackjack team were very successful, and it has been estimated that they won $5 million each. Their biggest win was in the summer of 1992. They won an incredible $1.5 million at the Las Vegas Desert Inn Casino.
MIT Blackjack Team Members
Many MIT blackjack team members studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Other members were students and graduates from Harvard University and other leading universities.
In 1980, the MIT blackjack team was created. It started as a strong team with 10 members. They began with an investment of $89,000, and in just 10 short weeks, they doubled their money in winnings.
The most famous members of the MIT blackjack team were Jeff Ma, Jane Willis, Mike Aponte, Laurie Tsao, John Chang, and Bill Kaplan. Members of the team had different code names, such as “The Controller”, “Spotter”, and “Big Player”.
By the mid-90s, the MIT blackjack team grew to have almost 80 members. Around 30 members were playing blackjack in casinos all around the world at the same time.
Did The MIT Blackjack Team Go To Jail?
Even though the MIT blackjack team won a lot of money using card counting techniques, they never went to jail. This is because card counting is not illegal. However, being caught card counting can get you banned from the casino.
Many of the prominent MIT blackjack team members were identified and banned from playing in casinos across the world.
What Happened To The MIT Blackjack Team?
The MIT blackjack team stopped playing as they were caught card counting and lost the casino lots of money. Due to the controversy of card counting and the popularity of the MIT blackjack team, they have since been featured in several books, including the best-selling book “Bringing Down the House”. The MIT blackjack team has also inspired multiple movies.
After the MIT blackjack team were caught, some members tried more sophisticated and discreet blackjack techniques. However, by 2000, most resigned from blackjack altogether.
The creator of the MIT blackjack team, Bill Kaplan, decided to invest in property and business. Another prolific member, John Chang, allegedly still frequents casinos but uses a disguise so he does not get recognised by the public.