Card counters topic of movie

Jan 27, 2004 8:26 AM

A group of nerd-like card counters who ravaged Las Vegas casinos in the early 1990s will be memorialized in a movie that begins shooting this week.

But, oddly enough, the film will be shot at the Barona Valley Ranch casino in Southern California, rather than the "real" Las Vegas casinos, where most of the action actually took place.

The true-life story of six MIT mathematic students who took the world’s most high-profile casinos for millions using a complex "card-counting" method will be called "Breaking Vegas."

Throughout the early to mid 1990’s, this group of blackjack wizards toured the most acclaimed casinos throughout the world, challenging the tables with bets of up to $100,000 and winning not only millions of dollars but the celebrity treatment reserved for the gambling world’s biggest high-rollers.

The team was actually a group of MIT math whizzes who, recognizing blackjack as a game of skill, mastered card counting, an intricate deck-tracking technique, to beat the dealers.

Barona Valley Ranch agreed to participate in the filming, because the property claims it is not afraid of these kind of players. The casino’s security staff is experienced in identifying this type of player.

The movie is based on a book that made the New York Times’ best seller list. "Breaking Vegas" is set to air Sunday, April 25 at 8 p.m. on the History Channel.

The cast and crew of "Breaking Vegas" will include casino security experts, Las Vegas historians and possibly even original members of MIT card-counting team.