21 (2008)

Ben Campbell was an MIT student who struggled to make ends meet. He eventually realized that he wanted to become a doctor, and wanted to transfer to Harvard to get a medial degree. To his dismay, he learned that it would cost over $300,000 to go to the school for four of five years. This information did not deter Campbell, however, and he was soon introduced to a small group of students by his mathematics professor, Mickey Rosa.

The group consisted of Jill, Kanna, Fisher, and Choi, each of whom was practicing the technique of counting cards. Ben is soon interested in what the group does, especially since it seems like a sound way to make a large amount of money in a short amount of time. He then goes with the group to Las Vegas on the weekends, observing how the team works together and communicates with one another. The team mainly did this through hand signals and code talk.

Ben learns the tricks of the trade, winning hundreds of thousands of dollars in a matter of weeks. While his goal is to make enough money to go to Harvard, Ben soon becomes overwhelmed with greed and the feeling of being unstoppable. He begins taking risks that may expose the entire team, as well as the professor in charge.

Another Perspective

Ben Campbell knew what he wanted to do since he was a young child. Although he hit some detours in life, he knew that he wanted to become a doctor by going to Harvard. He is accepted into Harvard during his senior year in MIT, but is unable to pay the $300,000 it would take to attend the school. However, Ben's ability to calculate numbers quickly and doing it without being moved by emotion or stress leaves an impression on his math professor, Mickey Rosa. Rosa then introduces Ben to a small number of students who are practicing the technique of counting cards.

Ben initially is not interested in the tactics the group uses, but he is talked into joining by Jill, who is also his love interest. The group goes to various casinos and change roles each time they play so that their patterns are not learned. Ben insists that he will leave the group as soon as he has enough money to get to Harvard, but he is soon changing his initial motive. His actions affect the entire team, and also sent an agent onto their trail. The agent, known as Cole Williams, has his own grudge against the group and uses Ben's irrational actions to his advantage. In the end, Ben's greed, arrogance, and carelessness put the entire operation in danger.

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