Professional Video Poker by Stanford Wong

Professional Video Poker by Stanford Wong is one of the earliest books about video poker strategy. Published back in 1975, it is currently out of print but can be purchased second hand or downloaded from Stanford Wongs site BJ21. When Professional Video Poker was first released, it was a one-of-a-kind book that draw a lot of attention.

Professional Video PokerProfessional Video Poker is a very factual book, filled with charts and math. If you are looking for humorous anecdotes from the life of a professional video poker player, this is not the book for you.

A large chunk of this book deals with the task of finding positive expectation situations while playing 8/5 Jacks or Better video poker, even though 8/5 Jacks or Better is not a high-RTP game.

About Stanford Wong

Stanford Wong is the nom de plume of John Ferguson. Ferguson initially want to have Nevada Smith as his pen name, but it was already taken and he ended up with Stanford Wong instead after some help from a fellow PhD student. Stanford is the university where Ferguson was pursuing his PhD, while Wong was chose to call forth “the mystique of the Orient”.

In addition to writing books, Wong has also created the computer program Blackjack Analyzer. It was initially created for personal use only, but went on to become one of the first commercially available programs for blackjack odds analysis.

Examples of books written by Stanford Wong:

  • 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
  • Sharp Sports Betting
  • Casino Tournament Strategy
  • Betting Cheap Claimers
  • Winning Without Counting
  • Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gambling Like a Pro

Born in 1943, John Ferguson began to play blackjack in his early 20s while teaching finance at San Francisco State University and working on his PhD (also in finance) at Stanford University. He eventually became disenchanted with teaching and agreed to be paid just $1 for his last term of teaching at San Francisco State University in exchange for not having to attend faculty meetings.

Wong is not only famous for his books, but also for being the principal operator of a team of gamblers who targeted tournaments in Blackjack, Craps and Video Poker in Nevada. One of the gamblers in the team was Anthony Curtis, the now famous blackjack player, gambler, author and publisher.

In the 1980’s, Stanford Wong helped popularize a specific advantage technique in blackjack where you watch the cards at the table without wagering, and then only make wagers when you deem the remaining cards in the shoe to be beneficial to the players. This is nowadays known as “wonging” and is the reason why some casinos will not allow you to start playing at the blackjack table when the dealer is already halfway into the card shoe.

Stanford Wong has his own publishing house, Pi Yee Press. This publishing house is not limited to books written by Wong, but publishes books by other gamblers as well.