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August 28, 2003

Bringing Down The House

Well this was tons better than Posiitively Fifth Street. I've already noted the flaws in that book (in my opinion, of course). Ben Mezrich makes none of those mistakes, and his subjects are all interesting enough to sustain the book.

This story about how a group of MIT students clean up in Vegas and other towns playing Blackjack ("the only casino game with a memory") is entertaining for it's dramatization of the mechanics employed by the MIT team, and the sheer nerve of the players.

After reading it I understand what is actually meant by 'card counting', and I agree that it is not cheating or stealing. But the casinos don't like to lose their edge, so they reserve the right to bar you if you win too much, no matter how.

Sometimes they cross the line of legality too, as Mezrich relates the ongoing tale of a private investigation firm specializing in tracking card counters, and one agent who uses intimidation and violence to achieve his goals.

Overall, at least three stars.

Current book on the active stack: Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman.

Posted by dpwakefield at August 28, 2003 09:19 PM