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!Download Pdf ☩ Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions ♥ An exclusive blackjack club came up with a system to take the worldUs most sophisticated casinos for all they were worth In two years, this ring of card savants earned than three million dollars Filled with tense action and incredibly close calls, this is a reallife adventure that could have stepped straight out of a Hollywood film The pace of this book was off at certain times and the characters were not believable most of the time, even though it was supposedly a true story If you delve past the surface, you will find out that it is not actually a true story all of the time The story about testing students at a mobstyle poker game is entirely made up and unfortunately this is the best part of the first section in the book, while also being unimaginable The relationships seemed the same and I imagine that the main character actually hooked up with the rams cheerleader a couple of times, but the book makes it seem as though they dated for years This was, in the end, worth the read for the cheap thrills and it was a quick one. Book of the month Nonfiction Book Club 2020As the summer heats up, I find myself wanting to read about tropical locales, westerns, and escapist fiction For the July book of the month at the nonfiction book club, one of our choices fits this description Las Vegas glitz, glamour, and the house always wins, that is until it does not In his book that later became a major motion picture, Ben Mezrich reveals how a group of math whizzes from MIT learned how to beat the Vegas system and came away with millions So far fetched yet true, Mezrich’s story fit the bill for my ideal type of summer reading Kevin Lewis was a dream student The only son of immigrants from Hong Kong, Kevin learned from his father at an early age that math and science make the world go round Conquering complex math problems could lead to jobs on Wall Street or in engineering or medicine, jobs that would allow Kevin to live a cushioned live in the suburbs of an east coast metropolis This was the epitome of the American dream for the Lewis family, and Kevin’s two older sisters had already graduated from Harvard and Yale respectively and landed in jobs that would make their father proud Kevin excelled in math and enrolled at MIT, where he was also a member of the swim team He worked hard only to realize that some of the students were actual geniuses, joined a sports fraternity, and developed a social circle among the many Asian American students on campus Whereas Kevin divided his time between studying and the swim team, he noticed how some acquaintances disappeared from campus almost every weekend, not the ideal for a student at one of the country’s top universities It was during his third year at MIT that Kevin found out where these acquaintances spent their weekends, earning thousands in the process Since the 1960s when an MIT professor wrote a book on card counting, the idea of using complex mathematical equations to win at blackjack became an established idea Micky Rosa, a legend at MIT as a card counter took the idea one step further and began the MIT blackjack team, initially recruiting Kevin’s acquaintances Kevin was at MIT during the 1990s at the height of inside trading and small start up companies and the idea that an Ivy League could make it rich almost as soon as they left college The idea of using the mathematical skills that landed Kevin at MIT in the first place to strike it rich while still in college was too good to be true After being initiated into the ins and outs of blackjack card counting, Kevin joined Micky’s team and began his double life of weekends in Vegas and Atlantic City, hobnobbing with the rich and famous His team won so often that they got big man status at almost every casino they entered, earning comp luxury suites and front row tickets to big time fights and Vegas shows The team hid their double lives from their families while racking up millions at blackjack; however, like most of the 1990s greed culture, the house of cards eventually came crashing down The house hates to lose Casinos will allow big rollers to win initially because it gives publicity to their hotels and casinos versus the competition, enticing these big rollers to return Yet, over time, when the house realizes that big rollers are winning most of the time, they take measures to ban them from casinos, ensuring that the house continues to win Card counters got lumped with criminals even though the majority of card counters used math to beat the odds, noting that card counting was anything but luck Mezrich had been at Harvard while Kevin was at MIT, and their paths had crossed a few times over the years By the time Kevin had convinced Mezrich to write his story, his first foray into nonfiction, he had been out of gambling for five years, opting instead for the type of job that his father had groomed him for growing up : a start up company that utilized the mathematical skills that MIT students are known for in awholesome environment than Vegas casino floors Bringing Down the House was a quick read which brought to light the underbelly of Vegas culture In his first attempt at nonfiction writing, one can tell that Mezrich is inexperienced in the genre but can still tell a fast paced story As one who was dubbed a goody two shoes “apple polisher” in school, I had no idea that MIT students, known as the math nerds of the world, would engage in the type of activity that is viewed as counter to their image I doubt I will ever view MIT in the same light again, although I would hope that the majority of its students are simply math and science geniuses who do not lead double lives as gamblers After reading Mezrich’s expose, I will think twice before viewing MIT math whizzes as a community of model students 3.25 stars I've played blackjack, made petty cash money this way Not, howeve,r in a casino and never knew how to count cards Can see the allure for students, vast sums of money, cash to throw around, but never would I have had the cool these young people did I would have been a quivering mass of jelly, would have been seen through in a minute Going through airports with large sums it money, through security, no way! Of course this couldn't happen now, security has gotten much tighter Also, didn't expect the mention of the Victorian casino in Elgin, which is fairly close to my house Entertaining, a quick listen The narrator was Johnny Heller and though I enjoyed the tone of his voice, he was at times a mouth slurper I give him two stars. I disliked Bringing Down the House, and can't understand why everyone I know who's read it has raved about it.I'll grant that it's an interesting story But you know what? It's a sufficiently interesting story that it doesn't need to be sexed up with outright bullshit Even accounting for the fact that the characters in the book are composites of several actual people, probably 25% of what's left is just pure fiction He's got one scene where one of the team is beaten up in a bathroom in a Bahamanian casino It never happened He's got the principal character taking his final blackjack exam in an underground casino in Chinatown Never happened He details one of the team having his apartment broken into, and a safe with $75,000 in it pried out of the wall and stolen Never Happened.This *weakens my interest* One of the potentially interesting things about this story is how the modern, corporate Vegas would respond to an organized ring of counters This book doesn't tell you that, because it's so full of bullshit you can't trust anything it has to say on the topic.And, oh lord, is the dialogue horrible Hollywood does this a lot: Character A explains something to Character B, but he's really not explaining it to Character B, he's explaining it to the audience Done properly, this is okay; you don't notice it, it flows, and it tells the audience what's going on without condescending to them Done improperly, it's annoying as fuck; the worst parts of Casino Royale were the bits with the twit in the casino explaining how poker works to the presumably incredibly competent agent sent by the British government to keep an eye on the money.Virtually every piece of dialogue in this book is like that And there's no excuse for it in a book; characters don't have to pretend to explain something to someone who already understands it just to inform the reader, because the fucking narrator can just explain that thing to the reader directly It's not just annoying, it's lazy, bad writing.Mezrich explains why he's a lazy, bad writer: I'm not looking to use big words, Mezrich admits I write for people who if they weren't reading my book, they wouldn't be reading another book They would be watching TV I'm not competing with other books I'm competing with the Red Sox Mezrich works hard to build the excitement early in his plots, before attention spans wane He gets right to it in Rigged, explaining in the first few pages the main character's involvement with the shady world of the New York Mercantile Exchange: If Wall Street was the financial equivalent of Vegas, the Merc was Atlantic City—on crack.This book is crap on crack And it's a shame, because there's an interesting true story under all the dross.You want a good book to read, on a similar subject? Go buy The Eudaemonic Pie It's about a bunch of grad students from UC Santa Cruz who, in the 70s, designed and built wearable computers intended to let them beat the house at roulette And it's good It's also not tarted up. Apparently this book is bullshit Oh well I was the sucker who shut off my critical tools when reading it and swallowed this hooklineandsinker I should have known something was wrong when the geography of the Strip was fucked up in his minihistory of the rise of the megacasinos He placed Excalibur halfway down the Strip from Luxor (or was it MGM Grand), which is all wrong, they are right across the street from one another (which works out for either Luxor or MGM in relation to Excalibur), half way down the Strip from Luxor would be like the Bellagio or one of those casinos I just thought he was taking some liberties, which he was, I mean it's not like it's difficult to tell the casinos apart just by looking at them So, when I was looking to see what other goodreaders thought of the book I found out that big parts of the book were fabricated And like a good skeptic I googled and found out that apparently yes, Ben Mezrich liked to embellish The only problem is that his embellishments are usually the exciting anddramatic moments in the book Opps Some goodreaders pointed out the awful dialogue I guess that was there too, but honestly it gave the whole thing a very Vegas feel to me, there is something tineared, gaudy, and unreal about all of Vegas and I just kind of fit in the bad chatter to being expected from a story that mainly takes place where LA douchebags mingle around with Cowboys and men wearing very unacceptable amounts of jewelry Oh, and to return to the first paragraph, I should have also been a littleskeptical when the author would forget to mention which casino they were in when say security guards kicked in the door and told them to leave Why would you not give some info like that, especially when most of the book reads like a travel guide dropping names of places Oh well It was a distracting and entertaining read and much much better than the pretty unremarkable movie the book inspired I think I ended up enjoying this bookthan I should have because it got me thinking about Vegas and thinking that I would like to go back there again soon, even if it is for my nondebauch enjoyment of slot machines with animal themes and delicious buffets. Bringing Down the house is a good read I enjoyed the book It really made me want to keep reading Every chapter ended with a “cliffhanger” I just had to keep reading The characters and well described places really brought me into the book, and into the world of Kevin Lewis I see people saying how they do not enjoy the fact that Ben Mezrich added some extra events that didn’t happen to the real team I do agree with this, sincethan half of the book is completely fiction I understand that these were added to the book to give itof a story, but I felt as though Ben really stretched it Even some of the characters are just mixtures of the real people.Other people are saying that they don’t style of writing used in the book This one I disagree with, to a certain extent Some of the writing felt a little ‘overthetop’ A few sections I didn’t think were needed in the book and were just there to addpages to the book Such as the relationship with Felicia I felt as though that relationship didn’t add to the book at all A reader that would enjoy this book the most would be someone that enjoys fiction with a little bit of nonfiction Readers would enjoy this book if they like a lot of suspense Each chapter end with you wantingWanting to find out what happens to Kevin Lewis and his team of MIT students The characters in Bringing Down the House were very well developed! Each character, except Felicia, added something new to the adventures our team goes on, and really helped moved the story along A strength in the book was its gripping plot It very made you feel as though you were inside the book It helped you follow along as it switched from Ben learning about Kevin Lewis’ adventures in the present, to following the team through their own adventures This book really made me question how I feel about the whole idea of gambling It made me wonder if what they were doing was the right thing to do Which I do agree after finishing the book At first I thought they can’t be doing this, they are rigging the game in their favour But after finishing I learned that they are just increasing their chances, evening their odds, and using math to do it. Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich is a nonfiction work that takes a look at a group of MIT graduates and dropouts who develop and perfect a card counting system, which they use to great effect Specifically, the book concerns Kevin Miller, who is apparently Asian despite the inventive pseudonym, and his involvement with the team of MIT card counters.As I read this book, I kept flipping back to the frontispiece and wondering, sometimes aloud, why Mezrich has six other titles to his credit Two of them are pseudonymous, to be fair, so maybe it actually got to the point where editors were asking themselves the same question Or maybe this guy just won the literary lottery and no one else wanted to write this book.This literary abortion breaks every rule I’ve established for how to write He uses adverbs, puts exposition in dialogue, uses cliched similes, and every attempt he makes to “pretty up his bland writing just makes you want to fly to wherever this jackass lives and punch him in the kidneys.Some examples of this guy’s exemplary writing style:[his sisters were] helping his mother with the dessert — something to do with apples, cinnamon, and sugary pie crust.Could it be an apple pie, asshole? Just say it! It’s okay to use the words “apple pie.” We’re not going to laugh at you (for that).[She] found the thrill of [blackjack] almost as addictive as the field of consulting.I don’t get it Does that mean she thought card counting was really boring, or is she just so ridiculous that she actually thinks “consulting” is an “addictive” proposition? I shudder to think Is that what business school actually does to people?The team was operating like a welloiled machine.Did you really just say that? You’ve got to be kidding me Who edited this trash?He said, “We’ve got costumes — some of the best money can buy — from some place in LA.”Okay, that’s technically proper use of a dash, ignoring the fact that it occurs in a completely unremarkable sentence (what'simportant, that the costumes are expensive or that you can't remember where you bought them?) This stilted dialogue is just exposition with pointless quote marks wrapped around it Maybe Mezrich reads a lot of Clive Cussler There's a lot of this in the book, and to say that Mezrich has a tin ear for dialogue would be to play the game on his level It's entirely possible that Mezrich has never, in fact, heard people speak.Not only is this book poorly written, it’s boring Avoid it and everything else Ben Mezrich has his hack name on Remember, though, just because it doesn’t say “Ben Mezrich,” that doesn’t mean he hasn't been blacklisted and is now using another pseudonym.One last snippet of this dude's literary brilliance:The two were best friends, cut from a similar mold.Really What a waste of time.Oh, I guess I should tell you how it ends: the team gets banned from all the casinos and they have to fall back on their incredibly lucrative MIT engineering degrees Poor little babies. Casinos deserve whatever anyone can get from them Cardcounting is using your noodle, it is by no means a criminal activity, yet the casinos which say that gambling is a good sport we should all enjoy, don't act like good sports when others are enjoying winning (regularly) Nope, they then act like very bad sports indeed by getting these winners banned from each and every casino in the world.Gambling in general and casinos in particular were very much in the grip of the Mafia until times not so long gone by They might as well still be with their ways of ensuring that only they can win the big pot They employ teams of people to spot the winners No matter how many different casinos in any country in the world these winners are playing in, they will be identified, their descriptions circulated and eventually they will be stopped Maybe they will merely be banned, first by one casino and then the next (sometimes before they can cash in their lastwon chips), or maybe they will be taken into the 'back room' and various intimidating tactics used This is legal This is not the Mafia, this is not organised crime, it's organised gambling defending its right to make sure that only people who lose or at least don't win big bucks too often are allowed to play The M.I.T students were all members of a professional gambling ring set up as a business It was financed by investors, used computer programs to identify the most propitious card sequences and professors who coached the students who did the actually 'grunt work' (flying to exotic locations, staying in luxurious suites and gambling with the investors money) and who were paid a salary and commission All they did was count the cards that had been dealt in Blackjack and then when it seemed the sequences were on their side, place a big bet This is completely legal, there is not even a whiff of cardsharping or cheating, and what'sit isn't an infallible science, they might have won in the millions, but they lostthan a million too What the hell is wrong with that? It seems to me that the casinos are bad sports They only want losers and people who come on the occasional big weekend to see a Star Performer and win big so they can tell all their friends that they must come to Vegas and have a Good Time and Win Big If you are a real winner, they will hunt you down and ban you It's only for fun you see, you must only play for fun, just the luck of the draw and not win too much too often, it can't be a business, nor a career, nor a way to make money, nope, only the casinos are allowed to take gambling that seriously What is the difference between this slick and sleazy modus operandi and the Mafia? No concrete overcoats (I hope) is one? I can't really think of another.Recommended for those who think that playing fair ought to be multilateral, not enforced unilaterally by those who think it is only a slogan. Bringing Down the House is an interesting and entertaining account of a group of students who came up with a system to win blackjack, and they won BIG The conversational style of writing made for an easy and fast paced read I do wonder if some parts were dramatized and have seen some buzz to support that I suppose only a few people actually know the answer to that, and regardless of whether it’s completely factual or not, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.After finishing the book I decided to rewatch 21 Many of the details were changed, and the movie both simplified and sensationalized the story but managed to convey the same overall tone Although the adaptation to screen wasn’t fully faithful to the book, both were fun and I enjoyed each for what they were.