From Card Counting To Startup Exits: A Profile of Jeff Ma
Jeff Ma: Beating The Odds
When most people play the popular game blackjack, whether inside a Las Vegas casino or through an online casino, it’s usually just for fun or entertainment. As a result, they leave their fate up to pure chance, winning some and losing some. Ultimately, they typically wind up on the losing end, giving their money to the casino or paying by mobile slots. However, for people like Jeff Ma, using data and analytics can turn games such as this into ones where science and ingenuity come together, creating a very unique situation.
Gaining fame in the 1990s as a member of the MIT Blackjack Team, Jeff Ma proved a person could indeed use a combination of data, statistics, and analytics to beat the house in Las Vegas. Graduating from MIT in 1994 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Jeff’s Vegas success led to him being the basis for both a film and a book about his Vegas experiences. The film, titled 21, and the book, Bringing Down the House, both became famous for their portrayal of how Jeff and his MIT teammates beat the odds in Vegas time after time.
Because of his success in this area, Jeff Ma has been able to use his unique talents in many other ways. One of these has been in a consultant’s role with many well-known businesses and corporations, where he regularly speaks at events, seminars, and conferences. In these speaking engagements, he talks with CEOs, management personnel, and others on the importance of data and analytics, and how the two can be used in the business world to help companies make smarter and more profitable decisions each day.
Along with being in demand as a corporate speaker, Jeff Ma has also been an author and CEO. Publishing a book in 2010 titled The House Advantage: Playing the Odds to Win Big in Business, Jeff provides many interesting examples of how analytics can be applied to common business situations, and how using his principles can lead to a company that can sustain growth and outlasts the competition. In addition to this, he even made a cameo appearance in the film 21, where he played a blackjack dealer at a Vegas casino.
As for his experience in the corporate world, Jeff Ma has founded a variety of companies throughout the years. Among these was PROTRADE, a sports stock market website. In addition to this, he also founded Citizen Sports, based out of San Francisco. A sports-information website as well as an iPhone app, it proved to be very successful. Finally, Jeff Ma was the CEO and founder of TenXer, a company aimed at helping businesses and employees become more productive in the workplace.
However, for many people, it has been his work within the world of professional sports that has gained the most interest. As analytics has become a much more common component within professional sports, many teams have sought outside consulting services from Jeff Ma. These have included both the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA and the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL, both of which have used analytics with great success. In addition to this, he has also worked for ESPN as a Predictive Analytics Expert and has appeared on various podcasts, where he has used analytics to give his predictions of both college and pro football games.
By using his principles of analytics, more people may be tempted to try their hand at online casinos. However, since statistics don’t lie, it’s likely most of them will pay by mobile slots and move on to the next game, just like Jeff Ma.