The Story of Kaplan and Massar
Known the world over as the most famous card counting team in the history of card counting is Bill Kaplan and J.P. Massar. This infamous duo formed the MIT Blackjack Team. As odd as this sounds, these American players met at a Chinese restaurant in Cambridge Mass. The two met when Massar heard Kaplan talking about Blackjack card counting and it was on from there.
As a Harvard MBA graduate, Bill Kaplan had some successes lined up already. He had been a successful card counter previous to meeting the MIT student J.P Massar. Kaplan had previously managed a team which made thousands in profits. This taking place in the 1970s, the group began growing tired of the casinos found in Las Vegas and wanted to branch out beyond. Other parts of the world tend to offer less strict rules when it comes to casino gaming and etiquette so it was only proper to spread their wings and expand over multiple Continents. When it comes to weighing the two out, Massar wasn’t quite as successful as Kaplan with card counting. So as you would imagine, there as a level of nervousness when Massar asked if Kaplan would help him out. As luck would have it, Kaplan was actually looking for a local group to play with.
The first thing Kaplan did was head over to Atlantic City to watch Massar and the other students play. From this event, he realized that there were several errors, different systems being used, arguments over math formulas that don’t seem to make sense and players putting very little time into the game at the tables. With this, Bill told J.P. and the rest of the group that he would assist in training them if they would abide by his rules and the schedule necessary to learn this fine art form. While the players were reluctant to give the go-ahead, they trained together using a Blackjack card counting system that was uniform across the board. The team brought on some investors who would earn 250% on their investments while the team was making about $80 an hour.
When talking about the house edge, most of the time we see card counters gaining about 2% to 4% over the house as an edge. These guys were earning around a 4% edge over the casinos by shuffle tracking. The team was up to around 70 players at one point during the ’80s and remained profitable throughout that time. While there was some lost time, Kaplan and Massar teamed up again in the ’90s to make strategic investments which landed them as the most profitable Blackjack team available with millions of dollars in revenue. In 1993, the team disbursed due to the fact that many of the casinos went to great lengths to have the team banned including hiring private investigators to make sure that the players did not return.
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