Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Interesting pastimes

In 1999, fresh out of graduate school, Liu joined Harvard as an assistant professor. He was just 26... 
One or two failures are expected from someone with a natural tendency to push boundaries—both professionally and personally. Early in his career, Liu was banned from MGM Grand casinos after a night in which he made too much money playing blackjack. Soon after, he began informally teaching a group of card-counting Harvard undergraduates. Over the course of four years, they developed nearly optimal solutions for winning the game. 
“We went everywhere in the U.S.,” Liu says. “It was an amazing experience.” He still keeps a case full of poker chips from their travels.
The number of Ivy League/elite university card-counters must be quite high. I wonder how many people come out ahead?  

5 comments:

  1. They didn't even mention his game coding exploits in grad school.

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  2. David (who founded a company I worked for) is one of those people who can be good at anything. He also designed lightweight drones. And he consults for JASON which is the group of elite scientists advising the government on classified defense related matters.

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    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JASON_(advisory_group)

      "Junior Achiever, Somewhat Older Now".

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  3. The MIT blackjack club was in full swing in the 90's and was the subject of a book and later a movie ("Bringing Down the House"). The blackjack club wasn't completely underground - they'd put up recruitment flyers occasionally and my roommate and I used to joke about joining.

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    1. edited to add - the movie title was '21' and it varied a lot from the book plot lines, which were probably also partially fiction

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