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Breaking Vegas: The True Story of the MIT Blackjack Team

09 Jan 2012

As entertaining as a feature film – The Sun Sentinel

They are “whales” — the highest of high rollers — betting 25, 50, even 100 thousand dollars a hand. They are wined and dined, and treated like royalty by casinos around the world. And they are winning big time — millions of dollars throughout the early to mid 1990s. And nobody has a clue: they are really MIT students, part of an underground team of highly skilled blackjack players, known as “card counters” who use mathematical wizardry to beat the casinos.

Breaking Vegas is a gripping docu-movie that tells this tension-filled true story — the rise and fall of the MIT Blackjack Team, and how it used exotic (but perfectly legal) card tracking techniques to rack up millions of dollars in winnings before the casinos caught up with them.

The story takes us from the team’s founding by “Mr. M,” to its development as a professional company (complete with business plans and investors)… from its use of disguises, false identities and duct-tape (to secretly strap tens of thousands of dollars to their bodies), to its incredible winning streaks — and the losing streak that threatened the very core of the team. Also explored is the history of Las Vegas cheats and card counters, the fascinating development of card counting theory, casino surveillance and other counter measures to catch card counters (including the top secret “Griffin Book” of casino undesirables).

Breaking Vegas features exclusive interviews with casino executives, security experts, gamblers, Vegas historians, and most importantly: actual members of the team, some of them shot to hide their identities, including team founder “Mr. M.” Archive and original footage of Las Vegas blends with high-end dramatic re-enactments in this story about one Breaking Vegas fantasy that came true.

Produced in association with The History Channel.