Customer Reviews for

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

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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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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  • 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 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

    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

    Entertaining

    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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  • 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 February 8, 2008

    Very Good

    An entertaining book, enhanced by the fact that it is non-fiction. Interesting to read about some of the things the MIT players went through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2007

    Great Story, mediocre writing

    This was a great story that was very interesting, but it was poorly written. At times the author was confusing when jumping from present day to when the story actually happened. Good read though, like I said the actual story was great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    I think this book is very compelling although I had a hard time understanding the major conflict and the actual theme of this book. I was wondering if anyone had any clue what they are. E-mail me if possible. Overall I do recommended this book to practically anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2006

    Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions

    As an avid gambler, I was eager to read Bringing Down the House after several friends recommended it. What could be a more intriguing premise than several MIT whiz kids banding together to count cards in team blackjack play, beating the casinos at their own game and making a sweet profit at the same time? Of course, there's always that OTHER side of Vegas, the ugly side where card counters get their arms broken in 'back-room' confrontations, or sometimes disappear altogether. Author Mezrich brings as intriguing a tale to print as I had hoped. Unfortunately, his overdramatic writing style (As Kirkus Reviews rightly pointed out above) mucks up the works at times. Still, it's a compelling story, and wide-eyed prose can't derail it. Feel free to add a star to my rating if you understand the terms 'basic strategy' and 'high T-count,' and subtract a star if you don't gamble or play blackjack.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2006

    A reviewer

    The book, Bringing Down the House, by Ben Mezrich describes the perils of a man named Kevin Lewis, a graduate out of MIT who is asked to join a team of shady gamblers. They were a card counting team who were some of the best in the world. In taking their offer Kevin is put thru numerous trials and battered with tests that the other members attempt to make him fail. Once he becomes part of the team, he discovers a dangerous world of card counting that only few know about. They travel from casino to casino trying to blend in, and not bring attention to themselves. Their plan is to profit from the Vegas casinos. The team gradually becomes apprehensive, constantly looking over their shoulders for that observant eye that follows them around. Their winning begins to draw attention from all different directions. Conspiracy and betrayal throughout the book keeps your attention devoted to the story itself and wanting you to read further on to see what happens. I enjoyed the many passages of action and suspense. I also admired how Kevin and the team used their knowledge and skill so much, that I wanted to be a part of the team. I wasn¿t keen on the team members eventually breaking up and disbanding each other. Kevin was also not able to discuss his situation with anyone including his parents. Whether the team would eventually get caught keeps the reader interested and in anticipation. I would recommend this book to someone who is interested in intrigue and drama and who likes to keep reading, not knowing what is the next turn in the story. Some other recommended works that I would push to read are Busting Vegas and Ugly Americans. Both these books look to be filled with the same enjoyment of Bringing Down The House.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2006

    Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions

    As an avid gambler, I was eager to read Bringing Down the House after several friends recommended it. What could be a more intriguing premise than several MIT whiz kids banding together to count cards in team blackjack play, beating the casinos at their own game and making a sweet profit at the same time? Of course, there's always that OTHER side of Vegas, the ugly side where card counters get their arms broken in 'back-room' confrontations, or sometimes disappear altogether. Author Mezrich brings as intriguing a tale to print as I had hoped. Unfortunately, his overdramatic writing style (As Kirkus Reviews rightly pointed out above) mucks up the works at times. Still, it's a compelling story, and wide-eyed prose can't derail it. Feel free to add a star if you understand the terms 'basic strategy' and 'high T-count.' Subtract a star if you don't play blackjack or if you're a Mormon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2003

    A fun, yet overblown, story

    I don't doubt the MIT team's expertise, but the author seems to have hyped elements of the story a bit more than I would've preferred. That is to be expected I suppose, especially as the author's background is in fiction. My favorite example of the hype is not from the author but the publisher: 'a story Vegas doesn't want you to read.' Actually, the casinos probably like the book a lot as it seems to have created many wannabe counters who come to beat the house, and not surprisingly they lose.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2003

    fascinating story

    I love to play blackjack, so this book was a wild ride for me. I support ANYONE who can take the casinos for money. It's a teriffic book that is fast paced and keeps you on the edge of your seat for a while. I would recommend it for anyone who likes cards, or for anyone just looking for a different kind of entertaining story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2003

    Hollywood is calling for the script

    This novel was at most times fast paced and exciting. I often found myself tearing through the pages to see what more they could get themselves into. Although it drags on at times and is cliche, Mezrich's novel made me want to hit the casinos and win big money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2003

    Play or be played!

    Fascinating tale of students who took the short cut to success...and won!...but you realize reading the book that even beating a system that sets you up to fail requires work..nothing that pays big returns without much sweat comes without a price.....modern day robin hoods!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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