Spotlight Blog: 21

Welcome to instalment 4 of our Spotlight Blog series. In this one, we look at the cult classic movie starring Kevin Spacey, 21.

Read next: Spotlight Blog: The Gambler (2014)

21 came out back in 2008 and starred Hollywood icon Kevin Spacey as well as Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth and Laurence Fishburne. The film is based on the true story of the MIT Blacktrack team whose story is told in the best selling novel, Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich.

21 Movie Plot

Ben, who is a Maths major at MIT, is accepted into Harvard however he is unable to pay the $300,000 tuition.

The solution to this issue comes from one of his professors who is an expert statistician called Micky Rosa. Rosa has created a group of the most intelligent MIT students and he has trained them to count cards in a casino.

Our leading man, joins this group and learns all about the system and specific signals for when they are in a casino. The group uses fake identies, to go to various different casinos in Las Vegas. Each weekend, they use their skills to cash out millions in winnings from some of the most renowned casinos on the strip.

At one point in the film, things get complicated and they need to prevent things from getting out of hand. To find out what happens to our group of students you will need to watch this film.

Can You Count Cards In Reality?

The main focus of this movie is the group learning to count cards.

To be able to count cards, you will need to have incredible memory and powers of deduction. Once the dealer has shuffled the deck, there is an equal amount of high and low cards in play. This ration changes after the opening round in which the dealer will dish out cards to each player.

The job of the person counting cards is to watch closely, to see whether there are more high or low cards played. If the number of high cards is higher, it means there are more low cards in play and vice versa.

The most common card counting strategy includes assigning a value to a particular group of cards.

Using this principle, card counters will follow every card played and add the value for every hand, including the dealer’s hand until the end of the round of play. Should the count be positive, then the card counter will know that they have an advantage in the next round of play, which means it would be time to bet higher.

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