According to Connell Creations, “This captivating documentary 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?”
Holy Rollers A movie-length documentary about a team of card-counting blackjack players is more than just some film clips about blackjack players. The large group of friends chronicled in this film congregated together with several beliefs: casinos have easy money available; Christians should be able to take that money if the methods are fair and legal; there’s nothing wrong with having fun at work.
Starting with just two friends, the Holy Roller card counters started pooling their cash and learning the subtleties of blackjack in 2006. Many members of the team came from the same church and even included a minister and a youth minister. Mike, the pastor, considered the forays into casinos “work in a way to glorify God.” An interesting concept.
Film production is high quality, well-paced and entertaining
Film clips from several years are used so entire story rings true
No over-the-top scripting or narration
Good and bad aspects of teams and card-counting are explored
Some aspects of the team are rehashed more than once
Trip-specific and casino specific interaction and ups and downs are not covered well
Holy Rollers by Connell Creations is being released in 2011. Currently there are only plans for DVD pre-orders, no theater release.
Guide Review – ‘Holy Rollers’ by Connell Creations – Movie Review
Holy Rollers, the 2011 movie documentary by Connell Creations should not be confused with the 2010 movie about youths growing up in Brooklyn, NY with he same name. This movie tells the story of a bunch of friends, many who belong to the same church, that pool their money together and exploit their blackjack prowess at casinos across the Northwest.
Well produced paced, this true-story is a very real look at how card-counters can learn to beat the game of blackjack for fun and profit. Underlying tension from some members about the church’s view of their activity give the documentary a slight edge, but most of the story and narration centers on Ben and Colin, the founders of the group, and their ability to administer a highly successful band of investors and blackjack players.
The soundtrack music (by Frank Lenz) fits the scenes and is an enjoyable addition some documentaries seem to score poorly on. It never detracts from the story itself. And, the story itself, never falls to the schmaltzy, Hollywood-hyped extent that movies like 21 try to pass off as true-to-life about casinos and Las Vegas.
Hearing co-founder Colin state that his parents first said they would rather he was “selling cocaine” than throwing his money away at blackjack certainly sets the tone for most people’s belief about the viability of playing cards for a living. The juxtaposition of later interviews with those very parents after they saw the team’s success and then invested their own money in the team’s efforts goes a long way to explain how successful the players were.
Why This Movie is So Good
This movie is a wonderful look at the ups and serious downs of any type of gambling, especially when it centers around a whole team of players and investors. Unlike the exploits of other blackjack teams where most of the players made small bets and counted cards while a handful of “Big Players” handled the real cash, this team tended towards training all players to follow the cards and make their own bets.
Eventually the co-founders learn that not all players can handle the stress (and the fun) of casinos, gambling, and handling large amounts of other people’s money. Lesson learned, the team still manages to beat a handful of casinos for more than $3 million from 2006 to 2009.
This is a fun and enlightening show designed to enlighten as well as entertain, and I find it quite easy to suggest you take a look.