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Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions

Average Rating 4.5
( 139 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 139 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted February 18, 2013

    The book ¿Bringing Down the House,¿ features an MIT grad student

    The book “Bringing Down the House,” features an MIT grad student who is living a double life. Kevin Lewis, the main character is brought to work with a club called the MIT blackjack team who has a knack for counting cards on the biggest stage, Las Vegas. Kevin gets on to the team and as a whole they make a whole lot of profits. He goes through many adventures getting banned for casino’s and his face is known forever to the “eyes in the sky.”
    A major theme from this thrilling novel is Duty vs. Desire. Kevin wants to live up to his parent’s wants of him having a nice job and live a “real” life but also he wants to have the double life counting cards partying with celebrities and being rich. It is all up to Kevin. Another minor theme in this book is the idea of big brother. There is always someone watching you in those casinos and most defiantly someone is watching Kevin and knows his face. A minor theme also is quitting while ahead. The team always wants more which could lead you into trouble.
    One major like of this book is all of the action is has in store page to page. Every time I read it I always looking for more. I love how I feel like I am on the edge of my seat reading it. I also like how the author, Ben Mezrich, is very detailed with his writing. It makes me feel like I am sitting at the same blackjack table as Kevin and the rest of the MIT Blackjack team. One dislike I had of the book is that Mezrich uses very large words and those words are sometimes hard to comprehend with all of the action going on. I have to go back and use other words to figure what it means.
    Why I think someone should read this book is because it is action packed and will leave you wanting more and more. Also because it is very interesting how such a prestigious school like MIT would have a club that makes a huge profit and lives a double life. Also there is another book that is similar by Mezrich which is called “Busting Vegas” about another MIT student living a double life and living it up. Similar to this story just a different character. My overall rating of the book, “Bringing Down the House” has got to be 4½ stars out of 5 Stars. I give it that because it is so exciting and I could not put it down and even though Mezrich writes in a big vocabulary it does not slow down the reading one bit.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Good Story!!

    I could not put it down, I could not wait to see the movie!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    The book "Bringing Down the House" is about the MIT bl

    The book "Bringing Down the House" is about the MIT blackjack team and their card counting adventure in Las Vegas. The book has a lot of drama and exciting moments, but some of them seem a little far fetched for non fiction. I enjoyed the book because it was honestly a page turner, the book was exciting and kept the reader interested through out the whole thing. This book would be a good read for someone who likes a fairly basic storyline with moderate character development. It was an easy read but don't read if you want a strictly non fiction book. A lot of the topics and dialogue is highly over emphasized and could be made up. A good motif I noticed was duty vs. desire, there is always the desire to make more money and enjoy life but the duty is to keep playing by the rules of the club to make money to help pay for college. This is a constant battle throughout the story. Hodges 6block

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012


    Good god

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    Great book

    If you liked the movie you will really like the book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011


    If you loved the movie, you'll love the book. If you haven't seen the movie, read the book first. Thrilling, absorbing, exciting, and simply awesome. Recommended for all.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011


    Title says it all

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    ...I may just have a horse to sell you!!!!

    First things first, this book is a slow read. Putting that aside, it does pick up steam, and become very interesting in terms of the turns that it takes for each of the characters. You will find yourself rooting for them toward the end and wishing that things turned out a differenct way for them. I will say that it was more interesting than the movie based on it, because the movie failed to really capture the essence of the time and place that the story takes place in. I still recommend this for anyone looking for a different kind of read, it will fit the bill.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2010

    Vegas! Vegas! Vegas! A true David vs. Goliath

    Bringing Down The House is a truly inspirational story of how six M.I.T students brought Vegas to its knees. The novel unfolds as the main character, Kevin Lewis, describes all the events leading up to, including, and after his four years of expert card counting. Recruited by two of his M.I.T college friends, and trained by a brilliant card counting college professor, Kevin made millions during his double life as whoever he wanted to be in Vegas. At first card counting seemed like an exciting and fun way to challenge his brain, though not necessarily gambling, the Vegas life consumed the blackjack team and almost cost them more than money at the casinos. The ultimate test changed from counting cards, into learning when to quit, as Vegas' abilities of tracking down the card counters and physically making them stop became a major issue. Mezrich's writing style seemed to capture all the glamour and excitement of Vegas into words. Every chapter kept me wanting to read on; and the easy writing style also made me feel as though I could participate with the very best and take down Vegas. I really enjoyed the way Mezrich was able to describe the greats of Vegas, and his ability to create wonder and hope in reader's minds of what is capable. There is no question that after reading this novel, I and readers alike will be trying to buy the next plane ticket to Vegas to give their own luck a chance. The only complaint about the novel that I have would be the open ended ending. I think though the ending leaves the reader with many questions, to Mezrich's credit; it also leaves possibilities open to the readers minds. I would most defiantly recommend this book to both intellectual thinkers who would enjoy the possibility of mathematical success, as well as those just looking to better understand the gambling world. If reading isn't the viewer's optimal choice, though lacking some glamour and understanding of the counting system, I would recommend watching the movie 21. It gets the books point across and basically takes the books main concepts and compresses them. If viewers would like the full card counting, glamour, and Vegas experience, the book is defiantly the recommended way to go.

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  • Posted December 2, 2009

    M.I.T Students "Brought Down The House"

    Ben Mezrich's tale about six M.I.T students beating the system had me wanting for more! Bringing Down The House was definitely a face paced page turning adventure. You could definitely feel the rush and the tense action as you read the story. You could even feel your heart beating faster and faster as the characters live out their lives as extraordinary Vegas gamblers beating the system, winning high stakes, and switch to a normal M.I.T student back to the best gamblers Vegas has ever encountered. Ben Mezrich's story about the M.I.T students and their card counting shows that blackjack is a beatable game if they used their mathematics skills. It was absolutely the one thing that I liked about the book because it clearly showed that using what you've learned can be useful if you know how to apply it. Another thing I loved about this novel is how they put so much thought into their own system beating the system in Vegas. This itself made the story so interesting and so believable. With how the blackjack team ran their so called club, it was more of a business. During the novel, main character had visited the back room several times throughout the story which made me want to continue reading the book because of the suspense it brings as to what will happen. Ben Mezrich's inside story really is a great book to read.

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  • Posted August 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    I wanted to read this book because a movie was made of it. I've not seen the movie, as usually the book is better than the movie version. In this instance; however, I think watching the movie would help in understanding what they are describing in the book, being that I am not a gambler of any sort.

    It was an interesting book all the same, and makes me realize how people can get addicted to gambling and that way of life.

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  • Posted April 8, 2009

    Bringing down the House by Ben Mezrich

    Bringing down the House, by Ben Mezrich, was a great read! It was definitely a page turner. I could not put it down. The excitement of winning thousands of dollars, living out of enormous penthouse suites with complimentary champagne and tons of other gifts, as well as the adrenaline rush of Vegas was very intriguing. Something about reading events that do not happen to the normal everyday person just grabs your attention.

    Another thing i liked about this novel was that it made blackjack seem like it was more like an equation than just pure luck. These kids weren't your normal students. They were MIT students. They knew all about numbers and statistics. This fact almost made it ok for them to count cards, which isn't illegal per say, just frowned upon. But since they put so much intelligent thought and planning into it, it made me feel like the pit bosses and other casino managers should just back off. It wasn't gambling, it was business. And yes, they did clean out a few casinos and perform a few shady acts to do so, but hey, isn't the casino business a little shady itself? This fact was further proven by many events that took place along the way including a few "back room visits" where tough looking casino managers threatened the card counters.

    All in all, I thought that Bringing Down The House was a great read.

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  • Posted April 8, 2009

    Bringing down the House Review

    This book is an excellent book to read in shcool becuase it is very enjoyable and has a lot of things students are interested in. It gives you a break from the average books people are forced to read in school. I would recommend this book to students and adults that are interested in gambling, controversy, and getting away with things. I think that this is a well written book, and the coolest part is thta it is a true story. I think everyone should get a chance to read this book.

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  • Posted April 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Gripping Book

    The novel Bringing Down the House was a great story. The main character Kevin is described in a way that helps the reader feel like they are in his shoes. As Kevin progresses through the story, I felt as though I could understand his thought process and connect more easily. In the begining there are a lot of undiscovered secrets about the characters lives. Throughout the book the author, Ben Mezrich, tells the story in an enticing way that makes the reader just want more. The lives of the individuals in the MIT group come together and drift apart and come together and drift apart again as most groups do. Ben Mezrich helps tell the story through different eyes while focusing on Kevin's. It helps to make the book not seem as bias and makes for a great read. The students all have their own personalities but have the capabilities to transform into someone else entirely on the weekends. It is fun to just imagine what that must be like for them. It is hard to relate to the big picture of a double life and Vegas, however the individuals have real fealings and worries just like everyone else making it easy to relate. It is hard book to put down because it is such a gripping and exciting story to read. I highly reccomend this book to anyone interested in reading about the 'double life' these kids lead.

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  • Posted April 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    I found this book highly entertaining. It was fast paced and the author made it feel as if you were watching a movie. As a reader you really feel as if you know the main character, Kevin, and can relate to his problems even if yours are not as exciting as card counting. Kevin is a highly relatable character with real emotions and real excitement. I think the best part is that throughout the book you have to keep remembering that this was really happening to him. That it is a true story. Remembering this makes the book feel all that more exciting. Every time the team gets into a mess that seems to crazy to be true the author switches the next chapter to be a little about his journey's during his research. While this, again, reminds you that the story really happened it also takes you away from the excitement of the story and creates a bit of a lull in the story. Overall it was highly entertaining and a good book to read in your free time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2009

    Great Book

    I feel like Bringing Down The House is one of the most interesting books I have ever read. It was very well written and pulls you in right from the begining. The author Ben Mezrich makes you feel like you are part of the action right from the begining. I really like how you can feel Kevin transform throughout the book. I also like the part when he cracks the million dollar mark. Over all it was a great book and I would recomend it to any reader.

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  • Posted March 27, 2009

    A classic

    This is one of the greatest book i have ever read. In the first day since i had it i read the first 8 chapters in a day. within a week i finished it. you won't want to put it down if you can get past the first few pages. This book has a lot to offer not just in the sense that it's about BlackJack but in the sense that it's about what happens when you live double lives, as well as the issues that come with lies that you know you can't keep up. When i was reading it made me want to play BlackJack. Bringing Down The House has Everything a book needs and this book makes you feel a part of the action. This is going to be a classic for years to come.

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  • Posted March 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Disguises,and allias every weekend, who knew? Partying with celebrities, going to all the hottest clubs, having pockets of cash to spend, sound like fun? It comes with a price.

    Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich is a true account of MIT students who formed their own small, and secret society of counting cards, and took their skills across the country to beat the major casinos. Backed by a mysterious leader and shady investors, the team became successful and infiltrated Vegas and made off with millions of dollars. But as time goes on, the ring of card counting savants, get greedy and take too many risks, but some learn to leave and some stay. In the end, those that called it quits learned to lead a normal life and those that stayed continued to live a double life. The major message of this book is to know when to call it quits and how to find a balance in one's life. A double life cannot fulfill a person's need and desires. It might sustain for a period of time, but in the long wrong, it will cause chaos and pain. I liked this book in the fact that it was kind of written in a fiction book type of way because unlike most non-fiction books, it wasn't written in first person. I also liked how it gave great description and it wasn't proper, there was some profanity which made it more real. I didn't like how it would go from the present day, to the actual story. It would tell like four chapters of the story and then skip ahead for a chapter to the present day. I would still be in the mind set of the story of the MIT students and then it would rapidly shift to the present day of Kevin, main character. If someone likes the casino scene and the heart beating action of almost getting caught over and over, then I would recommend this book. And for anyone who likes a little romance, and watching someone show how they can move past their mistakes and learn from them. Another book by Ben Mezrich is Rigged. This book is like Bringing Down the House because it tells of rags to riches story and how alumni from a prestigious school, such as Harvard, can beat the system and get ahead using his brains and skills. I would rate this book a four on a scale of one to five, five being the best. Because it was hard for me to put the book down, I wanted to know if they were going to get caught, but parts of it were a little dull, and confusing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2008

    Mezrich¿s Novel Brings down the House

    By Kyle DeCruccio This gambling book would have had profound success as a fiction novel with its intense parts that really got my heart racing. The fact that it shows you a very different side of Sin City and all casinos in general makes it a great read. It illustrates the side of the high rollers getting all the great treatment playing in the high stakes gambling areas and partying with celebrities. Then the dangerous side the side of the cheaters and card counters where you¿re getting kicked out of casinos, and being asked to go to back rooms to ¿talk¿ with security, and being followed back to your hometown. The very best part about this book is that it is all true. During the book, they go to many places all over the US. The main places are Las Vegas and Boston, their hometown. In the middle of the book Kevin moves to Chicago to get a better job and ends up living there for a year. While he was there he discovered a great river boat casino called the Grand Victoria where the group goes to gamble frequently. They also go to another two floating casinos down South. Another place they go is two local casinos we probably all know Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun the largest casinos in the world. I wouldn¿t try going to Mohegan Sun to try out the MIT team play strategy because the team burned that place out taking 1 million dollars in one night. Mohegan sun then later changed their rules so team card counting was impossible. The star, Kevin, is one of the top student scientists at MIT and a member of the swim team. When he isn¿t at the lab he¿s at the pool doing laps. If he¿s not at the pool he¿s eating sushi with his fellow MIT friends Martinez and Fisher. Martinez is a genius and an MIT dropout. No one knows why he dropped out but you later find the reason was to make card counting his main priority and focus. Fisher is another MIT dropout for the same reason as Martinez. They bring Kevin to a meeting with the rest of the MIT blackjack team where he meets Micky. Micky is a retired teacher from MIT and had been counting cards for years before he got burned out at every hotel in Vegas and various others around the country. The MIT card counting team had come up with the perfect strategy to beat the house. They use team play that involves spotters, gorillas, and big players. The spotter stays at a certain table counting, betting the minimum, and waiting for a positive count. Once it is positive, or hot, the spotter calls over the big player or gorilla by folding their arms across their chest. Then they say a random sentence that contains a code word for the count. For example, ¿My room here is the size of a voting booth.¿ This sentence is saying start betting your savings because the count is + 18. They say 18 because you have to be 18 to vote, hence the words ¿voting booth¿. The count is a way to determine how many high cards are in a shoe. A card from 2-6 adds one to the count, a card from 7-9 does nothing, and a card 10-Ace subtracts one from the count. So + 18 means that there are 18 high cards '10+' in the shoe. The gorillas are usually the best actors of the group. They come down and sit at the table pretending to be drunk, throwing ¿random¿ high bets out there. But the truth is the gorillas are never truly drunk, they just pretend to be. While they¿re acting all loopy, they¿re actually getting the count from the spotter. The Big players do everything, keep count and bet probably more than your week¿s salary with each hand. They pose as offspring of big business owners who have nothing to do but waste their money gambling. They are the ones who bring in the most money out of the team. They party with celebrities and get front row seats during fight nights. One of those fight nights went wrong. It was the fight of the year, Tyson vs. Holyfield, the MGM grand was as crowded as possible. Then it all went down hill as Tyson bit off Holyfield¿s ear and then a gun was fired. They evacuated the whole casino. L

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2008

    What A Book!!!

    This book is complicated to the un-complicated. It's a non-stop thriller and page turner!

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