Stanford Wong is actually the pseudonym of John Ferguson, a State University finance teacher, born in 1943, in Georgia. As a kid, he had to move quite frequently, due to both his parents having a hard time holding a job for a longer period of time. It all began in his early school years back in Beaverton, Oregon, where his teacher at that time taught the whole class how to play the game of tic-tac-toe. John became immediately obsessed with figuring out the best strategies to beat his entire classroom, and it was very long until not even the teacher was able to win against him.
He maintained a very competitive attitude throughout his entire childhood, getting extremely frustrated each time he lost a game. By the age of fourteen, he was onto developing a basic Blackjack strategy which would guarantee him a win almost all the time. Being years away from the legal age to enter a real-life Casino, John chose to spend his time reading everything he could on the subject of blackjack, determined to learn as much as possible about playing and counting strategies.
The moment he turned 21, the game was on. He decided to use Edward Thorp’s ten-count system, depicted in his book ‘Beat the Dealer’, the first time he played in a Casino. He ranged minimum stakes between $1 and $4 and was amazed by how fast he managed to profit $150, and from that moment on, he was hooked for life.
After having served almost two years in the Vietnam war, John’s entire perspective on life changed completely. He quickly enrolled at Stanford University for a finance Ph. D., eager to become successful and earn substantial amounts of money. At the same time, he started playing Blackjack with almost every spare moment he had, registering an impressive profit of over $100,000 in the first months.
This made him start the work on his first book, Professional Blackjack and, by the time he was ready to submit its final form, he realized that he couldn’t possibly reveal his true identity as its author, otherwise he’d get banned from virtually every Casino he used to play at. This is how Stanford Wong was born, marking the beginning of an illustrious professional Blackjack career. Hi, the book quickly gained notoriety, the sales increase on a yearly basis. One of the most popular techniques he introduced in his book now carried the name of “wonging” and basically encourages players to spend less time making bets, and more time in studying their opponents in order to calculate the odds of winning against them in their head. When these odds start appearing favourable, players are to jump right back in action with large bets and extreme confidence.
The method became extremely popular among players in a very short period of time, forcing the Casinos to introduce the “No Mid Shoe Entry” rule, forbidding players to jump into a game as they please. But this was only the first step in John’s professional Blackjack career, Apart from writing and publishing numerous other books on gambling, he also picked up Blackjack Tournaments back in 1985, at the Hilton Casino. This is where he held the first test trials for a computer program he created, the “Blackjack Analyzer”.
With help from a team of friends, John ran dozens of card scenarios per day, eventually helping him finalize the program in an optimal format. This was a huge step in Blackjack history, and up to this day, his program is still considered by many professional players out there, the most complete and accurate form of predicting blackjack outcomes.
Eventually, John stopped writing books in order to focus on other author’s creations, and this is how his publishing house, Pi Yee Press, was born. He also created and launched a dedicated Blackjack website in 1996, called Bj21.com. Up to this day, the website remains one of the most popular platforms in the word for finding out the latest Blackjack news, the latest info on Casino games, as well as the best advice on how to protect and expand your bankroll.
All of this above translate into a life dedicated to the science of Blackjack and are ultimately the main reasons for which John Ferguson a.k.a. Stanford Wong was eventually inducted in the Blackjack Hall of Fame, back in 2002.