Bringing Down The House


When reporter Ben Mezrich meets Kevin Lewis at a party he is astounded by the story Kevin has to tell. While looking nothing but shy and geeky, Kevin turns out to live a dangerous double life raking in huge amounts of cash as a card counter on the MIT Blackjack Team.

Though Mezrich’s inside account of the MIT Blackjack Team’s infamous run is fraught with dramatic embellishments and hindered by clumsy prose, he still manages to set down a fast-paced tale. You can see why Mezrich leans more toward the format of a thriller rather than a strictly factual account, after all the story of the MIT Blackjack Team defies belief in many respects and simply is thrilling. With the assistance of an eccentric math professor and vast sums of money provided by anonymous investors this team put card counting on the map. Some students went from struggling to pay their university fees to being invited to high-roller parties around the world in private jets. Not without consequence. The book also recounts the pressures exercised by maintaining their double life and the drama caused within the team by mounting tension and greed.

If you liked the film 21 then you’ll enjoy reading this book. Though it does not delve very deeply into the psyche of the card counter and card counting theory is downplayed in favour of racy plot, this book provides a gripping story for anybody who has ever dreamed of counting their way up through the minimum bets to living the life of the high-roller.