Member of the Infamous MIT Blackjack Team
As a member of the infamous MIT Blackjack Team, Jeff Ma created an ingenious method for counting cards—using talent, creativity, math, and teamwork to win millions in Las Vegas. (Card-counting, by the way, is not illegal; casinos just don’t like it). Ma was the inspiration for the best-selling book Bringing Down the House and the hit movie, 21, which topped the box office in its first two weeks. He has since helped start four different companies including CircleLending (sold to Virgin) and Citizen Sports (sold to Yahoo) and become a sought-after corporate speaker. Beyond his work as an entrepreneur, Ma has been a pioneer in the “Moneyball” movement working with professional sports teams like the San Francisco 49ers and the Portland Trail Blazers and media powerhouses like ESPN and Major League Baseball Advanced Media, helping them to make better decisions using data and analytics. His most recent book, The House Advantage: Playing the Odds to Win Big in Business draws on his unique experiences at the table and in the sports world to create a truly accessible book about analytics. Read More >
Blackjack, Sports, the Internet, and Beyond
How one deals with losing tells a lot about the person. Losing tests our confidence, our conviction, our ability to deal with future risk and more importantly our character. The real story and real lessons of 21 come from the adversity faced on the blackjack table. Sharing the story of losing $100,000 in two hands of blackjack, Ma reveals how he recovered his confidence through teamwork, trust, creativity, and goal-setting. “The $100,000 Lesson” is about more than winning and losing: it is about learning how to fight obstacles in order to create the best team possible.
Drawing from his unique personal experiences, from the blackjack table to consulting professional sports teams, Ma talks about innovative metrics in a way that will make you reevaluate how your group accesses talent, finds undervalued assets, and measure the true worth of your business. By eschewing emotion and honing in on hard facts and results, Ma has helped usher in what Newsweek calls “a new age of numbers in corporate America.”
While still an undergrad, Jeffrey Ma went to Vegas and walked away with millions. His message of finding–and then using–your intrinsic talents (in this case mathematical acumen), whatever they may be, to forge your way in your post-college world, has inspired campus audience across the country. He shows you that there is no one path to success. Beyond blackjack, Ma has applied that rigor and skill set to carve out a career in his true passion–sports. Ma has followed his dream and now works in a field where his skills have married with his interests and that tale has inspired crowds across the country.