Ben Mezrich graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. He has published seventeen books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Accidental Billionaires, which was adapted into the Academy Award-winning film The Social Network, and Bringing Down the House, which was the basis for the hit movie 21. He lives in Boston.
"Shy, geeky, amiable" MIT grad Kevin Lewis, was, Mezrich learns at a party, living a double life winning huge sums of cash in Las Vegas casinos. In 1993 when Lewis was 20 years old and feeling aimless, he was invited to join the MIT Blackjack Team, organized by a former math instructor, who said, "Blackjack is beatable." Expanding on the "hi-lo" card-counting techniques popularized by Edward Thorp in his 1962 book, Beat the Dealer, the MIT group's more advanced team strategies were legal, yet frowned upon by casinos. Backed by anonymous investors, team members checked into Vegas hotels under assumed names and, pretending not to know each other, communicated in the casinos with gestures and card-count code words. Taking advantage of the statistical nature of blackjack, the team raked in millions before casinos caught on and pursued them. In his first nonfiction foray, novelist Mezrich (Reaper, etc.), telling the tale primarily from Kevin's point of view, manages to milk that threat for a degree of suspense. But the tension is undercut by the first-draft feel of his pedestrian prose, alternating between irrelevant details and heightened melodrama. In a closing essay, Lewis details the intricacies of card counting. (Oct. 8) Forecast: A Today show appearance, a three-city author tour (Boston, N.Y., Vegas), a 20-city radio satellite tour and an article in the October issue of Wired should inform cardsharps and casino hoppers about this.
Rocky Mountain News (Denver) A lively tale that could pass
for thriller fiction....Mezrich's skilled yet easy writing draws
sweat to the reader's brow.
Bill Simmons ESPN THE magazine This book made me want to gamble! Vegas! Vegas!