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View John Chang's profile on LinkedIn, the world's largest professional Ran the MIT Blackjack Team that beat casinos around the world for 20 years.


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MIT Blackjack Team: Interview with Team Manager Johnny C
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Xconomy: Of Card-Counting, Startups, and the Real Story of the MIT Blackjack Team
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MIT blackjack team players have come and gone, the team has morphed and split into factions, but for John Chang – Blackjack Card Counting Team Leader.


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He had played with the team Strategic Investments, which was formed by John Chang, Bill Kaplan and Massar in Semyon later became the leader of the.


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john chang blackjack

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He casually drops names like John Chang (Kevin Spacey's character in the movie 21 Marcus would play a hand of blackjack, with, say, three green $25 chips.


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john chang blackjack

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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.


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john chang blackjack

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He had played with the team Strategic Investments, which was formed by John Chang, Bill Kaplan and Massar in Semyon later became the leader of the.


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john chang blackjack

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John Chang, aka Johnny C, rose to fame in the blackjack world as team manager of the MIT Blackjack Team. He has set up various blackjack teams since then.


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john chang blackjack

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John Chang. John Chang has gained quite the reputation as one of the most prolific blackjack professionals of all time. While he was not the founder of the.


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john chang blackjack

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John Chang as a part of MIT team, professional card counter and person who managed to earn millions at casinos all over the world.


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He casually drops names like John Chang (Kevin Spacey's character in the movie 21 Marcus would play a hand of blackjack, with, say, three green $25 chips.


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john chang blackjack

For him, more than 20 years in, nailing scammers and advantage players is as much a passion play as it is a job. From his vantage point, BC took in a team of Chinese card markers who kept tiny razor blades under their fingernails and used them to lay in all-but-imperceptible scratches that marked cards. Death from above, baby! The hard part can be to slip a card of the same denomination out of the game. You bet with variously colored nondenominational chips that the crew running the wheel gives you in exchange for chips that are actually worth money. Slipping the card into the game—after creating a winning hand for yourself—is fairly easy for those who have the stomach and dexterity for it. BC considers this for a moment and then says, I assume kiddingly, "That one was so good that I kept it as my retirement scam—until a bunch of cheaters beat it to death. He did it with the speed and smoothness of a close-up magician. He admits that his quest to focus on the brilliant rather than the lawless has probably prevented him from shutting down some big-time cheaters. This allows a player to easily cut to that card since it is lifted up from the rest of the deck—and to know when the dealer has one. Now a new guy comes to the table, carrying a bunch of blue chips in his pocket—though nobody on the game knows it, of course. Then I got frustrated and started to think about what I would do if I was down there on the floor instead of up here with a camera. That works pretty well until thieves decide to exploit it. In a big place, you might have five people in the surveillance room. And, of course, Jeff Ma, a key member of the MIT blackjack team who later made a fortune in Silicon Valley and now serves as ESPN's "predictive analytics expert," a fancy title for a mathematically inclined handicapper. One of the great things about working surveillance or on the casino floor is all the crazy flim-flammery you get to witness. We had no evidence of what had occurred. BC looked for crooks shoplifting from the sundries shop or lurking near the self-park garage. At least that's the case in places like Vegas and Atlantic City. Wearing a baseball cap, chinos, golf shirt and sneakers, he talks about people who, under the right circumstances, can extract sums in the six figures from unwitting casinos in a single day. While many in the business make little distinction between legal and illegal maneuvers, BC finds himself particularly taken by the craftsmen who devise ways of winning big without breaking laws. While BC has no love for those who get over on the house, he does grudgingly respect them and offers props to operators who excel at the dark art. Another time a multicultural team showed him how to card count without appearing to be doing it.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} How did I get them? It was too late. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}It's a Saturday afternoon in an American gambling city. It was a rush to take them down. In this case, the game being played was baccarat, so the key card would be an 8. I got off on tracking people who had no clue that I was watching them. I caught him and came to know the play but actually enjoyed watching him work. One night he took down a team that had essentially taken over an entire casino with card counters and spotters monitoring more than a dozen blackjack games and calling in big bettors to make large wagers as soon as a game turned suitably advantageous. It's not just eyeballing the game. I did it and saw two guys staring at each other and locking eyes. One of BC's first big catches was a group of con artists pulling off a roulette scam. I would back up and try to get a broader view. Quicker and smoother than you can imagine, the cheater pulled out his card, folded it up and swallowed it. The reason this is necessary, says BC, is because cards in the game get inspected after being used. He knows that many of the advantage players are near geniuses and operate differently from those with larceny in their souls. He even has a few albums released by Daryl Purpose, a seriously gifted advantage player who performs folk music on the side. The first guys I caught were members of a count team from MIT. I guess I have a knack for being observant, and I love it. Clearly this was a practiced move and not the first time he had done it. He remembers seeing one successful card counter—counting will get you thrown out of the casino but not arrested—who actually crossed over to be a hard-core cheater, doing the very things that will land you in jail. Over hamburgers and french fries, one of casino-gaming's most imposing security men—an enforcer who specializes in catching cheaters, card counters and a wide berth of players whose techniques can significantly detract from a gambling den's profits—dishes on some of the scariest players in the world. But, he adds, at tribal casinos it's something else altogether: "The tribes really understand it. When you do win, it feels good. They focused on that rather than on the bet. It's like playing a game and trying to win. At first, he watched the entire resort that employed him. They tackled the cheater without realizing that the card in his pocket was our evidence. He saw shoplifters and scam artists and a woman who expertly spirited away chips from players' stacks. We needed it in order to prove he was guilty. He brags about the scalps he's taken. I couldn't understand why they would cheat. His touching the dealer was like somebody throwing cold water in your face for no reason. But, as Woody Allen said when making excuses for being romantically involved with Sun-Yi Previn, "The heart wants what the heart wants. You just paid him and moved on. Then a third got into it and they all headed to the bathroom. Eventually, the gaming side of the operation recruited him. Marcus and his crew probably got told not to touch anyone, but it was after the fact. Beyond all that, one of his more memorable moments came when he had the opportunity to witness a team of Asian cheaters who performed money-making magic by literally having cards up their sleeves. They didn't seem to be lovers and appeared to have no interest in fighting. Among the top is a notoriously talented cheat by the name of Richard Marcus. But that may not even be the smoothest cheating move he's witnessed. Many of his victories involved less notorious targets but were just as satisfying. It didn't look right. BC almost immediately began working for a major casino company and quickly snagged his seat in the surveillance room. He perfected a play that he came to call the Savannah, named after a blond-haired porn star for whom he had a particular fondness. Have a nice day. There's Rob Reitzen whose team was called Core. If there is, say, an extra 8 of spades in the decks, questions will be asked and video will be reviewed. You figure out what these guys are doing and get a nice kick out of it. Armed with their decks, the Asian team pulled one key card ahead of time. The operation was called Jade Blade. But Marcus added a component to the maneuver that impressed BC. It begins with getting your hands on a casino's deck of cards. Pay the man. He liked the variety of the job, what he saw while spying on the inner workings of a gambling operation. Inside his home, BC maintains a dense library of books on cheating and advantage play. We arrested that group the next day. Other moves were more blunt-force, less artful and sometimes left BC wondering why the perpetrators bothered doing them in the first place. He sneaks them out and snakes the casino. You solve a new puzzle each time. Why would they do that? It capitalized on the fact that when you play roulette, you do not bet with actual chips. In particular, BC saw him pulling a move known as card bending. Watching everything that transpired in the casino, he went beyond simply the playing of games and trying to spot hot-looking chicks sitting alongside their high-roller boyfriends. He has volumes by Steve Forte a former casino consultant who has since been shamed over accusations that he participated in a poker scam at Borgata , James Grosjean the brilliant advantage player whose Beyond Counting is a bible for those aiming to legally win in casinos and Celine the pseudonym for a former surveillance man, now deceased, who wrote a slender volume that tipped off advantage players about how things work on the other side of the camera lens. There's a good chance that if the dealer has been working there for 25 years, he's the first person to have done that, to have touched the dealer's hand. Like I said, it was really beautiful. It is exactly what it sounds like: You over-handle the aces in a deck and bend them slightly. He loves the chase and savors victories. Prior to his first stint manning an all-seeing eye-in-the-sky security camera, BC had been hired to do criminal investigations for joints in Atlantic City, using skills he picked up in the military. I later learned that that's where they went to switch chips. In fact, it took only one night in a surveillance room for BC to be hooked on finding people who hurt the bottom lines of casinos and tossing them out. It doesn't sound like much, but the losses add up. For the sake of his career, he asks that we refer to him only as BC let's say that it stands for Beating Cheaters. They know it's the tribe's money, not some big corporation's money, and they take care of it. They're your color.