The Massachusetts Lottery…a sure bet in Cambridge!



MIT Stata Building

Will Ben Mezrich’s next book be called “Bringing Down the Mass Lottery?

Well those MIT geeks are at it again.  The Boston Globe reported that “a handful of betting clubs had essentially taken over the Massachusetts Lottery game Cash WinFall, by buying most of the tickets statewide and winning almost all the prizes”.   The Globe further reported on October 16, 2011, that “in August 2010 one betting group, led by a MIT graduate with multiple degrees, including one in computer science, was able to outsmart its rivals and the public and single handedly dominate one pick.  The group was able to buy more than 80 percent of the tickets for the August 16 drawing and grab nearly all the prize money – more than $2 million”.

The formula for winning seems quite simple.  Players are almost certain to win more than they lose if they buy enough tickets.

Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House:  The inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions is a book about a group of MIT card counters commonly known as the MIT Blackjack Team.  The movie, “21”, staring Keven Spacey was based on the book.  Next up the “Fix” ..or a sure bet in Massachusetts.

Harvard Bridge measured in "Smoots"

This latest MIT “exercise” is not just one of their photo op pranks…and I can just picture the “gang”  measuring their winnings by “smoots”.

MIT student prank


Aaaaahhhh…the Republic of Cambridge…fond memories of long ago.  Drinking with “Spider” John Koerner, of 365 Mass Ave, Tom Rush, Club 47,  The Plough & Stars…

During one of our Cambridge experiences, Mary and I dropped into the Plough and I order a Dewar’s and water.  The bartender angrily replied “We don’t serve British booze here” … I promptly changed to Jameson.

Spider John… now… he was and apparently still is a character.

"Spider" John


Tom Rush was the featured musician at a Jordan Hall concert that included Spider John, Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band, and Dick and Mimi Baez Farina, many years ago. During the show Spider John decided to climb up the curtain and swing back and forth while Dick and Mimi were performing.

Later that evening I ended up at the same party he was at.  We shared a few drinks and a few other things…  and sometime during the evening, decided to partake in a drinking contest.  Spider is about 6’4″ and weighs about 185 pounds. I can’t remember who won but I do remember the next contest being a fight…don’t remember who won that either.

Years later the Lovin Spoonful were playing at a Cambridge club and Spider John was the lead act.  I managed to get a note back stage asking him if he remembered me and if so would he join me for a drink after the show.  Sure enough he did.  Spider John just recently played a gig at the Plough and Stars and I’m kicking myself because I didn’t go.

The Plough & Stars

Those readers that have not experienced Cambridge…make amends … after all, the distance to Cambridge from where you are is measured in “smoots” and that is no distance at all….

…Ah but I was much older then, I’m younger that that now*…


...My back pages  Bob Dylan

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