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University of Iowa News Release

March 24, 2005

Man Who Won Millions At Blackjack To Speak At UI

In Iowa's ongoing debate about casino gambling, Jeff Ma has an interesting perspective: he was part of a team that took Las Vegas casinos for millions of dollars playing blackjack.

Ma will talk about his past as a blackjack player extraordinaire when he delivers the lecture "Bringing Down the House" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 28, in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus. Admission is free and open to the public. A question and answer session will follow.

For six years, Ma was a member of the MIT Blackjack team, an infamous cabal of hyper-geniuses and anarchistic whiz kids who devised a method of card counting that took the gaming world completely by surprise. In three years they took more than $3 million from some of the world's most sophisticated casinos. But their success also brought with it the formidable ire of casino owners and launched them into the seedy underworld of corporate Vegas with its private investigators and other violent heavies.

Ma's lecture will detail the perfectly legal and incredibly creative methods Ma and his fellow math and engineering students used against one of the strongest opponents in America, and won fair and square.

The lecture is sponsored by the UI Lecture Committee. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Nick Smith at 515-988-3714.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,