Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong
According to many blackjack experts and passionate players, Stanford Wong is one of the greatest blackjack players of all time. It’s interesting that his real name is John Ferguson, but he always uses his pen name – Stanford Wong. He started playing blackjack when he was just 12 years old. As a teenager, he got familiar with the odds of different hands and the chances of winning different kinds of hands against the house.
Stanford Wong got a Ph.D. in Finance from the famous Stanford University (hence the pen name). he is known for the development of a few methods and techniques that have helped many players. In his career, he has written a few blackjack books, but Professional Blackjack is by far the most popular one.
Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong Review
Professional Blackjack was released back in 1975. There a few different editions of this book published later, but the core of the book is the same. It’s interesting how a blackjack book that is relatively old can be so popular even today. One of the reasons for that is the success of the author of the book and the universal tips, advice, and suggestions that blackjack players regardless of their skills can find in this book.
Professional Blackjack has 352 pages and on these pages, prospective or existing players will find useful information related to card counting and other similar methods and strategies that can help any player improve their game. This book contains many tables that make mastering blackjack and memorizing the information found in the book much easier.
The main feature of this interesting blackjack-related paperback book is the analysis of the mechanism of the famous Hi-Lo (High-Low) count, a special type of card counting systems used in blackjack and other casino games. Just to be clear, Stanford Wong didn’t invent this system, but his thorough explanation about the science behind this system and his effort to popularize the system makes many people believe that he is the person who invented it.
At the beginning of this book, Wong starts with an interesting description of blackjack. He talks about the history of this game, the basic rules, and strategies and some frequently used terms in this popular game. As we said before, the book is not focused only on beginners, but it’s good even for experienced players to read this type of information again. After all, Stanford Wong is a true authority in this area and you can always learn something new when you are reading his works.
After this “warm-up”, the author moves straight to the main objective of this book – the explanation of the famous High-Low count system. He does this with precision and details one may expect to get from experienced and professional blackjack players. In this part of the book, you can find answers to many common questions like how the system works, what kind of edge does it have, the ways in which strategy changes based on the count for different game rules, what is insurance all about and more. Blackjack book readers may notice some similarities in his approach with another successful book of his – Basic Blackjack. As previously mentioned, the book contains interesting tables that can help players in different situations like what you should do when you are playing four card hands in case the game pays a 6-card automatic winner. The only downside is that some of these descriptions of specific situations go into too many details that an ordinary player doesn’t need. It’s almost impossible to remember all these tables and situations, but some readers may find them helpful or remember at least some of them.
In this book, the author also delivers useful information about the count to beat the Over/Under 13 games provided by some popular casinos. There’s even information about some more advanced counts like the Wong Halves Count that has three different levels. So, in case you’ve ever wondered how these count systems work, now you have a chance to learn more about them. Wong explains them in plain English language.
The next part of the book is dedicated to different kinds of topics associated with blackjack. For instance, Wong discusses the expected win rate for players, the best bet sizing, common ace side counts and many other things that explain the impact of shuffles on the game. All these things are useful. In the end, Professional Blackjack has around one hundred pages filled with charts. These are actually computer-generated simulations of various blackjack situations and hands, win rates for specific blackjack games, starting hand frequencies, a thorough glossary of terms and a bibliography that can help you find even more authors and books worth reading.
We should not forget to highlight the fact that this book is much older than the rest of the popular blackjack books read today. This means that you should expect to find some information that is not relevant for modern players, but one thing is for sure – this is a book based on facts and many of these facts have stood the test of time.
In Professional Blackjack, readers will find an in-depth analysis of the High-Low count system and in some parts, this analysis can be too deep, so be prepared for that. The only downside is that the author didn’t analyze the possible issues related to this count system making it look ideal and we all know that there is no ideal system. Although readers will find a great description of the High-Low count system, this doesn’t mean that if you are not interested in the system this book will be worthless to you. On the contrary, this is a great guide to playing blackjack that contains other useful information. So, there’s more than one reason why Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong is present on almost any top list of the best blackjack books of all time.