The Church Team was a card counting blackjack team that operated from 2005 – 2011. It was started and managed by Ben Crawford and Colin Jones. Over the years the team was comprised of approximately 30 investors, 40 players, and various levels of managers and trainers. The team was primarily based out of the Seattle area but had almost 15 players from the Cincinnati area as well as players from California, NY, Oregon, Nevada.
The team, at it’s highest point, was playing with $1.2 million of investors money and in the course of the 6 years won more than $3 million from casinos. The team would come together and meet quarterly in the Seattle area to discuss goals, business model changes, introduce new players, and test old players out.
The team was put together as a series of LLCs that represented the management and investors and all wins were reported to the IRS. Although the team itself had no official religious goals or affiliation, the majority of the team members considered themselves Christians with a high percentage of them in paid ministry positions. The lineup included pastors, worship leaders, and church planters. Other jobs served before, during, and after include law enforcement, fire fighting, internet startup entrepreneurs, a lot of barista work, construction, music recording and a variety of other fields.
Throughout the team’s existence various team members struggled with judgement from families as well as religious people and organizations, numerous run-ins with law enforcement, random security guards, the DEA, FBI and TSA (many of whom did not understand the legality or nature of advantage play or card counting.) The team dealt with wrongful imprisonment, theft, numerous searches, an IRS audit, and a seizure of more than $100,000 by the US government border patrol which was eventually returned.
From 2007-2010 the team was followed with cameras and the footage was turned into a feature length documentary called Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians.
In 2011 the team officially disbanded. In June of 2011 most of the players, investors, managers, and alumni came together for the first time at the release of the documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival. Players, investors, and managers shared their thoughts, sentiments, and stories from their involvement with the team.
LIST OF PLAYERS: (incomplete)