MIT card counting strategy

Of Card-Counting, Startups, and the Real Story of the MIT Blackjack
June 14, 2017 – 02:15 am
Strategies require card

Robert Buderi(Updated, March 27, 6:45 pm—see editor’s note, p. 2)

The house was on Inman Street, near Cambridge’s Central Square. Peter Woit recalls the morning he came downstairs and found his roommate obviously upset.

“John, what’s wrong?” he asked.

“Have you seen a dirty pink laundry bag?” came the response.

“No, why?”

“There was $80, 000 in it.”

This was back in 1987 or ’88—still pretty early days for the MIT blackjack team. In fact, in those days John didn’t even think of it as the MIT team because it included players from around Boston and even other schools, like Princeton. John was John Chang. He had graduated from MIT a couple years earlier with a major in electrical engineering and gone on to become one of the lead organizers of a group of young card-counters who were largely having their way in Atlantic City casinos and making occasional forays to Las Vegas. For his day job, Chang worked in Kendall Square, right above Legal Sea Foods, as senior software engineer at a computer aided design company called Premise.

In case you missed all the trailers and ads, the opening of 21—the movie adaptation of Bringing Down the House, the smash 2002 book about the MIT blackjack team—is set for tomorrow. But we wanted to tell you some parts of story that you haven’t heard if you read the book, that you won’t see if you go to the movie—and that reveal how intertwined Boston’s innovation history and MIT’s blackjack legacy are. For instance, one of the founders of Premise was Chang’s fellow card-counter Jon Hirschtick, who after selling the firm to Computervision in 1991 would go on to found the software design firm SolidWorks, one of New England’s big success stories of the 1990s (it was sold to Dassault Systemes for some $316 million in stock in 1997).

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Interesting facts

Griffin Investigations was once the most prominent group of private investigators specializing in the gaming industry. The company was founded in 1967 by Beverly S. Griffin and Robert R. Griffin.
The company maintained dossiers on card counters, serial jackpot winners, and other individuals, chiefly professional gamblers using legal techniques...

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Popular Q&A
What is the basic strategy for counting cards?

Keep in mind this was a long time ago, before the rules were dramatically changed to stop the success of card counters.

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