- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (22 August 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060575123
- ISBN-13: 978-0060575120
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,77,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Busting Vegas: A True Story of Monumental Excess, Sex, Love, Violence, and Beating the Odds Paperback – Import, 22 Aug 2006
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About the Author
Ben Mezrich graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991. He has published twelve books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Accidental Billionaires, which was adapted into the Academy Award-winning film The Social Network, and Bringing Down the House, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies in twelve languages and became the basis for the Kevin Spacey movie 21. Mezrich has also published the national bestsellers Sex on the Moon, Ugly Americans, Rigged, and Busting Vegas. He lives in Boston.
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Top customer reviews
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
1. It is not clear just how far ahead this team came out after it was all said and done. There were lots of facts and figures tossed around, but a sum total might have been nice at the end.
2. If profit was not the motive of the main character (Semyon), then what was his purpose in starting up a company to sell his strategies?
3. Some more discussion of the intelligence involved in catching people. When reading the book, the intelligence figures seemed more like people out of a James Bond novel instead of people that actually proceeded about the business of outsmarting people who tried to rip off casinos for a living.
4. A better denouement might have been in order. What happened to Semyon Dukatch? What about Victor?
The characters in this book were very bright. But then, not too bright. I'm not sure if this was deliberate on the author's part. Knowing how many people are killed over money and how little it takes to get killed over, how many people of such high IQ would go to *privately owned casinos* and then test the limits of what could happen there?
1. The author did a great job with his characterizations. The characters were big enough, but not too big. Was the ringleader a compulsive gambler that just happened to have a very high IQ
2. The suspense was just enough. It was not drawn out too long, but it made the book hard to put down. (I finished the whole thing in an afternoon.)
Overall, this book is worth buying secondhand.
However, as much as I like Mezrich's breezy style of writing, he makes lots of mistakes when describing the blackjack action itself. If you're not an experienced blackjack player, you probably won't notice or care, but over and over I was brought out of the story with a "WTF?" moment. One such example comes in the epilogue: "The dealer flipped over her down card, a ten, for a fourteen. She asked if I wanted to hit either of my hands." Um, was Mezrich playing double exposure? Mistakes like this make me wonder if Mezrich has ever really played a single hand of blackjack. Other errors are more subtle, like confusing first base with third, or describing a push as a win.
The worst technical mistake is Mezrich's description of the supposed mathematical advantage of the first technique. Somehow he comes up with a whopping 45% advantage for six hands. Even taking at face value his claim that an ace gives one hand a 51% advantage, playing five other hands at a -2% disadvantage gives an expected value of (0.51-0.10)/6 per hand, or about 6.8%. After reading Mezrich go on and on about Semyon's math skills, it's ridiculous to see the author make such a glaring error the first time he tries to explain the math.