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on 8 May 2017
Chosen for me by my book club, the story is quite interesting, but I feel that it is already outdated due to modern technology, face recognition modern CCTV the teams would be caught up with a lot sooner nowadays.
To learn the lengths and procedures a university crowd wage war on the casinos in the 1990s in the USA.
I feel that if you are able to count cards on your own and monitor the game that way there is no question that you are cheating. To have a whole network of people hit the tables doing the counting for a couple of big players and calling them in when the table turns hot ( lots of court cards yet to be plated in the stack) that is a different matter, but casinos seem to manage to make a profit! so I don't feel to sorry for them.
The book ends a bit abruptly for my liking and got a bit repetitive.
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on 9 July 2017
Absolutely fantastic book, I'm not a reader but couldn't put this down. If you like gambling, the thought of winning and excitement then it is a must read.
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on 16 May 2017
Really interesting book, takes you into a world of money, luxury goods and how Vegas was beaten by a group of students, also outlines how greed and obsession can rot a team from the inside
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on 16 July 2017
Excellent book. Could not put it down!
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on 24 February 2006
This is the story of how a bunch of M.I.T. Students developed a system that enabled them to play blackjack and win, and win big. The story is told, ostensibly, from the point of view of Kevin - one of the big players - and occasionally from other viewpoints. It charts their story, how they did it, where they did it and what they did with the money.

This is an illuminating book which highlights a flaw in the system (which I guess is not there anymore!)which these students exploit. It is exciting and it does give all of us a glimpse into the highlife of big-league American gambling, who inhabits this world and what they get up to. It is difficult not to have a certain amount of sympathy for them as casinos are built with the prime purpose of fleecing punters but I did detect a certain amount of arrogance that I think was their Achilees Heel.

I gave this four stars because it is a great story, simply told. The book is like Vegas: exciting and worth visiting but if you scratch the surface you find it is essentially shallow. Good book for a plane, or if you are visiting Vegas, but nothing more than that.
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on 5 September 2004
In the beginning I felt a bit confused by the way in which the book was written. Some chapters were written from the experiences of the author while some were written in third person and on top of all that it was shelved in the Biography section in the local bookstore. Once I had established what was what and who was who I really started to enjoy the book. It's about a group of MIT boffins who make a heap of money by counting cards in any casino where there's a free seat.
What's fascinating is not the exact mechanics of counting the cards (this is too difficult for a dummy like me to understand though it is explained) but it's more about the way in which they deceived the wary casino operators and the twin lives they had to live. For instance, to transport the amount of cash the team had to use some members literally strapped hundreds of thousands of dollars to their bodies whilst trying to edge past airport security.
The story is effectively told from the viewpoint of one of the main team members, namely Kevin. Kevin doesn't deny that his alter profession is profitable but for him it was the thrill of deception that really turned him on as well as the NFL Cheerleader he saw on his every visit, one of the many advantages of being a high roller. Other advantages included free rooms and tables appearing from nowhere in a full booked restaurant. As long as the risks were in his favor it was fine to keep on doing what he did so well. But within the ranks were colleagues that treated card counting as a career, which spelt trouble.
To some extent the last third of the story reads more like a mystery thriller which is great but unfortunately Monsieur Poirot was not on hand to solve the crimes. Shame. But you can draw you're own conclusions quite easily. The next time I step into a casino I will be looking for those hand and verbal signals that maketh a card counter and I shall grin with great joy. If only it were that easy.
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VINE VOICEon 29 August 2003
This is the most bizzare blackjack book I've ever read. There is enough information in it to pick up the absolute bare minimum basics to count cards, but as a biogrpahy, it reads like a novel.
The story is discussed elsewhere. The author who took up Kevin Lewis' words and put them onto the page previously only worked on works of fiction, and you can feel his desire for high drama. To be honest, I've read a lot of gambling books and this was only the second I've ever read where I literally didn't want to put it down. That sounds cliched, but I literally stayed up until 5am reading this book and missed a morning of work.
This is not really a gambling book though. The point is, as the book comes to a close, it becomes evident that the pit bosses now are able to spot team play. It's a dangerous game to play, and in the UK it can be dealt with in all sorts of horrible ways. The tells and signals of team plays are now obvious to the dealers and bosses and preventative measures have been taken to try and wrap this up. Do not buy this book if you think you and your friends are going to be able to try it out and make some money. If you want to make money, use this book as a guide to what has already been done and would now fail.
If you want a cracking read, and trust me this is less patronising and more realistic than most novels you could find, this is a great little book. It shows that Vegas is addictive, nasty and driven on greed. It shows how a clever young man can see his life suddenly shift away from him, out of control. It allows you for just a few minutes, to dream about being a player. Just don't think, even though this is a true story, any of it's real - that's what Vegas is all about.
5 stars, for me a must read, the New York Bestsellers list can't be wrong. Go for it.
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on 22 July 2003
Now i'm not usually a gambling man, but I bet you'll like this little read. Although the book will never be a literary classic, the story definitely should become legendary. I lost a well-needed night's sleep last week due to the fact that I picked this book up to read it at midnight and was prevented from putting it down until I had finished it, by which time it was shower-and-shave o'clock.
The story would still be good even if it was fiction, however knowing that it actually happened makes me wanna dust off my silk shirt, jump in my pontiac and point it in the direction of Vegas!
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on 28 June 2006
This could be called "How a team of very intelligent students count cards and use this to make BIG money in Vegas" - and that would neatly capture the sheer simplicity of this story... essentially blackjack is a game that can be beaten if you work as a team and you have a method (and you're VERY smart), but eventually the house wins... See how much they made and what the consequences were in this gripping tale...
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on 15 December 2004
At the turn of every page you just know the author has gone to real lengths to understand the thinking and feelings of his characters. There's a real depth to this which draws you in.... to the inner circles of a daring, adrenaline soaked scam and keeps you turning pages to see what happens to each of the characters. A great book, easy to read, well-paced and thoroughly well researched.
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