Johnny Chang came from a modest home in New Jersey and is of Chinese American origin. At MIT he studied electrical engineering as he had been told that was the best course available despite the fact that his true love was mathematics and statistics. Johnny Chang was in no rush to go anywhere and in fact it took him 10 years to graduate, during that time his parents believed that he was doing a Masters when in fact he still had not attained his first degree. During his time at MIT, Johnny saw an advert that promised $300 for a weekends work during the Spring Break. His curiosity was kindled and he went along to the meeting in the one of the leisure rooms at MIT where he learnt about the MIT Blackjack Team. Johnny Chang joined the Independent Activities Period that gave tutorials on gambling and card counting and, at the same time was accepted to the MIT Blackjack Team. After intensive training, discipline and practice, Johnny Chang became a fully fledged member of the MIT Blackjack Team in 1981 and it time became one of the lead players due to his enthusiasm and motivation to win.
The MIT Blackjack Team Manager
As Chang himself describes it, he became the manager of the MIT Blackjack team by default as he was one of the longest standing players with the most experience. Johnny Chang loved the thrill of beating the casino more than the actual money he won. At the same time as playing and managing the MIT Blackjack team for over a decade from the mid 1980’s until the late 1990’s Johnny Chang also maintained a day job as a senior software engineer at a Computer Aided Design company. At night and weekends he managed and traveled with his Blackjack team mainly to the Atlantic City casinos but also to Las Vegas on occasion. During his management tenure there were as many as 80 members of the MIT Blackjack team, of course not all of them were active players, some were in training and some were in accounting. Johnny Chang was often part of the winning Blackjack teams and was rarely recognized as one of the card counters due to his Asian features.
Not Just Blackjack Play
Johnny Chang without a doubt is considered to be the main influence on the MIT Blackjack team over the years. He moved to Las Vegas in the late 1990’s and continues to play at casinos with his girlfriend periodically while also trying to devise new ways to beat the casinos. His website Blackjack Institute.com was set up with other successful MIT Blackjack team players as a way of making more money. Tutorials at home and seminars online are sold to potential card counting players. The book “Bringing the House Down” and subsequent movie, “21” is based on his career along with other infamous MIT Blackjack team members. Chang is only sorry that such a successful book and movie does not mention his name or pay him credits! In 2007, Johnny Chang was elected to the Blackjack Hall of Fame where he will always be remembered as one of the great Blackjack Players of his time.