Meet Stanford Wong
Born in 1943 as John Ferguson, Stanford Wong authored the 1975 book “Professional Blackjack” which has remained in print to this day. In fact the popularity of casino gambling and Blackjack in particular has allowed Wong to start his own press. The Pi Yee Press is currently a major publisher of dozens of gambling guides, most focusing on helping the player develop a winning edge over the casinos.
Wong’s career as a professional grade gambler began while he was in college at Stanford University. He was in the process of earning his Ph.D. in finance, and teaching courses at San Francisco State when he decided to accept an annual salary of only one dollar per year in return for the freedom from faculty meetings. This meant he would have time to commit to his burgeoning gambling career.
By this time he had all ready written his popular book, but now he was working to become a professional Blackjack player and earn his living from the tables.
Over the course of only a few years he was able to develop even more successful strategies and tactics, so that by 1979 he was all ready publishing a monthly newsletter with a primary focus on Blackjack. Eventually the newsletter grew into one of the most respected professional journals dedicated to the game – “Current Blackjack News” is still available, and as of 2007 is an all-electronic publication.
The most well-known method Wong developed is actually named for the man himself. Back-Counting or “Wonging” relies on the standard card-counting technique of assigning values to each card that appears on the table, and using the assigned amounts a player can understand if an active deck is rich in tens and Aces, or in low cards. A deck rich in cards at a value of ten and Aces is quite likely to deliver a “blackjack” and is always of benefit to the player. An active deck loaded with lower values tends to lucrative to the “house”, or dealer.
Wong’s method has the player stand away from a table and count cards as the game is played, then when the deck is at a place of great advantage to the players a back-counter will then buy in and make some heavy bets.
Some players will continue to count cards as they play and exit when the deck leaves an advantageous arrangement. This is generally a tactic that works best for “shoe” games and not for “pitch” games. The numerous decks of the “shoe” game allows for a longer period of play, where the one or two decks of a “pitch” game may require the player to leave the table almost as soon as they have joined the game.
Today Wong focuses primarily on his publishing business and his Internet Web Site that works to educate and inform people about Blackjack and other gambling issues. Wong is also frequently sought out for his participation in tournament competitions and as an expert advisor or commentator. He is the author of more than a dozen books on gambling. He has made television appearances, and is also one of eight living members of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.