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Movie of the Day – Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians

Posted on the 01 February 2013 by Plotdevice39 @PlotDevices

I decided to back into the vault of Documentary films that I have talked about since starting this blog, more so in preparation for yet another year of True False Fest, which I can’t wait to attend again next month.  Holy Rollers was actually a documentary I saw at our local KC film festival and surprisingly one of my favorite movies that showed during that fest, next to Take Shelter and Like Crazy.  Holy Rollers combines two of my favorite things, moral code bending Christians with loose interpretations of the Bible and how they justify what they are doing and morally bankrupt gambling.  Sweet!

Holy Rollers 1c

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?

The biggest thing I remember about this movie is that righteously indignant lady next to me hemming and hawing the entire time in labored grunts as I come to find out during the Q&A session afterwards, not the biggest fans of Christians and gambling.  So she was a real fucking joy to sit next to for like the 90 mins this documentary ran for.  Anyways, actually you know what, listen even though that Q&A happened like two years ago, that lady really irritated the shit out of me.  I don’t care if you want to throw a hissy fit about not liking religion, cause frankly I am right there with you, but don’t be a dick bag to the others in attendance or to the director/subject of the film.  You got an axe to grind, take it out on the internet forums where others are all like, “I TROLL U> LOLZZZZZZZZZZ”.  God I hate people sometimes.

Where was I?  Yeah so card counting Christians that are stealing money from the evil Indian Casino’s and other establishments because what they are doing is slightly less evil and they got God on their side.  I actually really enjoyed watching the documentary and the subjects explain why and how they pulled off their card counting scheme on the casinos.  Some might see what they do as no better than what the casinos are doing, hiding behind religion as a means to seem righteous.  Others, like myself, can see the rational behind doing what they are doing.  Sure card counting isn’t sporting in the casinos eyes, but hey, we need an edge when we get there.

It raises a lot of moral questions in terms of what they are doing and what they are doing with the money they have taken from the casino.  It goes into a lot more depth in terms of understanding each players reasoning for why they count cards for the Lord, but it keeps a lot of the motives in the dark.

Overall, Holy Rollers is a fine documentary, getting a look at something we have seen in movies or other documentaries before, but it’s the subjects and manner in which they conduct their gambling that gives it an interesting spin.  It is well worth a look on Netflix, which you can stream it right now.  But if you need more convincing, check out my original review I did back in 2011 to get a better feel for the documentary.

The documentary is entertaining and one of the slicker looking documentaries to come out in a while.  It’s paced very well and the closer look at the people that make up the group shows a deep connection that they have to one another and with God.  It doesn’t bring to light a lot about religion, I mean initially it does as we learn about the group, but once we are at the meat of the documentary their trials and tribulations start to takeover.  Their faith never falters, as they believe that what they do is for God, so while some might call them hypocrites, they rationalize with faith that what they are doing is righteous.  Some might take offense to that (like the lady sitting next to me), but in the end, is card counting wrong even if you have Gods permission?

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