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

by Ben Mezrich

ISBN 0060575115 / 9780060575113 / 0-06-057511-5
Publisher William Morrow
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Semyon Dukach couldn't believe how easy the money was. In one weekend, the MIT math genius and his team of geeks had made $200,000 playing the blackjack tables in Las Vegas. They hadn't cheated. Instead, they had discovered one of humanity's greatest holy grails: a system to beat the casino. They had rendered obsolete the old saying that the house always wins. Dukach and his friends made millions during the 1990s playing blackjack in the world's top casinos, right under the noses of pit bosses and security consultants who thought they had seen it all. Dukach's story is told in author Ben Mezrich's vividly narrated book Busting Vegas.

Mezrich, the author of previous bestsellers about MIT gamblers and a colorful Ivy League trader in Japan, tells how Dukach's crew used a system that Vegas had never seen before. Dukach, the son of Russian immigrants who grew up in the poorest neighborhoods of New Jersey and Houston, was determined to climb out of poverty and help his family. His system didn't involve the commonly used techniques of card counting. Posing as an arms dealer or dentist, Dukach deliberately sought out blackjack dealers with small hands or thin fingers who frequently didn't conceal the bottom card when they shuffled the cards. Dukach would often manage to get a glimpse at the bottom card. This was highly significant because it was the card the dealer would hand the player to cut the deck. Dukach had practiced a technique to insert the card in a precise spot in the deck and then make big bets when the card was dealt. Dukach and his team ended up barred from casinos, threatened at gunpoint, and beaten in Vegas's notorious back rooms. This is a riveting yarn. Alex Roslin [via]