Title: Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians
Released: 2011

Fix: Documentary
Platforms: Roku, Hoopla, VUDU, Tubi TV, IMDB TV

Netflix Summary:

Follow the rise of the largest and most well-funded blackjack team in America — made up entirely of card-counting, churchgoing Christians. The players don’t see blackjack as a sin; they take from casinos and give to their families and churches.

FYA Summary:

If you’ve heard the “Blackjack” episode of This American Life, then you’ve already gotten an introduction to this group of God-fearing folk who made a living from counting cards. If you haven’t, here are the basic facts:

  1. Two guys with major card counting skills decided to make a business out of it by forming a team.
  2. They needed people they could trust, so obvs, they turned to the church. Like you do.
  3. Their team of Christians prepared for several years and totally BANKED.
  4. And then, like in any good documentary, the shizz hitteth the fan-eth.

Familiar Faces:

Since this is a documentary, you won’t recognize any of the people. Moreover, these folks make it a point to disguise themselves, because being a familiar face at a casino when you’re a card counter is a very bad thing.

The head of the team is Ben Crawford. He’s a pretty laidback guy, and the most dynamic thing about him is his flair for costumes.

If you were in youth group as a teen, you’ll recognize some of the personalities in this film– “Cool” Pastor, Alterna-Christian Dude, Worship Leader, etc. I just wish that this documentary had been filmed in the south, because then the cast would’ve been WAY more colorful. (See Hell House.)

I think Mark Treas may have been my favorite cos dude is HAWT. Y’all know I’m deep like that.

Couch-Sharing Capability: Medium

While this film isn’t particularly shocking, there are still moments when you’ll want to be able to turn to someone and be like DAMN. But you don’t want the couch to be too crowded, because then you’re likely to miss out on some important gambling tips key moments.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Well, Jesus did drink wine…

Don’t get lit during this film, but do feel free to imbibe. Even the Christians in the movie drink! Plus, it’s impossible to watch scenes in a casino and not want a glass of champers.

Use of Your Netflix Subscription: Potentially Lucrative

I’ll admit that I wanted Holy Rollers to get a little more personal than it did, but with that said, it was a fascinating glimpse into how people wrestle with moral issues and earthly needs. Moreover, this film proves that you don’t have to be a math genius to count cards, and you don’t have to be in Oceans 11 to infiltrate casinos. So… who wants to join the FYA team?

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.