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Blackjack Aces Series: Stanford Wong

by Craig Edwards
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Stanford Wong

To begin our Blackjack Prodigy Series, we take investigate the extraordinary life of the legendary gambler and Blackjack player, Stanford Wong. 

Stanford Wong – How It All Began

Born John Ferguson, in 1943, Stanford Wong is the pseudonym that he has become known by in the gambling community. The pseudonym has become one of the most respected gambling authors of all time.

From the age of 12, Ferguson became fascinated by card games and enjoyed the simplicity of Blackjack. He became obsessed with the theory of it and how to beat the game, and amazingly, by the age of 14, Ferguson had formed a basic math strategy to beat the game.

With the education of legendary Ed Thorp’s esteemed writings and mathematical teachings, Ferguson followed his Beat the Dealer publication to the letter and furthered himself more at the game of Blackjack. Once in Further Education, Wong’s Blackjack ability became apparent, and the mythical name was born.

Stanford Wong’s prodigious talent for the card games was first noticed when he became attracted to Blackjack while teaching finance at San Francisco State University and getting his Ph.D. in finance at Stanford University in 1964.

During his final term of teaching, Wong chose to forfeit his salary for teaching, instead opting for a nominal $1 payment so he could miss all faculty meetings, thus choosing to pursue his gambling career.

Wong Explained

We can guess where the pseudonym “Stanford” came from, but where did the second part of the pen, the “Wong” come from?

To find out, we must dig a little deeper into the background of John Ferguson. In Blackjack, the term “Wong” began to be commonly used in conversations around 1980, when it became an accepted description of holding a specific advantage during gameplay in Blackjack.

To “Wong” a game of Blackjack, a player needs to watch the game without wagering money, then when the specific count of the cards becomes advantageous, the player steps swiftly into the game, only to step out once their forecast cards from the count become disadvantageous.

How Casinos Guard Against Being Wonged

Wong can be called “Wonging” and many Casinos like to guard against it for the obvious reasons. To do this, they format a rule called “No mid-shoe entry”, which means a player can only join from the first hand after the shuffle.

Practicing What He Preached

The tales that surround Stanford Wong are legendary and his gambling raids on the mecca of betting, Las Vegas. Wong was known to be the brains and the seed money behind a group of players who targeted Casinos in and around Las Vegas, for the games of Blackjack, Craps and Video Poker.

The Published Works of Stanford Wong

Stanford Wong has become something of a gambling aficionado, and his gambling books extend to other areas of betting, but his specialist subject remains Blackjack.

  • Professional Blackjack
  • Professional Video Poker
  • Wong on Dice
  • Blackjack Secrets
  • Basic Blackjack
  • Tournament Blackjack
  • Tournament Craps
  • Optimal Strategy for Pai Gow Poker
  • Vegas Downtown Blackjack
  • Casino Tournament Strategy
  • Winning without Counting
  • Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gambling like a Pro

Stanford Wong’s Teachings Can Be Found Online

Stanford Wong’s prodigious Blackjack talent might have been born long before the digital age, but his teachings around gambling and blackjack have stood the test of time. If you want to familiarize yourself with Wong’s teachings, have a look at his website bj21.com, where there is an abundance of information about casino gambling for players of all levels and ages.

A Hell of a Journey

Today, we looked at the legendary Blackjack bettor, John Ferguson aka- Stanford Wong and found that he was fascinated by cards from the age of 12. During his university days and teaching years that followed, the game took over his life so much that he forwent his teaching responsibilities to pursue his passion of playing Blackjack for profit. In doing so, his name was changed in betting circles to the mythical Stanford Wong.

He bankrolled other like-minded individuals into a team ethos as they raided the Las Vegas Gambling rooms for profits.

Nowadays, Stanford Wong can be found still writing about his passion at https://bj21.com/ where he continues to educate bettors of all ages and casino games.

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Craig Edwards
Craig Edwards, an online tipster in golf and snooker for over four years, boasts a track record of 7800 bets with a 28% return on investment. A snooker professional from 1988 to 1996, he was once a single-figure handicap golfer. Achieving the 282nd position in the WSOP MAIN EVENT in 2007, Craig possesses a unique insight into the psychological shifts of professional sportsmen, anticipating their mindset week by week.

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