Stanford Wong - John Ferguson - Blackjack Author

There are a number of well-known names in the gambling industry, and one of the most well-known names is that of Stanford Wong. It is a name that has been around for a long time in blackjack circles, and is easily one of the most revered names in the game. Such is his popularity that there is even a technique named after him in blackjack. He is also a member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

Stanford Wong aka John Ferguson

Stanford Wong is not the actual name of a person; it is the pen name of John Ferguson, an eminent author in the world of gambling. Ferguson was born in 1943 and seemed to have a knack for playing gambling games even when he was a child. He started out with Tic Tac Toe when he was six, never losing a game. He was, unlike other children his age playing the game, more interested in finding out the most effective strategy to win the game.

When Ferguson was 12 years old, he moved on to blackjack. Again, he was more interested in figuring out the odds of winning than playing the game. He, in fact, used an office calculator and read extensively about the different aspects of the game. Very soon, he learned how to count cards and by the age of 21, he was raring to go.

Stanford Wong – The Early Days

Stanford Wong started out as a professional gambler way back in 1964, when he was just 21. At that time, he was still an undergraduate student at Stanford University. Not only did he complete his undergraduate degree there, he actually went on to later get his doctorate there in a subject that would stand him in good stead as a blackjack player: statistics.

Ferguson continued to play gambling games, and took up professional blackjack in 1976. That was the time when he was also teaching finance at San Francisco State University. In 1975, he came out with his first book on gambling, Professional Blackjack. The book was an instant hit and became a reference point for all blackjack players – amateurs as well as professionals – and its popularity is underlined by the fact

That was about the time he also started using the name Stanford Wong. There is an interesting story about the name Stanford Wong and how Ferguson came to adopt it. This was not the name Ferguson had in mind when he was searching for a pseudonym when he began writing. The name he wanted to adopt was Nevada Smith, but it had already been taken. A colleague in the doctorate program then coined the name Stanford Wong, using the name of the university for the first name and adding an Asian name as the second name to lend an Oriental touch to the name.

In the 1980s, Wong popularized an advantage technique that involved a player keeping an eye on a game without actually betting on it, and then moving in and playing when the count started to swing in the player’s favor, and then stopping play again once the count started to go against the player. This move came to be called ‘wonging’. Even now, there are casinos that do not allow players to start playing in the middle

Stanford Wong – Author Par Excellence

Professional Blackjack was not the only book that John Ferguson penned, under the name Stanford Wong. It established his credentials as an author and spurred him to continue writing and making noteworthy contributions not just to blackjack, but also to other gambling games like craps, video poker, Pai Gow Poker, and sports betting.

In all Stanford Wong has penned 15 books. These are Professional Blackjack, Professional Video Poker, Wong on Dice, Blackjack Secrets, Basic Blackjack, Tournament Blackjack, Tournament Craps, Complete Idiot’s Guide to Managing Your T, Optimal Strategy for Pai Gow Poker, Vegas Downtown Blackjack, Sharp Sports Betting, Casino Tournament Strategy, Betting Cheap Claimers, Winning Without Counting, and Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gambling Like . He currently has his own publishing house, Pi Yee Press, based

In 1979, Wong started what was to later become one of the best newsletters and journals for professional blackjack players, Current Blackjack News. Wong also was the brain behind a popular sports gambling website where he still contributes articles and other blackjack sites. He has also been a consultant to other writers and researchers on blackjack, including Ian Andersen and Don Schlesinger.

Today, Stanford Wong does not play blackjack games professionally anymore. He is a resident of La Jolla in California, where he stays with his wife. His two children are graduates and married.

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