Movie on MIT Blackjack Team


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

MIT blackjack team dramatised in new movie

Late March 2008 will see the premiere of a new Hollywood movie which dramatises the exploits of the famous MIT Blackjack Team and stars leading actors like Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne. The movie, titled "21" and released by Columbia Pictures is based on the best selling book "Bringing Down the House" by Ben Mezrich.

"21's" plot revolves around a group of MIT students who learned how to use math-based tactics to beat the casinos in selected blackjack games starting in 1979.

The origin of the MIT Blackjack Team was a mini-course called 'How to Gamble if you Must', taught in January 1979 at MIT over what is known as Independent Activities Period (IAP). A number of MIT students from a living group known as Burton-Conner, who often played penny-ante poker with each other, attended this course and learned about blackjack and card counting methods.

Trying out their new-found expertise, the group failed to make their fortunes on a trial trip to Atlantic City, and all but two lost interest in the scheme. The two who remained however were determined to continue and started a further IAP course. This produced a more detailed and extensive training, and a new team of four players with a $5 000 stake from an investor travelled to Atlantic City for another run at the blackjack tables.

Over the next several weeks the team achieved considerable...and lucrative but unspecified....success. The achievement revitalised the MIT project, with new members and intensive training but the success was not repeated, resulting in internal feuding and resignations and the breakup of the project - reportedly with at least a million dollars in the kitty. Since then various team members have remained loosely connected to the game either as motivational speakers or blackjack coaches.

Television dramatisations of the MIT team's efforts have been screened from time to time.

An intriguing element in the film may be whispers that the identity of team members was leaked to casino PI firm Griffin Investigations, presumably hampering their operations.


Banned User - flamming, disrespecting admin,
Dec 10, 2006
Griffin Investigations was/were no angel(s) and lost several litigation lawsuits around 2004/2005 regarding the defamation of abused casino patrons. I was a client in regards to another matter of the persistent attorney ,Bob Nersesian, who took on the Griffin group of businesses as well as the pro casino Nevada courts. Bob won the litigation cases for his clients that included substantial judgements based on various damages caused by Griffin to the subject plaintiffs. Not sure if any of the damaged plaintiffs were paid in full or at all as iirc all the Griffin businesses declared bankruptcy (Chapter 11) and to best of my knowledge none of the Griffin ventures operate in same capacity if at all now for a number of reasons not only including the above. This form of security as far as one can really know is no longer used by B and M casinos..........should be interesting to see how Griffin is portrayed in the movie.
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