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  01/17/19 22:27, by Ansel

For this project, I read the first 4 chapters of Bringing Down the House, by Ben Mezrich. I wrote 700 word summary on the chapters I read.

I will include the text below because I am not sure how do attach a link that will work.

I am aware that the majority of the class will not be receiving credit for this class, but i still want to post this project because I still had a lot of fun reading and writing it.

Summary of Bringing Down the House
Ansel Brenneman

The non-fiction story “Bringing Down the House,” written by Ben Mezrich, followers Kevin Lewis, an MIT student as he and his friends use card counting to turn a huge profit while gambling in Vegas. The story starts with Kevin right in the action, he is at a Blackjack table, at three in the morning. Already having won around thirty thousand dollars, he is deciding whether to keep playing, or if this is enough.

While he is playing, Kevin looks through the crowd at his “Spotter,” a fellow MIT student, they have planned out a series of motions that she does that carry a message to Kevin. For example, if she folds both of her arms in front of her, than he knows to puch most of his chips into the betting circle. Instead of this, she runs her hand through her hair, giving the signal for him to get out as fast as he can. He knew what she meant, the “suits” were on to him. These suits are most likely the casino security, who look for card counters and try to stop them. Even though card counting is not technically illegal, it still gives the player an “unfair” advantage over the house.

Chapter three starts out seemingly with Kevin before the events of chapter one. He is with his friends, (ex-MIT students turned gamblers.) Jason Fischer, and Andre Martinez. Andre so in love with gambling, he left a possible very rewarding mathematic career at MIT. A confused Kevin asks them why they spend weekend after weekend vacationing to Vegas, and how they acquire the money to do so. Andre responds with handing Kevin a thick stack of hundred dollar bills, and when Kevin, clearly appalled, asks them “what are you guys into?” They respond by inviting him to come with them the following weekend.

Kevin and his friends Andre and Jason fly to Atlantic City in New Jersey. At the airport, they meet up with Andre’s “host,” Dino Taratolli. A host is explained on the book as somebody who tries to make a very high-end casino customer feel very comfortable and pleasant, ultimately to make them ideally return to the casino again. In their limousine ride to their hotel, Kevin and Andre talk about how they hope to turn Kelvin into “a real Whale.” Andre defines a “whale” as, “someone who can lose a million dollars at cards, and not give a damn.” What a concept, a gambler so incredibly rich, that they could just throw away a million dollars at a time just to have fun.

We later find Kevin and Andre going to the casino in Atlantic City. The casino is described as overloading his senses in every way. Is that the casino’s aim? To kind of take you into another kind of “dream world?” Where the decisions you make will have no “real life” consequences when you leave the casino? Even the word “casino” sounds kind of dreamy and prosperous to me. Like a place that is alway fun and good and will always reward you.

Kevin and Andre see no spot on the regular floor of the Casino to play at, so they have to resort to playing at the “high-stakes” area. The high-stakes area is literally elevated above the regular casino, with a staircase leading up to it. Almost “heaven-like,” or so I pictured reading. The friends find a Blackjack table and start playing, Andre describes Blackjack as being the only worthwhile game to play at the casino. Being that it is just the player playing against the house. They begin playing, betting hundreds of dollars of Andres thousands at a time. Kevin seemingly calmed down after he played the first few hands of the game, and kind of started to get in his groove, he had played some Blackjack before, but not much. Meanwhile, Andre is playing with a seeming air of disinterest, or even boredom. Perhaps this is just a tactic that he and other experienced gamblers use, like a poker face. They end the night after earning a few extra thousand dollars in profit. Kevin had a very optimistic view of the game, saying how well he thought it went, and how good their hands were. While Andre describes the game as subpar at best, where they drew “quite unremarkable” hands. Showing the contrast between the beginner, and expert gambler.


Comment from: [Member]

Good for you Ansel for posting this. Are you counting it as one project, or more? I give it a 9/10.

01/17/19 @ 22:32
Comment from: [Member]

I don’t know if this counts for anything but I liked the summary and that you decided to post it. I give it 8/10.

01/17/19 @ 22:40
Comment from: [Member]

I like the summery. 9/10

01/17/19 @ 23:33
Comment from: [Member]

This is great Ansel 9/10

01/18/19 @ 06:30
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01/18/19 @ 07:33
Comment from: [Member]

I like it! 9/10

01/18/19 @ 07:58
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01/18/19 @ 08:30
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01/18/19 @ 09:00
Comment from: [Member]

did you enjoy this book?


01/18/19 @ 09:10
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01/18/19 @ 09:33
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01/18/19 @ 19:57

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