Breaking Vegas

Published on Thursday, August 13, 2009 in , , , ,

Endless rows of slot machines every where - picture by MirjamMy recent gambling posts Wanna Bet? and Don't Wanna Bet? stirred some interest in gambling and mathematics, so I thought I would delve into the subject further. This time, though, I'll do so with the help of History, and their series Breaking Vegas.

That series was a look at the people who tried to take Vegas for as much money as possible. Some did it using only their brains and some did it by cheating, and all are fascinating to watch.

The series actually started off as a one-shot special of the same name, but simply focusing on the story of the MIT blackjack team, whose story would also be told in the movie 21 and the BBC Documentary Making Millions the Easy Way (full video available at link).

Because of the fantasy allure that Vegas and making millions have, this documentary became quite popular, and the decision was made to turn it into a series. Including the original MIT documentary, there were 14 episodes in all, many of which can freely be found on the internet.

Among these are:

Blackjack Man, the episode about Ken Uston:

Roulette Assault, the story of how the Pelayo family beat roulette:

Slot Buster, how Ron Harris used his position working for the Nevada Gaming Commission to rig various casino games in his favor (full video available at link):

If you speak Spanish, even more episodes of Desafiando Las Vegas (the Spanish name for the show) are available online, courtesy of Vegetta99's YouTube channel.

OK, the show isn't perfect. Speaking as a resident of Las Vegas myself, I do find it to be amazing that they can do 14 episodes about this town, and yet mispronounce the name of the state almost every time it is mentioned. However, if you find any more episodes of this fun and fascinating show, let's hear about it in the comments!

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