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Holy Rollers Comes out March 6th, 2012! What’s your opinion?

Film Synopsis:

Holy Rollers follows the rise of arguably the largest and most well-funded blackjack team in America-made up entirely of churchgoing Christians. While they succeed in taking millions from casinos, how will they manage to find a place for faith and God in the arena of high stakes gambling?
This unlikely group of Christians, pastor and church-planters mastered the art of card counting and marched into traditionally forbidden territory ~ casinos ~ to beat the house at it’s own game to the tune of millions of dollars.

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According to Wikipedia:  Holy Roller is a term in American English used to describe Pentecostal Christian churchgoers. The term is commonly used derisively, as if to describe people literally rolling on the floor or speaking in tongues in an uncontrolled manner.

This is NOT what this group “Church Team” is all about!  Watch the film so you can find out exactly what they are all about!  For more information about the film, check out the CFDb Film Page Link Below:

Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians

(We did also add a Parental Warning on this one for a couple of cuss words and a couple of objectionable images.)

The question or argument raised is about GAMBLING.  The idea is that because it’s card counting, it’s not really gambling.  According to the film they lose 48% of the time.  The statistics for Blackjack in general must be MUCH higher as the house normally wins on a consistent basis, otherwise Casinos would not be able to remain in business.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Gambling has 2 definitions:

  • To play a game for money or property (bet, wager) (venture, hazard)
  • A risky undertaking

So…according to the dictionary, this still would be considered gambling.  This leads to the final discussion:

What I struggle with mostly is the question:

How does playing BlackJack in a Casino Atmosphere glorify God?

Many verses come to my mind when thinking about this issue:

    • Proverbs 22:1 – A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
    • Proverbs 18:19 – A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
    • I Corinthians 10:31 – Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
    • Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
    • Titus 2:14 – Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
This group has done an amazing job with what they do but I still can’t figure out how Christianity and BlackJack combined can be glorifying God.


I Thessalonians 5:21-23 – Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.


In my mind it’s a black and white issue but for a lot of people it is a gray area and ultimately this is a decision left between the individual person and God.


Let’s hear your opinion!  Honestly some people have a strong opinion until they actually watch the film so you may actually change your opinion.  I’d love to hear before and after opinions as well!

You can also purchase the Soundtrack or e-book here!

Watch the Film Trailer


Here are 2 other interesting pages you may want to check out as well:

Is Gambling a Sin? – This site takes information from a lot of other different sites.

Where Card Counting Originated. – Posted by Shirley Ann Jennings in 2000.

If you are interested in having CFDb review your film…Contact us here.


Add a Comment
  1. 04 March 12, 8:46pm

    I think it’s very silly to call what Church Team did gambling. Statistically, there is something called risk of ruin. It means the probability that, with a given set of parameters, in a situation where you have positive expected value, you will lose your entire bankroll on a downward deviation.

    As I understand it, Church Team generally played with a risk of ruin below a tenth of a percent. Colin Jones could comment more eruditely than I can on this subject. But the question arises: are you okay with Christians putting their money into a bank? Even banks have a risk of ruin, as we’ve seen demonstrated with the global financial crisis.

    Another way of talking about this is that I think your definition of gambling above is very imprecise. Even Jesus berated the fellow who buried his money in the ground rather than investing it. It seems to me that while it’s certainly arguable that there is a spectrum with two ends labeled “gambling” and “investing”, and that Christians and people in general should lean toward the investing end of that spectrum, it’s not at all arguable that Church Team leaned towards the gambling end of that spectrum.

    It seems to me that perhaps your difficulty is rather a moral difficulty with the casino industry itself. A good way to get at this is with the question: are you okay with Christians owning shares in casinos? Would you call that gambling? I’m more apt to buy into an argument that the casino industry itself is morally bankrupt, and should therefore be avoided, than an argument that well done card-counting with low risk of ruin is gambling.

  2. Annelie says
    05 March 12, 3:40am

    Thank you so much for your comments! Yes, I didn’t address the casino industry itself. I figured that would be the real issue for most people! I am not okay with Christians owning shares in Casinos or really having anything to do with them at all. It’s more of a matter of…would Jesus go to Casinos? Would He participate in BlackJack? I just can’t see it, no matter how I think about it.

    Now, on the other hand, if God impressed someone to go into a casino because there was someone there that they were specifically supposed to witness to, then I believe that God would be with that person and the result would be fruitful and they wouldn’t be contaminated by the outside influences and general atmosphere of the Casino. I do believe that you cannot play with fire, and not get burned.

    I personally have a distant relative whose life has been destroyed by this lifestyle. It’s an addicting lifestyle for sure. Seeing firsthand what Casino life can do to people is just a stronger influence for me wanting nothing to do with it.


  3. 06 March 12, 6:14am


    I was on the team for a few years and appear in the beginning of the film for a couple of mins.

    Card-counting, when done properly just isn’t gambling unless you use the looset definition for gambling (i.e. A risky undertaking). And there are consequences of using such a loose definition. It places just about any financial risk into the category of gambling: buying a house, car, or even buying the most secure stocks (think P&G). Obviously, these things, though possessing a degree of risk, aren’t necessarily gambling since the risk is fairly low. Card-counting can make the risk of ruin in professional blackjack extremely low–much lower than most investments that would be considered “sound” by the most conservative of believer. Therefore, card-counting is better categorized as investing. There were issues with being a pro blackjack player but, believe it or not, gambling wasn’t one of them. Once you understand the math of the game and are constantly discipline by a team of people that understand the math, addiction becomes very unlikely. I, for one, don’t even know how to play poker and hate all forms of gambling.


  4. Annelie says
    07 March 12, 8:12am

    God’s timing is impeccable! You’ve both given me a lot to think about, in regards to stocks, etc. This is not something I actually do, no investing for me at all so this is not an issue for me BUT I know it is for a lot of people and it started them thinking about it.

    As far as banks go, the only reason they exist for me is so I can pay my bills, no investment or risk there either as we don’t have much in there anyway and if we did, our investments would not be in any of those venues…Investing is souls is our #1 priority and after all…we have other ideas but none really all that important except working for God.

    So…I was reading in “Trump: the Art of the Deal” a VERY OLD Donald Trump book but very interesting. Learning about the business side of things. Not very many Christians actually talk about business much that I know of. If you know of any Christians that write books about business, etc that are really great, let me know.

    Here is what Donald said on pg 131 – “I’ve never had any great moral problems with gambling because most of the objections seem hypocritical to me. The NYSE happens to be the biggest casino in the world.”

    So, now I know where I stand on the stock market too! I appreciate all the comments and Donald’s word were the icing on the cake. My views haven’t changed on casinos in general, that’s for sure but I LOVE the discussions. Keep them coming.

  5. 07 March 12, 11:00am


    To some degree, every purchase you make can be view as an investment or a gamble. I assume you have a mode of transit and that you most likely spent money to acquire that mode transit. Purchasing some vehicles is a sound investment, purchasing others is a gamble. If you spend a lot of money on a vehicle that you know very little about or has a low probability of delivering a reasonable return on investment (i.e. dropping 5k on a ’99 Ford Windstar with 175k miles) you are gambling. You are wagering money on favorable outcome that is very unlikely to come true.

    I hate casinos but that is an entirely different issue from whether card-counting is gambling or not.

    Christians need to realize that they are gamblers. This is especially true of American Christians. They gamble with student loans, stocks, vehicles, and other things. This should not be. Christians should use the money wisely. I think this movie helps bring out the nuances of the issue that most ignore because of a knee-jerk reaction.

  6. Annelie says
    07 March 12, 11:17am

    I LOVE the thoughts that are coming out as a result of this. When it comes to INVESTING – Christians, more than anyone else, should be RESEARCHING before doing any investing. That makes great common sense.

    I’ve never really thought through these topics before so I appreciate everyone commenting. Each comment made, gives me something more to think about.

    We do need to be good stewards with the money God gave us.


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