Stanford Wong – Player Profile

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Stanford Wong is the pseudonym for the legendary casino player named John Ferguson. Mr. Wong was born in 1943 in The United States and grew up with a fascination for mathematics. He discovered blackjack at the age of twelve and began to master the game before he was even old enough to legally play in an American Casino. When he finally turned twenty-one, he was already poised to start winning at the blackjack tables.

Wong’s Career Change

Stanford Wong earned both an bachelor’s degree and a PhD from Stanford University. Upon completion of his studies, Wong joined the Stanford Faculty to begin his short-lived teaching career. It wasn’t long before he decided to pursue his love of blackjack advantage play professionally. He agreed to complete his final term at Stanford for $1.00 with the condition that he didn’t have to attend the faculty meetings. He was now free to play at will.

Important Contributions

After becoming a full-time blackjack player, Stanford Wong began to change the game. When casinos began the move to four-deck games, he responded by publishing a complete revision of optimum strategy to match these new games. Make sure to check out our rendering of the four-deck optimum strategy.

As a writer, he used the pseudonym of “Stanford Wong” so he could still play in casinos with his real name. Since his 1975 debut, he has released six more gambling books that cover winning strategies for blackjack, sports betting, and even craps. His most recent work is titled Wong on Dice (2001) and details his controlling of controling craps dice.

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One of his most famous contributions is the idea of “wonging“. This basically instructs players to observe a table until the count becomes favorable. Once the odds are stacked against the casino, players can enter and play until the count is off. This development completely changed the way card counters played the game and encouraged some casinos to forbid players from entering a game mid-shoe.

Today, wonging is considered an essential tool for all card counters. It is actually the basis for team play (ie. The MIT Blackjack Team). In these instances, low-money players (known as spotters) keep track of counts at multiple tables and the big player only enters the strong tables when instructed by the spotters. This method of wonging is less detectable by casino security.

Stanford Wong’s Legacy

Even though Stanford Wong is still a pioneer in the world of casino gambling, he has already become a pivotal character in the history of gambling. Players around the world have studied his work, and the creation of wonging turned the game of blackjack on it’s head. Some players even discuss blackjack in terms of pre-Wong and post-Wong to really drive the point home. He is also one of the only people to become a true innovator in such a variety of different gambling arenas.

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