Modern Fix

book reviews

back to book reviews home Author: Ben Mezrich Title: Bringing Down the House Publisher: Free Press / Simon & Schuster

Everyone knows not to mess with Vegas, but goddamn if this book won’t make you want to try. Riveting and entertaining, “Bringing Down the House” chronicles the story of M.I.T. genius Kevin Taylor (or whatever his real name might be) and his cronies, as they take Vegas (and countless other casinos) for millions. Sure, there are the card counting tricks that you’ll remember from every gambling movie ever made, close escapes from casino security, tales of smuggling chips/cash through airports, etc. The real drama here comes from Mezrich’s crisp prose and the ever-changing dynamics amongst the group. The M.I.T. group had card counting down to a science, with intricate, choreographed dynamics between various members of the team. Casinos are good about keeping their money inside and are lightening quick to kick those to the curb they suspect of counting cards. Kevin and the rest, under the tutelage and financial backing of a group of shady East Coast investors employ ingenious schemes to keep their squad operating all weekend without the Casinos ever catching on. Of course, like Biggie said, mo’ money, mo’ problems, and the increasing profits turn members against each other as power struggles emerge, rival groups appear at casinos, and the mounting lies begin to unravel relationships. A must read.

Brian Greenaway