Down the House : The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for
by Ben Mezrich
Book Description: It's Friday night and you're on a red-eye
to the city of sin. Strapped to your chest is half a million dollars; in
your overnight bag is another twenty-five thousand in blackjack chips;
and your wallet holds ten fake IDs. As soon as you land in Las Vegas, you
are positive you are being investigated and followed. To top it all off,
the IRS is auditing you, someone has been going through your mail -- and
you have a multivariable calculus exam on Monday morning. Welcome to the
world of an exclusive group of audacious MIT math geniuses who legally
took the casinos for over three million dollars -- while still finding
time for college keg parties, football games, and final exams.
In the midst of the go-go eighties and nineties, a group of overachieving,
anarchistic MIT students joined a decades-old underground blackjack club
dedicated to counting cards and beating the system at major casinos around
the world. While their classmates were working long hours in labs and libraries,
the blackjack team traveled weekly to Las Vegas and other glamorous gambling
locales, with hundreds of thousands of dollars duct-taped to their bodies.
Underwritten by shady investors they would never meet, these kids bet fifty
thousand dollars a hand, enjoyed VIP suites and other upscale treats, and
partied with showgirls and celebrities.
Handpicked by an eccentric mastermind -- a former MIT professor and
an obsessive player who had developed a unique system of verbal cues, body
signals, and role-playing -- this one ring of card savants earned more
than three million dollars from corporate Vegas, making them the object
of the casinos' wrath and eventually targets of revenge. Here is their
inside story, revealing their secrets for the first time.
Master storyteller Ben Mezrich takes you from the ivory towers of academia
to the Technicolor world of Las Vegas, where anything can happen -- and
often does. Bringing Down the House launches you into the seedy underworld
of corporate Vegas -- deep into the realm of back rooms, ever-present video
cameras, private investigators, and the threats and tactics of pit bosses
and violent heavies. Equipped with twenty different aliases and disguises,
the group of young card counters struggles around these roadblocks to live
the high life -- until one fateful day when Vegas violently follows them
home to Boston. Suddenly, there can be no more hiding behind false identities;
the high life folds like a bad hand of cards.
Filled with tense action and incredibly close calls, Bringing Down the
House is a real-life mix of Liar's Poker and Ocean's Eleven -- and it's
a story Vegas doesn't want you to read.
Hardcover from Free Press