Nobody Knows Card
Counting Like Rain Man
by Edward Rogers, News Staff Writer
February 6, 2009
If you've seen the movie Rain Main before,
your first thought is probably not going to be about
gambling. Heck, your second and third thoughts probably
won't be about gambling. And that's because Rain Man
isn't a gambling movie at all. It's a movie that
explores the relationship of two brothers, the notions
of money and greed, and autism - a portrayal of which
won Dustin Hoffman an Academy Award.
In fact, Rain Man took home four Oscars,
including Best Picture, Screenplay and Director - and
was nominated for a total of eight in the year 1989. So,
besides the fact that Rain Man is obviously an excellent
film, why on Earth are we including it in the casino
news section at OCS? Well, for one, it's been doing the
rounds recently on television stations around the world.
I suppose it's been doing that since 1989, considering
the movie has grossed well over $400 million worldwide.
Not bad for a $25 million production cost, eh?
Secondly, Rain Man does actually offer some
insight into the world of gambling. Specifically, it's
at the Blackjack table where lots of card-counting
action goes down. Historical in a sense, this particular
scene shows how casinos fought against card counting
back before the automatic shuffling shoe was put into
service. And it also shows just how effective card
counting and the basic blackjack strategy really are!
Basically, what happens is this: Charlie Babbit
(played by Tom Cruise) and his autistic brother Raymond
(played by Hoffman) go on a road trip together. Broke
and not far from passing through Las Vegas, Charlie
learns that Raymond has a razor sharp memory (he's
memorized an entire phone book). This prompts Charlie to
teach Raymond how to play Blackjack and put some card
counting to use in the casino. Sure enough, the two hit
the mother-load in the casino, and consequently get
thrown out on the suspicion of, you guessed it - card
While there certainly is some dramatization going on,
the scenes in Las Vegas offer the same thrill you'd get
being at the blackjack table yourself. You can't help
but cheer for the two brothers as their Las Vegas pit
stop becomes something of a turning point. Rain Man
is a definitely a great overall movie to watch -
even if you've already seen it. So check you local
television listings - It's doing the rounds once again.