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Busting Vegas: The MIT Whiz Kid Who Brought the Casinos to Their Knees | [Ben Mezrich]

Busting Vegas: The MIT Whiz Kid Who Brought the Casinos to Their Knees

Semyon Dukach was known as the Darling of Las Vegas. A legend at age 21, 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, wasn't illegal, and was more powerful than anything that had been tried before.
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Audible Editor Reviews

The narrative drive that moves this audio along is the true story of a team, assembled by an MIT math whiz, that used three complicated techniques to tilt blackjack odds in their favor and win a pile of money. The accomplished writer of this fascinating story has a previous book on gambling strategies, as well as some well-received fictional titles. His attention to setting and nuance of behavior are vivid and immediate; they rivet the listener to a story line that's already as fascinating as any you'll hear. As narrator, the author is likable and easy to listen to. His brief interview at the end is a bonus for anyone interested in the writer's craft.

Publisher's Summary

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 21, 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, wasn't illegal, and was more powerful than anything that had been tried before.

Las Vegas. Atlantic City. Aruba. Barcelona. London. And the jewel of the gambling crown, Monte Carlo.

Dukach and his fellow MIT students hit them all and made millions. They came in hard, with stacks of cash; big, seemingly insane bets; women hanging on their arms; and fake identities. Although they were taking classes and studying for exams during the week, over the weekends they stormed the blackjack tables only to be harassed, banned from casinos, threatened at gunpoint, and beaten in Vegas' notorious back rooms.

The stakes were high, the dangers very real, but the players were up to the challenges, consequences be damned. There was Semyon Dukach himself, bored with school and broke; Victor Cassius, the slick, brilliant MIT grad student who galvanized the team; Owen Keller, with stunning ability but a dark past that would catch up to him; and Allie Simpson, bright, clever, and a feast for the eyes.

In the classroom, they were geeks. On the casino floor, they were unstoppable.

Busting Vegas is Dukach's unbelievably true story, a riveting account of monumental greed, excess, hubris, sex, love, violence, fear, and statistics that is high-stakes entertainment at its best.

©2005 Ben Mezrich; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (213 )
5 star
 (83)
4 star
 (79)
3 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.3 (40 )
5 star
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4.0 (40 )
5 star
 (11)
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jacob Roslindale, MA, USA 10-17-05
    Jacob Roslindale, MA, USA 10-17-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    82
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    "A Flat Read"

    For a story about "busting" Vegas, these characters never really get their act together. It's more a story about how well the casinos are at spotting and dealing with potential trouble makers. What could have been an interesting magazine article is expanded with a tepid love story, and a load of hard boiled exposition that hopes to make the story sound a lot more interesting then it is. Unfortunately, any attempt to enliven the story is squashed by the author's flat delivery. Not that I would recommend the book, but to anyone who's thinking of reading it I suggest buying the printed version. Maybe the writing fares better when not read by someone who sounds like he's standing in front of his High School english class reading a book report.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Santa Barbara, CA, USA 02-22-06
    Joseph Santa Barbara, CA, USA 02-22-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    4
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    "Great listen!!"

    This was a great book, although I should say highly "Hollywood-ized."

    I really loved this book, and I recomend it to everyone!! The details on how this team "Busted Vegas" is outstanding! I would only warn people to remember that this book is "Based on a true story" not infact a true story. You'll see what I mean when you listen to the book.

    Great book I couldn't stop talking about it with my friends after I read it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Skokie, IL, USA 10-05-05
    Mark Skokie, IL, USA 10-05-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    1
    1
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    "Don't waste your time..."

    Don't expect another Bringing Down the House when you listen to this book. The book jumped around too much, not developing the scenes enough, nor the characters. For a story based on real events, it was written in far too fictional of a style.

    One last complaint, unless the author has a great voice, he should NOT be reading his own book. Don't be cheap, pay a professional to read it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 11-18-11
    David 11-18-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    261
    35
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    Performance
    Story
    "Typical Mezrich"

    Busting Vegas reads just like many of Mezrich's other books, where much of the plot seems to be a "cookie cutter" -young stud wants a young hottie and is involved with a scheme to make bookoo bucks- like "21" or "Sex on the Moon" or "Ugly Americans"... But since it's a Mezrich, it is done well and is entertaining and will probably be made into a movie. This time I recommend reading the original rather than waiting for the movie.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerald 03-10-08
    Gerald 03-10-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
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    28
    8
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    "An Inside Look"

    A fansinating, inside look at a portion of the gambling industry. This is a well told and well read account of what a little ingenuity can accomplish, or perhaps I should say can destroy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Nashua, NH USA 04-01-06
    Amazon Customer Nashua, NH USA 04-01-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    "Great Book"

    Very entertaining. Ben Mezrich has great style, and the reader was excellent. See also Ugly Americans. I recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat Thornton, CO, United States 09-30-05
    Pat Thornton, CO, United States 09-30-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    5
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    "A New Theory"

    Frankly, I was expecting another tome on card counting. This takes card counting to a whole new level. It was nice to hear some fresh ideas on the subject.

    This reinforces my negative view of American Casino?s and their operators. I prefer the London method of barring play.

    I would have liked to hear more detail on the interactions of Victor, Semyon, Allie, Owen, and Jake. I would have to bet that there was a fair amount of analysis that went in to their personal game development, they were MIT kids for pete sake, but not much was mentioned. I would have liked to know what happened to these kids after blackjack.

    All in all it was a great story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roland Wood Dale, IL, United States 06-12-08
    Roland Wood Dale, IL, United States 06-12-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    "Busting Vegas Rocks"

    A great tale of some MIT students making some money in vegas.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deanna Andover, MA, USA 05-25-08
    Deanna Andover, MA, USA 05-25-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    218
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "Beware, it's abridged"

    It was a great story, just missing lots of bits that I wish were in there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian New Orleans, LA, USA 01-18-06
    Ian New Orleans, LA, USA 01-18-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
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    0
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    "Better than the other reviews"

    A good follow-up to "Bringing Down The House" which I also enjoyed. This is not a how-to, but a simple adventure tale of the MIT student team. It's not edge-of-your-seat. But if you like blackjack, it's enough to keep your attention. Thumbs-up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Colin
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    6/14/08
    Overall
    "Interesting story, well written and well read"

    The author writes fiction as well as non-fiction, and as he says himself in the interview which is included in the download, his non-fiction reads like fiction. This book reads like a well written novel, with a good balance between narrative and vivid description which makes the story more enjoyable. The story and the characters are interesting, the more so because it is a true story. It well deserves 4 stars.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Number One
    Worcs. UK.
    12/5/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "all night page turner..................."
    Where does Busting Vegas rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    A study no one imagined with the lure of apple for Adam.


    What did you like best about this story?

    All the ingredients of your wildest dreams.


    Which character – as performed by Ben Mezrich – was your favourite?

    Ben relates all the characters so well you can step mentally into the plot.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This tale makes you wish you could shape shift and join the gang.


    Any additional comments?

    Makes me wonder what next and should I delve into what before..............

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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