Busting Vegas

I read “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions” (Ben Mezrich)

maybe a couple of years ago when it first came out — it’s the story of the MIT Blackjack Club, and how they developed team card counting techniques. Really fun read — only took a day to read and was interesting to read about what they were up to, how they ran into some (bad) trouble, etc.

This book, Busting Vegas, is a sort of unintended sequel — it’s about just a few people from MIT that, instead of developing card counting techniques, decided instead to do some observational tricks to tilt the odds into their favor a lot. The book follows these half dozen folks from MIT to Las Vegas to Atlantic City to Aruba to Monte Carlo, and talks about how they did what they did.

I was reading the epilogue, written by one of the principals, and he talked a bit about how folks would wonder why he was willing to share his techniques in detail — and he said he was lately watching the open source movement in software — particularly Firefox’s gains against Microsoft — and incredibly encouraged. So he figured he’d do the same sort of thing to bring down the casinos. Amazing, I thought.

Fun book to read — ultimately, it reads a lot like his first book about MIT nerds breaking the casinos, but is fun nonetheless.

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