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Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions Library Binding – September 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1417665631 ISBN-10: 1417665637

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 257 pages
  • Publisher: San Val (September 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1417665637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1417665631
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (499 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #863,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm the author of nine books, at the moment, including Bringing Down The House, The True Story of Six MIT kids Who Took Vegas- which sort of made me a vegas expert. I live in Boston with my fiance and pug, Bugsy.

Customer Reviews

It is a very entertaining book and a quick and easy read.
T. Leach
Secondly,if you're a blackjack player you can learn alot about winning at blackjack,counting cards,team play,and the casinos reading this fine story!
Bringing Down the House, by Ben Mezrich is just one of those books, when you read the first few pages, you get hooked.
Harold Graven

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a fast and explosive read. It's a true story that's so high-powered that the tension never ceases and I was thrust into a roller coaster ride that kept my eyes glued to the pages.
The story is told through the eyes of the author, who met one of the students at a party and was so intrigued by his outrageous tale that he was compelled to put it into a book. This is a story of a group of math whizzes, most of Asian descent, who used the art of card counting, worked as teams, and legally won as much as 4 million dollars during the few years they spent their weekends in the Vegas casinos, living the high life.
They strapped thousands of dollars to their bodies with Velcro to get the cash onto planes, used false names, and were always on the lookout for Las Vegas personnel who would sometimes personally escort them out of the casinos. They also learned about the seediness of the gambling world, greed, the way the Vegas corporations work. Of course they all went through changes. And eventually, it had to come to an end. Some of it is kind of scary too. But mostly, it's about beating the odds and living with a constant adrenaline high.
Well, reading this book is an adrenaline high of it's own. It put me right into the action and kept me there for the whole 257 pages. I loved it. And highly recommend it.
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86 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a physician I have my fill of non-fiction with an abundance of journals so when I read for relaxation I want a story that keeps me excited, interested and sleepless until it is finished. Bringing Down the House is such a book and reads like a Clancy or Pollock with a little lower body count, but with no less excitement.
Ben Mezrich is superb writer and story teller with the amazing ability to weave the excitement of a Las Vegas casino, the mathmetics of card counting with enjoyable interpersonal dynamics so that this is a consuming story with people you care about. His description of the high roller lifestyle in Vegas takes you to the tables playing sums you watch others wager with the adrenaline rush like you were part of the team. I bought the book in Boston having just missed him at a book signing and had a hardtime finishing the conference. I found myself in the room reading a book I could not put down instead of going out in one of the towns in which the story was set. It was that engrossing.
My Christmas list now contains all of his previous writings as this is an author who knows how to tell a story.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Craig Kenneth Bryant on September 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
...namely, how much of this tale to believe?

But first, the basics: "Kevin" joins a team of Blackjack players based out of MIT, and extracts some ungodly number of dollars from the casinos over the course of a five-year romp. Then the casinos wise up to the game, and start putting the squeeze on Kevin and his buddies: expulsions, IRS audits, intimidation, and a little rough stuff in back rooms.

Ben Mezrich is a thriller-writer by day, and the prose is a bit too ripely melodramatic--cliff-hanger chapter endings that go nowhere, visual metaphors culled from Raymond Chandler's wastebasket: "the muscles beneath his MIT T-shirt rippled like a plastic trash can left out in a heat wave." (And just when did everyone at MIT get so darned _ripped_? Almost everyone's a stud or a babe, except for the shadowy Asian ringleader with the horrible teeth and bad vision. Must be a different part of campus than I usually see.) But he manages to keep the writing at a good poolside or plane-time level, and you can skim the bits that are obviously padded out to stretch a 150-page story into a 250-page book.

The Blackjack itself seems mostly reasonable. The kids practice the classic "Hi-Lo" count, but with a clever twist. Hi-Lo calls for the player to bet the minimum a lot of the time, then dramatically raise the betting level when the distribution of cards turns favorable. One thing this isn't, is inconspicuous--the casinos are good at spotting this stuff. So the MIT gang fielded two types of players--some always bet low, but kept track of the "count." When it became favorable, these players would give the high-sign to a "Gorilla" or "Big Player," who always bet high, and sat at a hot table until the count went bad again.
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212 of 249 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Axelrad on February 14, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Author Ben Mezrich is on the streak of a lifetime, with his top-selling, wildly flawed, heavily fictionalized "history" of a well-known blackjack team getting made into a movie by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Pretty impressive. MGM, after all, as Mezrich notes in a recent interview, is "the same company that owns most of the large casinos in Vegas." (See the February, 2004 Kuro5hin interview at [...]) The only problem with this observation, like many of the major and minor details in Mezrich's book, is that it isn't true. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the movie company, and MGM Mirage, the casino company, are totally separate corporations, just as Mezrich's Las Vegas and the real Nevada town are totally different. Mezrich may be the only gambling writer in America who doesn't know these elementary facts.
For four years I've supported myself and my family by counting cards in American casinos and winning at blackjack. It is a tense, weird, exhilirating life, and I would love for more of my friends to understand it. This book doesn't help. Not only is the grade-school prose tedious. Not only are the technical blackjack details, on those few occasions when Mezrich summons the pluck to try tackling them, incorrect or misleading. The dramatic structure gropes and falls flat. The journalism is scandalously lazy and erroneous. Above all, the spirit, the eclat that card counters muster to wage our little war against casinoland is missing. Mezrich doesn't get it and can't report it. He hasn't been there and he doesn't know, his scanty experimental plays with MIT alums notwithstanding. If you want to know what gamblers are like and how we live, skip this drivel.
Look instead at legendary hustler Amarillo Slim's new memoir, Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People.
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