Bringing Down the House, by Ben Mezrich

Amazon link

I read a Wired article a couple years ago about the MIT blackjack team, a group of MIT students who used their ability to count cards to beat the system at Vegas and make a lot of money. Millions of dollars allegedly. This intrigued me both because it was about MIT students, but also because it turned out one of the guys I knew at MIT had been on one such team. The Wired article turned out to be a condensed version of a book, Bringing Down the House, which I finally managed to borrow a copy of recently.

The book-length version is also pretty entertaining. It’s undoubtedly exaggerated, but it’s a good story, and a real page-turner – I read the book in a couple nights, staying up way too late to do so. The explanation of how you can set up a team to beat the system at blackjack is interesting, and the vision of these MIT geeks playing the part of high-rollers in a Vegas casino cracks me up. It’s a quick fun read, probably not worth buying unless you see it cheap.