Stanford Wong Professional Blackjack Player

Blackjack School

The image which the name 'Stanford Wong' conjures up in the mind and the image you get when you Google him are remarkably different. Why? Well in this case, the surname 'Wong' is incredibly misleading, as this particular 'Stanford Wong' was actually born John Ferguson (in 1943).

Even as a child he seemed destined to beat the odds at gambling games, as he more than anything else loved to work out the best tactics for winning at any game. It comes as no surprise that this man's pen name is synonymous with good blackjack strategy today and that his books have come off the shelves like butter and milk. This is particularly the case with regards to the book 'Professional Blackjack', published in 1975 and still in print today. This book is certainly considered the most important of the many books he has written. Some players even consider it their single most vital reference point with regards to blackjack strategy and gaming tactics.

Ironically, it was a blackjack book that first brought him to the game. The light above his head went on after he had finished the last page of the book 'Beat the Dealer' by Ed Thorp in 1963. This came eight years after he first had developed an affinity for the game at the age of 12. He used an office calculator to try to calculate what the likely outcome of each game would be. It was undoubtedly this character trait that brought him to where he is today. Nearly a decade later, at the age of 21 (while he was studying toward his undergraduate degree at the very prestigious Stanford University), he travelled to Reno in Nevada to give his new card counting skills a go, and successfully so.

The more he played, the more he made. He became a master at his craft. After many years, the fact that he was drawing in more cash from blackjack than he was from teaching a finance course at San Franscisco State University dawned on him and at that point he decided to leave his job in order to give his entire devotion to the game of blackjack. One could certainly argue that he made the right decision, as what followed has made a permanent mark on history in ink that cannot be erased.

So what makes him so remarkable? And where is he today? Well, Wong invented 'wonging'. This technique involves observing card play without wagering any money and only stepping in when the count favours the player and stepping out when the count does not favour the player. This invention of Wong's was revolutionary and accounts only for a small slice of the pie which Wong has contributed to he gambling world. He has written books on a huge range of gambling topics, including craps and pai gow poker. He currently owns his very own publishing company, Pi Yee Press. This company is conveniently located in Las Vegas in Nevada.

Wong no longer plays blackjack, but he will always be remembered for his tremendous contribution to it.

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