Thursday, March 30, 2006

10 (a perfect day) + 3 (boys under the age of 8) = 1 (afternoon spent outdoors)

Today is gorgeous - a perfect and deserved "10" on the Mellish Meter. In addition, Schecky has two friends coming over after school. You better believe that we're spending as much time as humanly possible outdoors. Then I'll be spending the next 24 hours in a whirling dervish cycle of getting ready to go out of town for Spring Break...


To make up for the lack of content about either my life, or something crafty - let me share what I'm reading.
Or - more accurately - what I just finished reading: Busting Vega$: the MIT Whiz Kid Who Brought the Casinos to Their Knees by Ben Mezrich.

This is a somewhat familiar territory for Mezrich, who a few years back wrote Bringing Down the House, which was about a group of six MIT kids who took Vegas for millions. See the subtle distinction???

To be fair, Mezrich himself points out that at first he was not interested in this story. Another MIT kid with a tale about beating Vegas? - he'd been there, done that. But the Russian whiz kid of the title convinced him that it was a completely different story.

I'm not sure that I'd agree that it is a completely different story - but there are more than enough differences to keep it interesting. The first book was about really smart card-counters. This one deals with new methods of "bringing down the house" - primarily revolving around finding a dealer with small hands or a sloppy shuffle, being able to spot the "back" card and then tracking it through the dealer's shoe. If you know where a certain card is in the deck, you can use it to your advantage, and greatly increase the probability of winning. Also - it helps a lot if you are able to "cut" a deck at a certain place consistently. The players in the book practice for hours a day at cutting a deck at exactly the 52nd card. Not my idea of relaxing fun, but who am I to speak? I mean, look at what I do in my spare time...

Anyway - I did enjoy this book. Mezrich has an engaging and easy-to-read style. The story unspools quickly and keeps you interested. I'm not the world's biggest non-fiction reader (although I wish I were - non-fiction reading just seems "smarter" than regular reading.)
However, I love non-fiction that describes a particular person's interests, or passions, and I can read pretty much anything that is well written. Busting Vega$ handily meets both of those criteria.....

Although I'd be remiss if I neglected to point out that the use of the $ symbol in the title didn't bug the crap out of me...

2 comments:

The Caretaker said...

: )
I totally forgot about the Melish meter.

jen said...

i had always looked at that booka nd wanted to read it but put it back down. i haven't read either book. but it sounds kinds of intresting in the least.

i wish you a fun spring break