HolyCoast: Christian Card Counters?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Christian Card Counters?

It started when I met a guy at church named Ben. He had made a small fortune counting cards. Ben was putting a team together comprising people he’d found through mostly church connections — pastors, worship leaders and students of theology. This was the team I trained for and joined. As card counters, our common faith was incidental, but as team members it held us together.

We took our craft to casinos, from Vegas to Atlantic City to Biloxi, Mississippi, to Bremerton, Washington. We won millions of dollars. The money was not funneled into any ministry or religious consortium.

Instead, the winnings were split between those who invested in the operation, those who managed the team - which ran between 10 and 25 players – and the players, who didn’t risk any of their own money at the tables. As a player I made what amounted to a modest annual salary with no financial risk and maintained, on average, a 10-hour workweek.

We returned home with the gift of time to our ministries and families and, yes, to plenty of questions.

If the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, as the Bible suggests, what business did a bunch of Christians have throwing around big money on a game of chance? For us, chance had nothing to do with it.
Read the rest of it. It's an interesting story, but I'm not sure I can agree with the moral judgment that Jesus would be okay with card counters. Card counting is not illegal, but needless to say the casinos frown on activities that remove or reduce the house edge. In the old days they took people out to the desert where they disappeared. Today they blacklist them since beating them senseless can be a PR problem these days.

I'm not sure how a pastor would explain all that to his church board.

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