Card Counting Christians Mix Bibles and Blackjack to Rake $3.2 Million

The worldwide popularity of real money gambling and casino table games means that just when you think you've seen it all, you haven't. Most people do not associate card-carrying Christians with blackjack, and probably even fewer would expect those same Christians to employ intelligent blackjack card counting systems to give themselves an edge. But there is currently a team of Bible thumping blackjack card counters who have very successfully employed a system across the United States that they say earned them more than $3.2 million over a five year period.

What is viewed by casinos as cheating, keeping track of what cards have been played and raising bets when the deck is favorably stacked, is actually not illegal. Casinos are big businesses, and they simply want to make money, so obviously they would frown on anything that gives the player a significant edge. But the courts have time and again ruled in favor of players who use their mental acuity to win money at real money black jack. Richard Chen, Ken Huston and Tommy Hyland are three famous blackjack card counters which have at one time or another been denied their winnings because they were accused of card counting. All three took their cases to court, with judges in New Jersey and Nevada ruling that the casino had no legal right to harass or ban blackjack card counters, and must pay the players their winnings.

And that is exactly the premise employed by Christian Colin Jones, who charges up to $1,500 per person to teach his blackjack card counting strategy. According to Jones, he and his team have scored $3.2 million over five years by employing the BJ card tracking system he has perfected. And with the way that most casinos deal blackjack today, that is quite an impressive achievement. In the early days of Las Vegas, 21 was often played with one or two deck shoes. This made it very easy to keep track of just 52 or 104 cards. But these days casinos employ shoes with five decks or more, and they are constantly shuffling the cards. This resets the math every time, making it extremely difficult for most blackjack card counting systems to be profitable.

But with a team of 30 religious card counters out of Seattle, Jones and his high school friend from Bible camp, Ben Crawford, rolled across the United States employing a blackjack card counting strategy they believed to be successful. They still attended church and met their obligations studying the Bible and teaching youth groups, and looked at the black jack card tracking system as an occupation. However, on several occasions, the group openly discussed a possible moral issue - does card counting run afoul of Christian beliefs? They thoroughly look at every side of the equation, discussing whether money was evil, if they were being dishonest, and every other possible repercussion or ramification of their card counting.

They finally decided, as so many other BJ players have over the years, that using their God-given mental ability and math skills to improve their odds in a game of chance was not only smart, but it did not run against their beliefs as Christians. Many of the team even believed they were taking money away from an "evil enterprise." Crawford and Jones established a church-based team of blackjack card counters, taught the team members their system, and they began seeing a profit almost immediately. Non-Christian members were added to the team, and over time, accusations of cheating arose. Eventually disbanding after firing several team members, amid finger-pointing and large losses, the church team is no longer.

These days Jones and Crawford make a living teaching others their blackjack card counting systems through black jack workshops, instructive "how to card count" videos, and even an iPhone app. Crawford has written a 60 page book about his blackjack experiences, titled "How I Went From Waiting Tables to Being a Professional Blackjack Player (on Accident)." And former blackjack card counting church group member Bryan Storkel has even made a film about the Bible thumping blackjack bettors entitled, "Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians." Here's the trailer for you to preview:

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