Outsmarting the Odds

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For the typical college student, a holiday weekend is the perfect time to regroup from classroom rigors. For members of the underground MIT blackjack team, a long weekend was the ideal opportunity to hop a flight to Vegas and burn down the house.

The legendary cabal of beautiful minds, not satisfied with gedanken experiments, decided to tackle a real world problem, how to shift the odds away from the casino. And what began as an exercise in intellectual curiosity evolved into a multi-million dollar operation, student card-sharks living in the shadows, leading double lives, mild mannered engineering geeks by day, hot blooded high-rollers by night.

Big minds and blackjack, MIT’s high-stakes work-study subculture.


Ben Mezrich, author of “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions;” James Hartley, vice president gaming services with iView Systems, and casino surveillance expert

Kevin Lewis, former member of the M.I.T. blackjack team