Anyone see the card counting article in Wired magazine this month?
This excerpt reads much more like fiction than non-fiction. I realize there are some very well financed bankrolls out there and a million dollar war chest is certainly not out of the question, but to carry $350,000 on you for a weekend romp to Sin City seems excessive. It is extremely difficult to play at such high chip levels with CTR's on any buy-ins approaching the magic 10K mark unless you use your real name and an authentic social security number. And if you're a winning player for high-stakes, your real name is going to be burned very fast.
You can hoard chips (as they evidently did) to avoid that problem. But I can't imagine why you would transport 100K in Vegas casino chips back and forth across the country. It would be much simpler to keep them all in a SD box in LV. Anytime you go through security, their chips would most certainly show in their X-ray scanner and it's very likely security would want to take them out and at the very least look at them. I'm surprised they wouldn't carry the chips on their person (assuming they had a good reason to fly with them) and put some of the cash in the carry on. Currency would be less likely to be flagged than chips on the scanner. Either could be difficult to explain.
I think the book could be a best seller, based on the vivid style of writing displayed in the magazine sample. But I feel it might be very embellished for a non-fiction work as several items seem to jump out. For example, I seriously doubt Kevin Lewis keeps his "small fortune of winnings in neat stacks of Benjamins in the closet by his bed." If so, I think many people might like to learn his real name and address.
I know Ben Mezerich and "Kevin", and used to play on "Kevin"'s team. The story is mostly true, although much exaggerated. Much of the story is from years ago where casinos were not required to report CTR's, and so people played on fake names with a huge bank roll all the time. 350K would be unusual (unless we had 4-5 big players and 20 total people going out for the weekend). 100K would be more typical, and that's just 'cause we were conservative. As the rules in vegas changed, the team changed. People started playing on their real names, and using real SSN's. That led to "Kevin"'s IRS audit (quite unplesant, but the team helped out with some), many burn outs, and the rise of gorilla play. You're much happier to have a lightly trained gorilla that only takes signlas burnt out, than a highly skilled big player that can count, track shuffles, ace track, etc.
Anyhow...the team is mostly retired. It got too hard to play in vegas, people kept getting kicked out, and we all got older and tired of spending every weekend playing blackjack from 12-8am. Nothing worse than flying out of Boston on Friday night, getting to Vegas at midnight (3am Boston time) and being expected to play BJ all night long.
In response to the questions above...we did hoard chips. They did set off the X-ray machine every time, but the airport people never really realized what they were looking at (who can tell a real 1K chip from a fake one?). We did use a SD box in Vegas for a while (we had a teammate that lived there), but it got to be too much coordination on Sunday afternoon as we were all hustling for the plane, so we ferried it.
As for the small fortune of benjamins by the bed...that used to be true, but as I said, the team stopped playing (hence the book) and I'm sure "Kevin" has lost most of his money in the stock market, or sports betting :)
I used to read this forum pretty regularly, but I kind of got tired of it...and gave up my Green chip membership. Figured I'd come back to see what people here thought of the book.