Sylvia has found her Rain Man and her rainmaker. Having developed a liking for games of chance while in America, she realizes Roy’s odd and heretofore embarrassing mental acuity has a practical use. She has lost a great deal of money in casinos and Roy wants her to get it back. She would like to recoup her losses and make even more!
His abilities in mathematics and memory are perfect for the game of blackjack. He has never played before but, after scanning her book on card games, realizes the trick to it is in counting cards so you have a better chance of predicting what is left in the dealer’s deck. But he needs to practice with other players.
Enter Dennis and Ken, come to the café for tea and a bun but recruited into blackjack practice. How perfect that it is them! Like Roy, Ken has never been in a casino in his life and has moral qualms about all gambling. Like Sylvia, Dennis is in his element.
Roy decides that he is ready and takes the café float. He stops playing after winning back exactly what Sylvia lost in that casino. The manager comes over after suspecting Roy is counting cards. Roy freely admits he is and points out that he’s broken no rules by doing so. The manager says the casino has the right to bar him regardless. Roy says fine, he has no intentions of returning.
Back at the café, Hayley is horrified by what Roy did. Roy is proud but uneasy about using his powers for evil, as it were. Sylvia is exultant and sees riches in their future if only she can convince Roy to keep playing – using his great gift in a way she can be proud of. He stomps out, after referencing Alex Gilroy’s wish to turn him into a circus act.
Hayley explains to Sylvia that the long-ago Rovers landlord and wannabe impresario wanted to create a stage act for Roy to amaze crowds with his “miracle memory”. Roy had felt humiliated by such exploitation. Sylvia realizes she was indeed doing the same thing.
When Roy returns, he has got back the watch Sylvia had pawned. She apologizes, says she was proud because he defended her and hugs him. Hayley is pleased. So is Roy, although his face shows his unease with such a display of physical affection.
Counting cards as Roy was doing it, all in his head, is legal. Casinos dislike it and watch out for it because it gives the player an advantage. Shuffling techniques, manual or automated, are used to lessen the likelihood of a player being able to keep track of cards played. Casinos cannot kick someone out for counting cards, as long as no aids in the form of technology or a helper are used. But they have the legal right to bar anyone from specific games or the whole casino if they choose without having to show cause.
Prodigious memory is not needed to count cards although obviously that helps. There are techniques you can learn that help. My husband says that in playing bridge, you keep track of cards played in order to anticipate what is coming next. And that is what counting cards is.