Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians

Ben Crawford, one of the leaders of The Church Team.

“You may say to yourself “my power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me,” but remember The Lord, your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers as it is today” Deuteronomy 8: 17-18 as read by Dusty, a card counter, from his iPhone

When I think of Christians, I often think of the man who used to come in when I was waiting tables and talk to me for hours on end about Christ and The Bible. He would take up one of my tables and when he would leave I wouldn’t find a cash tip. Instead I would find pamphlets about churches in the area and why Jesus Christ should be my lord and savior. Now, I know that not all religious folk are like that, but man, did it leave a bad taste in my mouth.

I am not a religious person whatsoever. I believe that if you want to follow religion closely then that is your right as a human being. HOLY ROLLERS gave me a look at the type of Christians who don’t unintentionally rob you of a day’s tips to inform you about why you should save yourself while there’s still time. Instead, these Christians take millions of dollars from casinos. Tatted up, beer-drinking, pipe-smoking gamblers. The Church Team is what they call themselves and they are spearheaded by Ben Crawford and Colin Jones.

Word spreads quickly in a Christian community, so Ben and Colin had no trouble finding a group of people who were happy to aid the cause by learning how to count cards and take money from casinos.

See, it’s not just playing cards. I had no idea just how deep this kind of thing got. In a professional card counting group there are the people who fund the group with investments, the bosses of the group – Ben and Colin – and then the worker bees. They take the money invested in them and go to casinos hoping that they aren’t promptly asked to leave, as card counting is naturally something that a casino watches for carefully. Once they break bankroll – make over $100,000 – everyone gets paid.

There are several things wrong with this picture. These Christians – church planners, pastors, and ministers – are gambling. Don’t get me wrong, I play the scratch off tickets and I was disappointed once again this morning when I didn’t hit the Mega Millions Lotto, but they are doing something that I’m fairly certain is illegal. And the rationalization is that the lord told them to provide for their loved ones. I guess they think casinos deserved to have their money taken anyway. If the lord says it’s fine, then they believe it’s fine.

My knee jerk reaction is to call bullshit. Why is it okay for these people to do this, but everyone else who sins is condemned to hell, eh? Because the holy spirit speaks to them? I guess when you put all of your faith in something or someone, it becomes consuming. The thing that annoyed me was the fact that not one of them thought they had a problem. The only time there was doubt was when the cashflow slowed down and it wasn’t fun anymore. The days of dressing up in costumes to avoid being noticed at certain casinos were over and the days of coming to an understanding of what it is that you’re doing with your life becomes a concern.

I mean, I guess it works. The proof is in the pudding. Or, in this case, the stacks of hundred-dollar bills that these people keep. Even director Bryan Storkel invested in the team and his investment came out in his favor. About 130% in his favor.

I guess what it all boils down to for me is the fact that because they are Christian, The Church Team believed that what they were doing was acceptable in the lord’s eyes. I just really feel that a harsh judgement would be passed upon people who might do the same thing and who are not Christian.

Regardless of my own personal thoughts and feelings on the matter, HOLY ROLLERS is a great film. Incredibly intriguing and a real eye-opener into a world that I had no idea even existed. HOLY ROLLERS is now available on VOD and DVD through Warner Bros Digital and Gravitas Ventures. Head over to www.HolyRollersTheMovie.com to buy the DVD or catch it on VOD through iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, Blockbuster, Vudu, Xbox, AT&T, Verizon, DirecTV, Time Warner and More. This is definitely one to see.

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6 thoughts on “Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians

  1. Good review! I played on the Church Team for two years and can tell you firsthand that a lot of the players, myself included, really went back and forth whether what we were doing was a good thing. Regardless, I’m glad you enjoyed the film!

  2. Great review! Card counting is NOT illegal. Only frowned upon by casinos. You know, those lovable big corporations who are in it for the good of the world and not their own pockets at the expense of the poor and the old. They seem to like that blackjack is a beatable game, in fact, because it brings people in the door trying to beat it, 99% of whom don’t.

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