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Busting Vegas

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  2,125 ratings  ·  154 reviews
He played in casinos around the world with a plan to make himself richer than anyone could possibly imagine -- but it would nearly cost him his life.

Semyon Dukach was known as the Darling of Las Vegas. A legend at age 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 b
ebook, 304 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published September 27th 2005)
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The book opens with a girls’ lineup in a Nevada brothel. (That will get your attention.) He follows the chosen girl up to a room, 232, and there the girl leaves and he meets up with the Russian MIT student who had used a technique that would take millions from the casinos. It was the safest place to meet.

Forget counting cards that only increases your advantage slightly, this team, led by Victor (of whom we really learn very little), another MIT student, this team developed several strategies tha
Just WOW is the writing bad. The dialogue sounds like a a desperate attempt to be cool from someone who has never met anyone cool except in movies form the 1940's. I kept getting into it and then having to put it down to wrap my head around the awful phrasing. Also, the man cannot write about a woman to save his life- they're all one dimensional literary devices for sexual conflict, never mind that they're brilliant MIT students. Also, he writes himself in the book! So distracting. And he writes ...more
Fuzzy Gerdes
The first book of Ben Mezrich's that I've read, Bringing Down the House, was about a group of MIT students who used a group blackjack technique to make a lot of money until casinos began to figure out their system and brought heat down on them. This new book, Busting Vegas, is about a group of MIT students who used a group blackjack technique to make a lot of money until casinos began to figure out their system and brought heat down on them. Seriously. A chapter in I had to double-check to ma ...more
I'm an MIT grad, so I love nothing more than a good story about MIT kids winning big. Unfortunately, that's where my interest ended. I couldn't agree more with previous reviewers who bemoaned the horrifically bad writing, especially when it comes to the female characters. Yes, the main character is a college-aged young man, so it might not be unrealistic for him to be preoccupied with women's breasts. But phrases like "her perfectly round breasts, her hard nipples"? Seriously? That sounds like s ...more
Michael Wheatley
The one I read didn't have that cover, I promise.
Busting Vega$ doesn't ring true. Falls short as a straight up bio, with obvious embellishments and revisionist fantasy sequences attempting to spice things up. Clearly a skewed point of view, written to appease Semyon Dukach, who apparently was the only one willing to spill the story. And the books claim that they brought Vegas to it's knees without card counting or cheating, is quickly proven false. All three of the groups "sequences" involve some method of counting cards, and illegally peaking ...more
Interesting book about a bunch of MIT students under the leadership of Victor who use a variety of techniques to give themselves an edge over the house. It relies on teamwork, a knowledge of dealer's shuffling techniques, and the ability to cut to a precise point in the deck. It was interesting and the casinos definitely did not like these folks darkening their doors. My only criticism is that the action shuffles back and forth between the MIT players and the author's background interviews and i ...more
Many of Ben Mezrich's books have been made into movies. After reading Busting Vegas, it's easy to see why. Mezrich writes non-fiction in a fictional, personal style that puts you inside the minds of the characters. Busting Vegas tells the story of Seymion Dukach and a band of MIT number crunchers who form a winning team at doing more than just card counting, but create a revolutionary formula for beating the blackjack tables and at times, avoiding unwanted and hostile attention from Vegas securi ...more
This just wasn't as interesting to me as the first one. It read like fiction but in an almost unbelievable way. While the techniques were interesting and raised a lot of questions about how the casinos would handle it when they learned about it, these questions were never answered and the techniques were presented in such a straightforward way. Honestly, it just felt like a cheap, trashy fiction read (not that there's anything wrong with that but it wasn't what I was expecting). I also didn't ca ...more
Marcelo Sanchez
Este es uno de esos libros que les gusta crear increíbles expectativas. Partiendo por el título. Las cantidades de exceso, sexo, amor y violencia están muy lejos de ser monumentales. De hecho diría que son con suerte perceptibles.
El escritor se pone a si mismo como un personaje que investiga la historia, el único rol de esta acción es crear más expectativa. Lo cual solo sirve para subestimar los eventos que pasan.
También se equivoca en concentrase en Las Vegas siendo que la historia se da vuelta
Busting Vegas is the most recent authentic Vegas suspense story that reads like fiction but is actually the true story of a card dynamo: Semyon Dukach and a small team of brilliant math geniuses. Dukach is an MIT student that stumbles upon a random posting on his school bulletin board. Dukach is sparked with an interest seeing as he is a math major and also had interest as far back as his preteen days reading a book about card counting ( written by a veteran of the business that was mentioned at ...more
Eddy Allen

He played in casinos around the world with a plan to make himself richer than anyone could possibly imagine -- but it would nearly cost him his life.

Semyon Dukach was known as the Darling of Las Vegas. A legend at age 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 has never been revealed until now; that has nothing to do with card counting, was
Wait, so this is the second book he wrote about MIT students who figured out how to scam casinos?

Anyway, the story itself is compelling enough, but the writing is violently purple. The best description I've encountered of his writing style is "non-fiction pulp": tolerable enough for a book, I guess, and much improved by the time The Accidental Billionaires, the only other book I've read of his, is published 4 years later. And while I enjoyed Semyon's story (and found the techniques they discusse
Steve Stanton
This is an easy read full of excitement, the story of a group of MIT students winning millions of dollars from casinos around the world, based on the aggrandized recollections of one of the participants. Building on the successful movie adaptation of a previous book, the author writes creative nonfiction in the style of a flashy novel, and inserts a series of first-person narratives about his research to add more veracity to the outrageous claims, many of which have since proven to be composite ...more
Malin Friess
4 stars. A sequel to Bringing Down the House about the MIT kids who come up with a system to win over a million dollars in Vegas. This team of 4 MIT students are brilliant and come up with three systems which they say are legal (not card counting--waiting for when a deck becomes hot--laced with mostly 10's and then signaling for a friend to come play to increase their odds)--no they learn to catch a glimpse of bottom card when a dealer with small hands is shuffling--they keep track of that card ...more
Jason Kurtz
As with most non-fiction books I read, I listened to this one on audio. I use this book in my English class, as a Lit Circle novel, and I was very pleased to have the opportunity to finally listen to it. I can genuinely recommend this book to young adult readers, as it is gritty, easy to follow, and fast-paced.

Busting Vegas is a great read that follows the experiences of a team of black jack players that develop a system to win big at the casinos around the world. Though I don't believe they act
It started as just an after school club, where students who were mathematically inclined, got together and counted cards. Semyon never thought much of it, until his coach, began bringing the team to Vegas.

The story begins with Semyon doing work on computers for other students to make money. He found a flyer asking, "Do You Want To Make Money?" Semyon took advantage of this, and signed up right away.

In Vegas, Semyon and the other card counters, take Vegas for thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Steven Scaffardi
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! This has surely got to be up there as one of every blokes dream - bleeding Las Vegas dry of its cash, women, and parties! Granted, the excessive threats of violence and beat-downs from the local bad lads is not something that makes an appearance in that dream, but what a ride nevertheless!

In typical Mezrich fashion, he's tweaked the truth a little to make it a little more Hollywood. After all, how excited would you really get about a maths geek showing off his num
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Man Ching
Read as ebook. The problem with this book is that it reads like an advertisement for a blackjack system. The kids (MIT students) didn't get very far; they hit casinos a few times and since they apparently won $100k at a time, casinos noticed. There was one man (Galen) who is/was a security consultant for casinos who took a special interest in them. He seemed instrumental in blowing their cover.

The strange thing about these students is that they continued with their schtick as they were kicked ou
Having only been in a casino twice in my life, I never had a dream of "bringing down the house." For me, it was two nights of cheap entertainment. Two nights that I won money, but certainly didn't break the house.

But there are those who believe that they have a definite way of beating vegas and making millions, only to lose their money.

This book is the true tale of what happens when a small group of MIT students practice and perfect a method to actually beat the biggest casinos in the world.
Sixth book I read during my new commute. I love vacationing in Vegas and I enjoy playing blackjack quite a bit, so any book hitting on those subjects will probably entertain me. This one was no exception. I had already read Ben Mezrich's previous book on Vegas, blackjack and beating the casinos: Bringing Down the House, and thought it was a four-star book. This semi-sequel gets only three from me, for two reasons. One, they cover a lot of similar ground, so what was fresh and interesting in the ...more
Apr 25, 2015 Billye rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of MIT, Members of Mensa, anyone interested in the Gaming Industry
This is a well-written fast paced story. I believe that it was better that I saw the 2008 movie "21" starring Jim Sturgess and Kevin Spacey BEFORE I read this book. Part of the reason that I liked the book so much was the fun I had making comparisons between the two. I really enjoy reading true stories that are larger than life and this one definitely fits the bill. Also, everyone involved in bringing this story public was very brave. For bravery alone, this book earned an extra star from me.
Robert Stilwell
I liked the book quite a bit. It was interesting and kept my attention which many books cant do. It made me want to keep reading, it showed determination and friendships bond between a group of kids. I liked Semyon the most out of the group of kids, he showed the most determination and handled situations great! Busting Vegas forshadowed that they were gonna handle cards and it happend, but they sort of counted cards but with a more intelligent way. The book had wonderful imagery, in many cases i ...more
Fast read.

I thought it would be derivative of Bringing Down the House, and it was but it wasn't.

It's supposedly nonfiction but reads like fiction. I don't like how the author inserts himself into the story with his first person POV.

Semyov Dukach is a real person. I wonder who Allie is.
elizabeth tobey
I liked reading this book and learning about these people. The writing wasn't the best. The cliffhangers in the beginning were overdone. It's a solid 3 stars. It's also a very quick read.

I really have nothing else to say.
Stephen Redwood
A bunch of smart MIT guys devise a cunning way to improve their odds in blackjack, creating the illusion that they can live the dream, make a fortune and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, human nature has its own plans and our heroes turn out to be not so smart in dealing with the people end of things and get themselves into some tricky and life threatening situations. One of them finally transmogrifies his greed into a good cause - bringing down casinos that always ensure the odds are sta ...more
Somewhat entertaining, but poor overall flow got in the way. Also, it asks for a little too much belief. Might be a bit of BS in here, probably mixed with a little truth.
Gripping. Makes me want to never set foot in another casino, or makes me want to take on the casinos with these techniques, can't make up my mind.
You will gain a new respect for MIT students after reading this book. I felt dwarfed by the mental abilities of these students. It will make you consider a career as a card counter (don't do it). The love story aspect of the book is the weakest part of the book. I really didn't care about that part. The story is driven by the "excess, sex, violence, and beating the odds." There are times that you really question whether or not some of these things actually happened or are even possible. Not to b ...more
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Ben Mezrich has created his own highly addictive genre of nonfiction, chronicling the amazing stories of young geniuses making tons of money on the edge of impossibility, ethics, and morality.

With his newest non-fiction book, Once Upon a Time in Russia, Mezrich tells his most incredible story yet: A true drama of obscene wealth, crime, rivalry, and betrayal from deep inside the world of billionair
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