Skip to comments.The Myth of Christian Card Counters
Posted on 04/23/2012 12:56:53 PM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST
A friend forwarded me a copy of a recent cover story in the San Diego Reader, the citys alternative newspaper, profiling several members of a purported Christian card counting ring.
The tale of Will and Shirley, who held Bible classes in their home for newly married members of their San Diego church, according to the story, and Nate and Faith, who were recruited by Will and Shirley, smells to me like fiction.
It brings to mind the fabricated writings of Stephen Glass, former staffer for The New Republic.
Among his more infamous articles was a completely made up tale, titled Spring Breakdown, about hard-drinking, drug-abusing, sexually-promiscuous Young Republicans at the 1997 Conservative Political Action Conference.
Glass scandalous career at TNR was dramatized in the film Broken Glass. Much as the highly-suspicious story of Will and Shirley, Nate and Faith and their gambling ring was featured in the documentary Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians, which was released last month on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Glass deceit went undetected by his liberal editors at TNR because it seemed perfectly plausible to them that Young Republicans at a conservative conference would get drunk, get stoned and get sexed up.
In much the same way, the editors of the San Diego Reader, the producers of Holy Rollers, were all too willing to believe that true Christ followers would actually operate a card counting ring.
Indeed, the Reader says that, before Nate and Faith made a commitment to join the ring, they ran it by the pastor of their church and their Bible study group.
Most people were supportive, Nate told the paper, although one couple had a problem with the idea. It was mostly the wife, Nate explained. She had a problem with the deceit.
But they worked it, out, he continued.
How? By agreeing that Christ would probably take a dim view of gambling? By deciding that money made by counting cards at casinos was unclean, and that it wasnt less so if used to plant new churches or for other good purposes?
No, the alleged Christians agreed that Nate would never take trips alone to Vegas, that he would always have a spotter and that he wouldnt pretend to be someone he wasnt.
I would go into it, he told the Reader, with integrity and honesty.
I believe the story of Christian card counters is made of whole cloth, like Glasss fictional account of Young Republicans participating in alcohol- and drug-fueled sex parties.
Will and Shirley and Nate and Faith may indeed have been members of a card counting ring. But there was absolutely nothing Christian about it.
With the rules and technology today, it would take a very large team of players with an even larger bankroll to be successful enough to justify the time and effort. People have to eat and hotels cost money (only a few would ever get comped). There may be a few individuals or small groups making a living at it these days, but they are not making a good living at it.
I taught myself and practiced for years to count cards at Blackjack. I got pretty good. My wife and I had some fun with it. But that is just it, it's for fun. I kept track of winnings and losings in monthly trips to Reno. We only played < or = to $25 tables. I'd count and she'd jump bets or dive for us. We lost big on occasion and won big on occasion. But for the tiny edge you can eek out when the deck gets just right on some occasions, you have to be playing a lot of money and be playing a lot of hands to take advantage of a 1.5% to 3% advantage over the house.
If you are wealthy enough to start a career in card counting, you are wealthy enough to not need a career at all. All others are posers and pretenders.
Successful card counting rings are a myth these days. The casinos still don't like it but nobody gets “back roomed” for it.
What is “card counting”?
But even if Christians are card counters, there is nothing wrong with that. Card counting isn't cheating. It is merely a way to increase the odds in your favor while playing blackjack. Card counters can lose. They just have better odds than a blackjack player who can't count cards.
So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, Lord, you know everyones heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs. 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
Of course, the use of drawing lots was an effort to seek God’s will and this occurred before the Holy Spirit came and it was the last time the method is mentioned.
Some people are very good.
There is nothing wrong with it - it is just a trick with memory. The problem is that the casinos now deal from a multiple deck chute - making doing so even harder - and if they think you are doing it - they will get new cards for every deal.
If you are really good at it - they will kick you out of the casino.
All the idiot Bill Bennet’s out there need to realize that - if you are consistently taking the casino's money - they will kick you out. If you are consistently losing money to the casino - they send a limo to the airport to pick you up and give you a “free” (that you paid for many times over) hotel room.
We Christians are called to use our time in this world to bring the gospel to others. We do this by talk and by example. It is possible yet doubtful that any Christian find a calling to bring the gospel to gamblers while participating in gambling. Although Christian's are free from the law we are also required to avoid causing our brother to stumble. A Christian using gambling as a means of earning support is bound to lead others into bondage by getting addicted to gambling. So, yes there is plenty wrong for Christians counting cards.
It's counting what cards have been dealt out of a blackjack deck (or more likely decks nowadays), to determine whether there are more high cards or low cards left than normal. Low cards favor the dealer, primarily because they will go bust less often. Conversely high cards favor the player, but the percentage is usually small. Casinos will kick you out if they see you doing it, but it's not illegal, nor immoral unless you have a problem with gambling in general. It's simply using all the legally available info to play the game as well as possible.
I still get steamed by the way for the longest
time VN veterans were portrayed as psychopathic
killers on TV shows.
The media anti-christian...who would have thought
I didn't say gambling should be a priority in someones life, but if someone enjoys gambling recreationally and is able to discipline oneself then it is not a problem. Just because someone gambles that does not mean someone encourages others to become addicted to gambling.
People should do good works, but they should also have fun and enjoy themselves.
From Wikipedia: Card counting is a strategy, primarily used in playing blackjack, to determine whether the next hand is likely to give a probable advantage to the player or to the dealer. Card counters attempt to decrease the inherent casino house edge by keeping a running tally of all high and low valued cards seen by the player. Card counting allows players to bet more with less risk when the count gives an advantage as well as minimize losses during an unfavorable count.
I encourage you to watch the film or learn more about their true story before you make judgments and say that there was nothing Christian about the team or that the story is fictional.
Okay, I’ll take you up on that. Why don’t you tell me the real first and last names of the Christian card counters and where they attend church? I’d love to confirm, first hand, that their sensational story is not a fiction.
With the freedom we have in Christ comes greater responsibility:
All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
Thanks for the explanations, guys!
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