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MIT Blackjack Team to Hold Seminars Nationwide

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

LOS ANGELES, CA -- The iconic MIT blackjack team, whose real-life adventures inspired the movie "21" and New York Times bestseller "Bringing Down The House", legally won millionsThe Blackjack Institute is operated by two MIT Blackjack Team members.
The Blackjack Institute is operated by two MIT Blackjack Team members.
  from casinos throughout the United States. Now, two former members of that elite card-counting squad are paying visits to select cities in order to teach others how to win at blackjack.

Michael Aponte, former manager of the MIT team and inaugural World Series of Blackjack champion, and former MIT teammate David Irvine have announced four Blackjack Institute® Group Seminar dates in 2008 where everyday people can learn winning blackjack strategy from proven experts.

"The next few months could be very dangerous for amateur or half-hearted blackjack players," said Aponte, who was the Jason Fisher 'character' in the bestselling book. "A lot of people who have seen '21' or read 'Bringing Down The House' are going to try their hand at card counting. That's fine, but don't try to count cards after reading a blackjack book on a flight to Vegas or Atlantic City. That's a sure path to financial disaster. In the long run these players will end up hating themselves, but the casinos will love them."

To have a real chance at beating casinos, players must be armed with proper knowledge and training, which is exactly what Aponte and Irvine provide through Blackjack Institute seminars. These intensive one-day sessions focus on topics such as basic strategy, card counting, deck estimation, betting strategy, money management and game selection. Along with this knowledge, Aponte and Irvine reveal effective training exercises to help students develop skills, as well as talk about the pitfalls and adventures they experienced during the years they played on the MIT blackjack team.

Seminars scheduled in 2008 are:

- Las Vegas, NV - April 19 (Platinum Hotel)

- Los Angeles, CA - April 26 (Location TBA)

- New York, NY - May 3 (Location TBA)

- Miami, FL - June 14 (Location TBA)

Irvine said the training program employed by the Blackjack Institute, which was co-founded in 2004, is exactly the same as the one formerly used to prepare students joining the MIT blackjack team. The system is a comprehensive program with simple, clear-cut steps. The lessons have been designed so people don't have to be an Ivy League genius to understand and execute the techniques.

"Our MIT team had a good run, winning around $10 million during our playing days," Irvine said. "A lot of our success was the result of training materials and methods developed over time, and taught to new students joining the team. Mike and I have made these instructional methods and techniques the backbone of the Blackjack Institute program."

Topics addressed during group seminars include:

- Why blackjack is beatable

- Calculating odds

- Hi/Lo card counting methodology

- Identifying meaningful pairs

- Tracking the true count

- Analyzing playing conditions

- Responsible gaming

The Blackjack Institute coursework provides players the requisite knowledge to become successful. Yet knowledge is by no means all that is needed. The real key is skillfully applying the knowledge, which is why group seminars include hands-on exercises that emulate the "checkouts" previously used to determine if MIT team members were ready to count cards in casinos -- an activity legal in the United States.

At the end of each seminar, students have the opportunity to compete in events designed to test blackjack knowledge and skill. Top students receive awards, and every enrollee receives a Blackjack Institute Home Training Course containing everything needed to practice at home, including: training manual, instructional DVD, blackjack felt, six decks of playing cards, cut card, discard tray, basic strategy chart, chip tray and gaming chips. Each group seminar runs from 8:30am to 5:00pm, and enrollment is capped at 50 students so personalized instruction can be provided. The seminar cost is $900..00 per person. Aspiring card counters can sign up at

According to Aponte, blackjack is popular amongst casino visitors because the game is simple to learn and most players are aware that it's possible to turn the odds in their favor. At the same time, these facts are what frequently lead people down a disastrous path.

"I can't play blackjack at casinos anymore. I'm too good for the casinos to allow me to play," Aponte said. "But even though I can no longer win in casinos, maybe I can help unknowing blackjack players from getting caught up in the Hollywood hype surrounding our blackjack team."

Most weekend gamblers have only a cursory knowledge of blackjack strategy. Irvine said this is a classic case of a little bit of knowledge being a dangerous thing. This is exactly why Blackjack Institute seminars are designed to provide both comprehensive instruction and tools to help students skillfully apply the knowledge in casinos.

"The days of winning $500,000 in a weekend are likely gone, thanks to new security tactics and changes in how casinos operate," Irvine said. "Learning to count cards will not make you a millionaire, so don't quit your day job. But card counting can be a fun and lucrative hobby on the side."

The Blackjack Institute offers an array of products and services which teach players how to win, including: one-on-one private mentoring, a home training course, a training manual, and an instructional DVD. All Blackjack Institute products and services can be found at

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