During my senior year of college I was recruited by a good friend to join a card counting team at MIT. This team was a legal entity, a limited partnership called Strategic Investments (SI). SI’s business plan was to recruit MIT students, teach them how to count cards and then unleash them on the casinos. It was a brilliant plan on paper but no matter how a great an idea may be, it always comes down to execution. Unfortunately, the team performed poorly due to mismanagement. Less than 2 years after it was launched SI was abruptly dissolved. The next year I was part of a group of players that formed a new team. We learned from the mistakes made on SI and through selective recruiting, a high level training program and a very focused team strategy, we turned the odds in our favor.
That was the start of an incredible run for our team. Along the way we lived the the lives of high rollers – penthouse suites, limousines, ringside seats at championship fights. It wasn’t long before we also became engaged in an ongoing cat & mouse game with the casinos. High stakes professional card counting is not just a science – it’s an art. To throw the casinos off, we employed multiple aliases & disguises. Our job was not only to play perfect blackjack; we also had to fool the casinos into believing we were losing gamblers like everyone else. After all was said and done, we had won millions. Eventually the casinos identified all of our keys players and we were no longer able to play. We had not broken the law – card counting is 100% legal. But we had broken the casinos’ golden rule – we had won too much money. We knew that we had accomplished something very special but we had no idea that our story would become the basis for a New York Times bestseller, Bringing Down The House, and a major motion picture, 21. We left our mark on Vegas forever and in doing so inspired many blackjack players that they too could turn the tables on the casinos with knowledge, discipline and skill.