(Roughly) Daily

Knowing when to hold ’em; knowing when to fold ’em…


The documentary Holy Rollers follows the rise of the Church Team, arguably the largest and most well-funded blackjack team in North America. This unlikely group of Christians, pastors, worship leaders 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.

It all started as a hobby for two friends, Ben and Colin, who wanted to do something interesting with their math skills and investment money. After making a living off blackjack for a several years, friends and family started asking to be trained as card counters under their professional blackjack expertise. Before long, word spread through church circles and an uncommon fellowship began to form. Led by team managers Ben & Colin, the team quickly grew to include more than 25 players based all over the United States.

In their first year, the Church Team acquired a bankroll of $1.5 million from outside investors, and the team was winning $100,000 a month. In spite of the team’s phenomenal success, many team members remained conflicted, wrestling with how to justify being a Christian and playing blackjack for a living. They found themselves at odds with their own families, congregants, and fellow Christians who feared that they were wandering into morally bankrupt territory.

When the team’s winnings decrease drastically, questions start being raised as to whether someone from the team might be stealing from the bankroll. Where trust is sacred and God sees all, is it even possible? Of course. But do they trust the players on their team? Absolutely. Maybe.

More, on the film’s web site.


As we decide to stand, we might wish a twisted Happy Birthday to the theoretical astronomer and mathematician August Ferdinand Möbius; he was born on this date in 1790.  While Möbius made many contributions to geometry (e.g., the Möbius configuration, the Möbius transform, and the Möbius function), he is surely best remembered for his nifty Möbius Strip– a two-dimensional surface with only one side.

A Möbius strip made with a piece of paper and tape. If an ant were to crawl along the length of this strip, it would return to its starting point having traversed every part of the strip (on both sides of the original paper) without ever crossing an edge.




Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 17, 2011 at 1:01 am

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