The gambling strategy known as ‘Wonging’ has a wide and varied application, but it is most tightly related to the game of blackjack. Basically, it is practiced by players counting cards at one or several blackjack tables on the casino floor, and choosing the prime moment, based on their count, to enter the gameplay.
There is no saying who was the exact person that invented the Wonging strategy, as players have long been known to hop from table to table mid-game. However, blackjack author Jack Ferguson, better known for his alias Stanford Wong, largely propagated and developed this strategy in his publications, thus prompting people to name it after his pen name.
In 2014, BlackjackInfo conducted an interview with Stanford Wong which you can find here.
The wonging strategy can be viewed as a sort of a sub-type of card counting, as players count the cards at their chosen blackjack table(s), but without participating in the action. This allows players to keep track of the game flow and take a seat at the tables only when the count is favorable. Normally, they would occupy a less noticeable position that allows them full preview of the cards dealt, and stay there until the time is right.
Once the count is favorable…
… players take a seat at the table in order to make the most of it while the action is hot. This saves them the time and bankroll portion that they would otherwise have spent if they entered the action from the start. Cold periods with negative counts alternate with the positive ones and maintain some balance, but this particular strategy all but eliminates any possibility of staking your hard earned cash without getting a payout.
… of appearing too conspicuous on the casino floor. Card counting as an activity in itself is frowned upon, and casino management are constantly on the lookout for any apparent behavior – fluctuations in bet sizes, sudden quitters from the table or signals to transfer information. As for wonging, players need to be additionally aware of the way they position themselves during table monitoring.
Across the massive number of books written on the topic, both from Ferguson and others, experts have shared various approaches to a successful wonging strategy.
Some ‘wongers’ tend…
…to act busy and fidgety since the moment they enter the casino, as if they have a plane to catch and the casino floor is just a by-way stop until boarding time comes. These tend to continue their busy appearance all throughout the surveillance period and during the actual gameplay at the blackjack table.
Other wongers, however…
… apply a sort of self sabotage. This needs to be done carefully, so that it doesn’t appear to be on purpose and used against the player’s interest. Most of the time, wongers enter the table at a peak time, play a few hands while the gameplay suits them and leave, but not before risking some of their winnings for the sake of keeping up appearances. They may double their bets after a win, or just increase them during a less advantageous count – either way it is something that throws management off for just enough time to make a getaway.
Wonging in teams is a third option to better practice this blackjack strategy. It can be done with the wonger – big player approach, or simply with a friend that can play along with the act just enough for the wonger to get the count. In the first case, the wonger is already at the table, sacrificing a portion of the bankroll throughout the less favorable periods, so that they can count the cards with utmost precision. Once suitable, they signal the ‘big player’ and once they enter the gameplay, the wonger conveys them the exact table count, normally using a code or association.
The latter team play option…
… would still require the wonger to do the card counting on their own, but it is much less conspicuous in the eyes of casino management. Once blackjack entered the big screen, relevant strategies portrayed there were commercialized and more widely applied, resulting in lower success rates.
… strongly supports this theory, as the characters doing the card counting would successfully work in teams of wonger – big player structures. Yet, even their timely demise indicates the need to be extremely attentive during such strategic plots.
Using the wonging strategy in your blackjack gameplay has its perks and downsides. However, the fact that it is still practiced decades after being publicly explained is proof enough of its beneficial character.
… is the fact it allows players to spare their bankroll. Wonging is applied at optimal times, when the blackjack table count is in the positive mark. This practically means wongers are going straight to the winnings without toiling out their day waiting for the table’s count to go up.
… players practicing wonging are indirectly also practicing bankroll management, one of the most recommended strategies for successful gambling in general. It limits the risk imposed on players’ bankrolls, and further allows them to maneuver their bet sizes. All in all, wonging is all about benefits from practicing betting strategies right.
Card counting as part of this proper strategy, is made all the more easier, even though it doesn’t require any special know-how in general. The fact that, in wonging, it is additionally performed at a place of your choosing on the casino floor makes it an even more attractive skill to acquire.
Naturally, since it turns the odds in the wongers’ favor, it is bound to be frowned upon by casino establishments. Thus, wongers can rightfully assume that one key disadvantage is the fact that they could easily get banned from their preferred casinos on the assumption of practicing this strategy.
On top of that…
… most blackjack enthusiasts nowadays tend to turn to the online casino websites providing greater accessibility and player friendly house edge. These services, however, employ blackjack software that doesn’t subject to wonging and similar blackjack strategies.