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Busting Vegas: The Mit Whiz Kid Who Brought the Casinos to Their Knees Library Edition [Anglais] [Lecteur digital à contenu audio pré-chargé]

Ben Mezrich

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Description de l'ouvrage

1 novembre 2005

Semyon Dukach was known as the darling of Las Vegas. A legend at twenty-one, this cocky hotshot was the biggest high roller to appear in Sin City in decades, a mathematical genius with a system the casinos had never seen before and couldn't stop -- a system that had nothing to do with card counting, wasn't illegal, and was more powerful than anything that had been tried before.

Las Vegas. Atlantic City. Aruba. Barcelona. London. And the jewel of the gambling crown -- Monte Carlo.

Dukach and his fellow MIT students hit them all and made millions. They came in hard, with stacks of cash; big, seemingly insane bets; women hanging on their arms; and fake identities. While they were taking classes and studying for exams during the week, over the weekends they stormed the blackjack tables, only to be banned from casinos, harassed, on the wrong end of guns, and beaten in the notorious back rooms of casinos.

The stakes were high, the dangers very real, but the players were up to the challenges, the consequences be damned. In the classroom, they were geeks. On the casino floor, they were unstoppable. Busting Vega$ is Dukach's unbelievably true story; a riveting account of monumental greed, excess, hubris, sex, love, violence, fear, and statistics that is high-stakes entertainment at its best.

--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

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Descriptions du produit

Biographie de l'auteur

Ben Mezrich graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991. Since then 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.

--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Détails sur le produit

  • Lecteur digital à contenu audio pré-chargé
  • Editeur : HarperCollins Publishers; Édition : Abridged (1 novembre 2005)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1598951351
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598951356
  • Dimensions du produit: 20,3 x 12,7 x 2,5 cm
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 étoiles sur 5  75 commentaires
39 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The thrilling read you would expect from a Mezrich book 7 décembre 2005
Par Jessica Lux - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Mezrich broke onto the bestseller list with his account of an MIT blackjack uber-card counting team that hit Vegas for big money (in 2003's Bringing Down the House). Now he's back with a another MIT-whiz kid blackjack scam, only this one is even more unbelievable and over-the-top. People have heard of the card counters discussed in Mezrich's first book, but the three types of play desribed in Busting Vegas are going to be brand-new to most readers. So new, in fact, that they may seem unbelievable.

These blackjack techniques (or scams, depending on your point of view) involve as much math as they do shuffle-watching and precise card-cutting. It's a marriage of the intense math required for card counting and the near-impossible perfect moves required in a roulette or craps scam. Complete control of an entire table by the team is required, so that a known card can be directed to hit on the appropriate hand. No random players can be sitting at the table taking cards out of the shuffle.

As with the other MIT scam, the players have to take on fake identities. In this scam, however, it is essential that everyone be a big roller, a "whale." Just watching the insane Russian arms dealer, trust-fund brat, and European rock star characters these guys take around the Strip is entertaining.

Is Mezrich's account to be taken as the literal truth? Of course not! Names have been changed and the story has been spiced up to read like a Grisham novel. Semyon Dukatch himself has said that the story captures the "essense" of his experience. This isn't meant to be 100% truth, and it would probably be a heck of a lot more dry reading if someone had told every literal fact from start to finish. Mezrich's cinematic style, full of highs and lows for the characters, makes for compelling reading.

Enjoy this as a great novel about whiz kids beating the establishment of the casinos (for a short while), and don't worry too much about where the line between fact and fiction is.
20 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Clever, but terribly written 25 juin 2007
Par Andrew Otwell - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a fun little summer read. Smarty-pants MIT geeks figure out some ways to count cards in blackjack, and win it all! Then, of course, it all comes crashing down! The clever methods turn out to be more or less brute force: count and commit stuff to memory, then time your bets just right. I guess I was hoping for something more MIT-worthy.

Unfortunately, this book is so badly-written it's almost unbearable to read. I wasn't expecting great non-fiction, but this is *bad*. Here's an example: describing a "grueling" month of training the team goes through before hitting Vegas, we're told that the students made "biweekly" trips to a local casino. Really? Two whole trips isn't exactly "grueling" training. (Maybe the author meant "twice weekly"?) This is followed by "every ten days, the team endured 'checkouts'"--basically pop quizzes. Every *ten* days? So...that makes three times during this so-called intense month? This doesn't exactly paint a picture of the team grinding away in Boston in preparation for the big score, it sounds kinda like some kids playing cards every once in a while.

The whole book can't seem to strike the right tone of reality. This *is* a true story, but it isn't told straight. Details are needlessly specific (how many books on a bookcase, the color of a pair of shoes, how good a cup of tea is, and so on). But these are details that aren't just irrelevant to the story, but impossible to recall. It's clear that the author is simply filling in information here in hopes that it all seems more "real". Problem is, it's not possible to tell when these details *are* real, and so everything seems equally fake, and you end up wondering: when Owen was in that secret back room at the casino, did he really get beat up and handcuffed? Did the security team really threaten him like that? Or are those details just imagined, too? If this was pure fiction, it'd be ok, but in a supposedly non-fiction book, it feels mostly made-up.
28 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Not playing with a full deck 1 avril 2006
Par Samuel Louis - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
One would like to believe that a group of MIT students truly did take Vegas for millions as Ben Mezrich claims. But in a era when diarists and autobiographers are routinely getting caught in lies, it's very difficult to believe this story. First, it reads like a bad pulp novel, filled with every possible B-movie cliche--security room beatings, casino owners waving guns in their faces on Aruban golf courses, swarthy Europeans threatening to kill them if they ever come back to Monte Carlo. Mix in a cast of characters straight out of central casting--the Russian math genius, the bombshell blond, the screwup with a drug problem, the obese nerd, and the charismatic mystery "leader" who hides hundreds of thousands of dollars in laundry baskets all over the greater Boston area. Then add sexual misunderstandings and B-movie "dialogue," and the author's own self-indulgent "visits" to Vegas brothels and casinos to "retrace" the kids' journey, and you get a far-fetched potboiler seemingly untethered to verifiable facts. Why, for example, did Mezrich not interview the kids' nemesis, a Vegas private eye who follows their movements and foils their plans everywhere they go? Why are there no interviews with security guards and casino managers who roughed them up in Vegas, Aruba, and Monte Carlo? How do we can believe that any of these people even existed, and that any of this is true, when Mezrich swallows their tale hook line and sinker? Read this entertaining but ultimally vacuous trifle for what it is--all bluff and fluff.
15 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Fact, or FICTION? 28 décembre 2005
Par Loyd E. Eskildson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Mezrich's book is about a group of four select MIT students who utilize three blackjack card "tricks" to win loads of money from casinos around the world. Along the way they also lose large amounts to carelessness and casino security, as well as get arrested and beat here and there. Busting Vegas eventually ends with a "soft landing" after the ringleader crashlands a small plane and he and his partner incur minor burns rescuing their money from the burning plane, and then four members of the team end up getting married.

Interesting, or totally made-up? I don't know; what is for sure is that this is too much like "Bringing Down the House" - also involving MIT students, casinos, and blackjack. The story begins with an MIT recruitment fair for those interested in making money in casinos. The best candidates are selected to fill role models - rich, slightly drunk and crazy Russians who love to gamble. Their trick, however, is not card-counting but identifying the bottom-card as the dealer prepares to deal, cutting the deck EXACTLY 52 cards away (a skill presumably accomplished through a great deal of practice), and waiting for the kill. But first, they take over an entire table - either by asking the dealer to raise the limit or driving away others through their obnoxiousness.

If an ace is spotted, the team waits until the card is due for play, and then suddenly raise their bets. Similarly, a face card - this they apparently try to maneuver to hopefully bust the dealer. Initially the team wins about $20,000 in a Vegas trip, but eventually meets up with an investigator contracted to numerous casinos to investigate suspicious winnings. One of the team is beat, another interrogated. They stand silent, knowing that nothing is illegal.

On and on, around the world. The PI increasingly keeps foiling their efforts, faxing their photos or identifying them to others. They are barred from playing in London, and arrested and beaten in Monte Carlo.

Validity: Not only does the plot suffer from being almost a Xerox of "Bringing Down the House," the system is so simple that the great mathematical talent prerequisite for being on the team really isn't needed. Further, one wonders how they can take so much time off from class for their globe-trotting. An interesting story, but one wonders whether it should be categorized as "Fiction."
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Entertaining, but with fluff and a ridiculous ending 20 avril 2006
Par Omari Norman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This is an entertaining book, and a fast read. I tore through it, not only because it isn't very long, but also because the author has a simple, easy-to-read style. Mezrich is quite effective at weaving a good story.

It's obvious that the author is making up a lot of the details in the book, because the main character could not possibly have remembered all the dialogue and details recounted in the book. The cheesy "romance" between Semyon and Allie added nothing at all to the book and really should have been left out.

The ending, featuring an afterword from Semyon himself, insults the reader's intelligence. He claims they were out on a crusade to bust the evil casinos. Well, I hate to break it to you Semyon, but the casinos kicked you out long before you did any real damage to their bottom lines. And unlike what Semyon suggests, there's nothing to indicate that the team was on a Robin Hood mission--they weren't giving the money to the poor, or using it to fund counseling for problem gamblers. The kicker of it all is that Semyon suggests that he was motivated by open-source software to share his discoveries. If that were really true, Semyon wouldn't be hawking $40 DVDs in the book; instead, he would freely share exactly how to execute his "techniques."

Despite the factual gloss and Semyon's apparent self-delusions, the book is a fun way to spend a few days of reading time. I'd recommend it if you enjoyed "Bringing Down the House," though that earlier title is superior.
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