- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Arrow (6 May 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099468239
- ISBN-13: 978-0099468233
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Bringing Down The House Paperback – 6 May 2004
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"... Bringing Down the House is a can't-miss deal" (Lorenzo Carcaterra)
"A surreal cacophony of glamour, suspense and, eventually, terror. Part Tom Clancy, part Elmore Leonard...Gripping" (The List)
"The tale laid out in Bringing Down the House is so beguiling, so agreeably reminiscent of, say Ocean's Eleven or House of Games that you find yourself mentally casting the parts as you read along... A fine yarn' Sunday Times"
"A lively tale that could pass for thriller fiction ... Mezrich's skilled yet easy writing draws sweat to the reader's brow" (Rocky Mountain News)
"Bringing Down the House has a sensational story to tell" (Literary Review)
A gripping real-life financial action thriller, telling the story of a brilliant team of MIT students who won millions of dollars in Las Vegas. Ocean's Eleven, but for real.
Adapted into the box office hit heist drama film 21, starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Speculation and gambling have several differences.
Speculation involves increasing one’s chances to profit by various means such as news study, pondering, technical analysis, margin trading, hedging, options, and some have used psychics all with the aim of gaming profit from short or medium term market value fluctuations.
Gambling is wagering by means of an uncertain event with the aim of gaining additional assets. It requires consideration, chance, and a prize. The striking feature is that a small fee or amount is required with a chancy large return within a short time.
Bringing Down the House is the true story of how six MIT students turned gambling into speculation to fleece Las Vegas for millions. The best and brightest students are recruited by an eccentric former teacher with teeth like a picket fence of spades, diamonds, clubs and hearts to practice in a college backroom as the MIT Blackjack Team before invading the strip.
The nice thing about the book is that the secrets of card counting, shuffle study, ace cutting, hi-low counting, group spotters, third base coaches, card count code words, statistic indexes, and other tips the students used and the casinos don’t want you to know are revealed. Of course, one wonders the secret they did not reveal to win.
MIT proved blackjack is beatable and Ben Mezrich tells it with a suitable degree of suspense.
Speculation and gambling are similar in the manner in which they can acquire profit in a short time. Both methods involve risk but a speculator may learn more skills than a gambler’s plain luck to lower his risk. One may invest his hard earned money in intelligence such as Bringing Down the House.
From the book, I've learnt a lot about the world of casinos and card counting, the job of the spotters, who cover as many tables as possible and keep running card-counts at their location and help the big player to count cards and the usage of hand signals. For example, a spotter would signal the count of +11 by saying “I wonder if there is a football game today.” (in reference of there are eleven players on a football team). Or he might say “I really suck at bowling” to indicate the count of +10 because in bowling, strike is ten pins. There are also lot’s of other techniques that the team invented. They had their own system. They also learned about the dark side of the casino world, how greedy people are and how the Vegas corporations works. Furthermore, Mezrich always leaves suspense to the readers and stimulate readers’ desire to read more about the story. At the end of all the chapters, you won’t know what’s coming up next. Mezrich is capable of keeping the readers’ eyes glues to the pages. In the book, the MIT team strapped thousands of dollars to their bodies to get the cash onto planes. They used false names, always have limos waiting for them at the airports, always having personal host to escort them everywhere. Reading about their incredibly rich life and their dangerous situation of being caught by the casinos, you will never know what they are going to do next.
Even though the book is a quick read, it interests a wide variety of people, from who wants to feel the thrills and adventure the gambling world to the ones that never gambled before but curious about it. However, the book doesn't related to any big history themes. From the book, it seems like over the course of a few years, gambling is all they do. I couldn't tell how was it like in the 1990s except for the casinos. The author also has too much detail about the card counting techniques and it got repetitive to create the tension between characters and a card counter’s life. It seems like readers can just skim through some parts that is obviously meant to stretch out the book.
Moreover, there are lots of details in the book doesn't seem real. Some of the events doesn't make any sense. For example, why would they hide their cash in all kinds of ways and trying to get through the airport security when they can just use a bank box or a debit card. Moreover, the team always stays at fancy hotels with suites, champagne, limos waiting on arrival, 24-hour open swimming pool just for them. Doesn't it seems too conspicuous to the casinos? Since they wants to keep it low, they shouldn't take risks like that. Also, according to Wikipedia, some of the exciting events didn't not occur. All these over dramatic scenes seems too unrealistic. However, they can really interest the readers. After all, this is one of the cheapest Vegas fantasy people can buy.
Overall, this book contains interesting and exciting stories that keep the readers eyes on the pages. The plot goes quick enough that you won’t find it long or boring. Yet, it’s not the best book to read if you are looking for a historically informative book.
The fact that a extremely astute person can get even a little of the edge over the great gambling institutions is intriquing. The idea that this little edge can be levereged further by using a team is brilliant. So brilliant the casinos go to great lengths to make it impossible. The battle of these underdogs vs. the storied Vegas with it's greed and power ups the ante (no pun inteded).
It is downright fun watching Vegas go down even if the hubris these privileged primadonas exude seems to make them less like you and me and more like jerks. If they weren't going up against an entity detested more than "big oil" we may not root them on...But, you will root for them as they leave carnage in the pits because you know given the opportunity, you would do the same (hopefully you would not let it become your life and religion since your moral compass balances you).
Ben Mezrich's book is a bit slight, but is fun and you'll likely zip through it in a couple of sittings because it has good tension and the constant thrill provided by the six is palpable as they manipulate the odds.