Stanford Wong

Stanford Wong is a card counting master of such skill that one of the most popular systems bears his name: "Wonging". He currently operates his own publishing company in California and has authored several popular titles that give insights into various forms of advantage play.

Stanford Wong's name is exotic by design. His given name is John Ferguson. The name Stanford Wong was adopted by Ferguson in the 1960's when he started his professional gambling career. The "Wong" was added to lend what a friend described as an Oriental mystique to the name.

Wong showed a gift for math and strategy endeavors early on in his life. By 12, he had figured out a method of counting cards using a calculator. When he entered college to pursue a degree in statistics in the 1960's, he also launched his professional gambling career.

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At the time, the casinos in Las Vegas dealt Blackjack hands from a single deck. For card counters, this made their endeavors much easier. As casinos worked harder and harder to combat the efforts of card counters, however, they introduced the use of multiple decks into their strategies. For Wong, this meant finding another way to gain an advantage in the game, which he soon did. His counting system, born from contending with Vegas' four-deck dealing system instituted in the 1960's and 1970's, is generally regarded as the foundation of modern card counting systems.

Wong works as a consultant and as a resource of information for those researching the game of Blackjack. He continues to produce books and to publish a journal which is widely-regarded as the best source of information about the current casinos and the Blackjack games they offer.

Many casinos have a rule that no players may enter a game when a shoe of cards has already been put into play. This rule owes its origins to Stanford Wong.

In the 1980's, Wong developed a very simple, but effective, method of advantage play. Called "Wonging" it is a mix of gathering intelligence about the disposition of a deck and making plays at the most advantageous time. The player simply watches the deck and keeps a count. When the count has reached a very favorable nature, the player sits down and plays. When the count has gone to the house's favor, the player seeks another table. Though it sounds incredibly simple, it remains a technique effective enough to merit its own restriction and its own appellation.
Wong has recently branched out across casino games, publishing books on techniques designed to work the game of Craps to the player's advantage. As dice games are inherently more random than cards, which are subject to predictability based on statistics, these techniques have not been as widely-acclaimed as has his work on card counting. His publishing house, however, continues to release new books on the subject of card counting of various types and levels of complexity regularly. Wong has been inducted as a member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.