Mike Aponte: The Making of a Card Counter

Mike Aponte
Mike Aponte

Caught this great excerpt from Mike Aponte that applies to trend following and or any other life pursuit:

One of the questions I’m often asked is, “What is the most important trait in becoming a professional card counter?” The first thing that jumps to mind for most people is genius mathematical ability. True, being good at math is a plus, but the math involved in card counting is simple, middle school arithmetic. We’re not talking advanced calculus or differential equations. Having trained many people how to count cards at a professional level, there are three traits that are more important than mathematical ability. At the top, I rank high commitment level as #1.

With every person that I have trained that went on to become an accomplished card counter, it was very evident from my first interaction with them, that they were not only willing, but excited about putting in the time and energy necessary to master the knowledge and skills necessary to gain the winning edge. My most successful student to date, “Al”, is someone who barely graduated high school, getting D’s in math. During the time that I spent with AL, it became apparent that he was an underachiever when he was younger, but at the same time Al certainly was nowhere in the math league of Good Will Hunting. But what Al had going for him, was a real, serious commitment to turning his fortunes around at the blackjack tables. And to his credit he did exactly that. Many people have a get-rich-quick mentality, focusing only on the potential upside, not on what it takes to get there. No matter the endeavor, there are no shortcuts to achieving your goals.

Who is Aponte? The bio: “Mike Aponte, also known as MIT Mike, is a professional blackjack player and a former member of the MIT Blackjack Team. Aponte was part of a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students that legally won millions playing blackjack at casinos around the world by counting cards. He is the basis for one of the main characters, Jason Fisher, in the book, Bringing Down the House, by Ben Mezrich, which inspired the motion picture, 21.”

Mike was one of my earliest podcast guests. You can listen here:

I still remember where we did that interview–great Mexican restaurant on PCH right near the intersection with Newport Coast Drive. Wow what a view! Had to pull a shot from Google:

PCH View in California
PCH View in California

That is exactly how it looks.