Is Wonging in Blackjack Effective?

Wonging

This is a technique named after Standford Wong, the pen name for the legendary author of “Professional Blackjack” and other gambling books.   It’s not that Stanford invented the technique, but many of the users were Wong’s students.

It is when you stand beside or behind a blackjack table and count the cards and then decide to sit down at the table when the deck is favorable to you as the player.  It is also called “back-counting,” because you’re counting cards from behind the players. 

It is mostly used when there are several decks in play because it allows the wonger to spend some time counting cards.  If only a couple of decks are being used, the wonger doesn’t have a chance to get a good count on the deck before it’s shuffled.

By sitting down when the deck has become favorable, you can make relatively larger bets at once, hopefully without drawing suspicion.  If you’ve been at a table a while and suddenly start making bigger bets, the pit boss may consider that a sign that you’re counting cards and know the deck is suddenly favorable.

Some casinos try to negate wonging by having a “no mid-shoe entry” policy.  However, that can be difficult to enforce, so it still can be done effectively.

There is also a technique called Semi-wonging, where you actually leave the table at a predetermined point in the count.  For instance, you may have sat down when the count was +8, but decide to leave the table if the count falls to +4.

Wonging Advantages

The most obvious advantage is that you only play when the deck is favorable to you.  You don’t have to make minimum bets because you’re only playing when the count is highly favorable, allowing for maximum bets for you.

With bankroll management a vital concern, not having to waste time and money with minimal bets when the deck is not favorable, is a huge advantage.  The bigger you can bet, the more you can win, in a shorter period of time.

Wonging Disadvantages

Though standing around and counting cards can be relatively simple, it can also be noticed by casino surveillance. The casino will eventually realize that you observe tables for a bit and then sit down and make relatively large bets.

Despite sitting down when the deck is favorable, there’s no telling how long the deck will remain this way.  You will of course want to get up when the deck starts cooling down.  Casinos become wary of card counting when a player sits down for only a couple of hands, gets up and perhaps watches a few hands and then sits down again.  You don’t want to be that obvious.

Final Thoughts

Wonging has been around since probably the 1970s.  It can still be done effectively today if it is thoroughly understood and practiced.

In terms of doing it effectively, you need to be able to count cards from a distance, without drawing attention to yourself.

As a wonger, you probably won’t have your table mates happy with you because you sit down and start winning, while they have suffered through all the bad hands!  Just tell them you’ve brought them luck, since the deck is now favorable for all players!

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Card Counting Practice

As with anything you want to be proficient at, it requires practice.  Card counting is no exception.  While it is definitely not illegal, casinos don’t like it to be used because it absolutely allows the player to win more and lose less.

To use it effectively, you have to make sure your usage is not detectable!  Card counters have to be cool, calm and collected, so the pit bosses don’t start keying on your activities.  You want to practice until the process becomes second nature to you.

How To Practice

Fortunately, it’s as simple as grabbing a deck of cards and counting through the entire deck, one card at a time.  Using the simple Hi-Lo method, as you count through the 52 cards (jokers removed), your final count should be 0. 

Your goal should be to get faster each time through.  The expert card counters are able to get through a deck in less than 30 seconds.

Speed Counting

The difference between professional card counters and beginners, is the expert’s ability to count cards in groups, as opposed to counting each card individually. 

Because cards are generally grouped in pairs as you look at a blackjack table, it should be your goal to look at a pair and immediately know that value.  For instance, if you see a Jack and a 3, you should automatically think “0” instead of “-1” and “+1”, = “0.”  Learn to recognize low cards (2’s-6’s) and 10-value cards cancel each other to 0.  In the same vein, with 2 low cards, immediately think “+2,” and with 2 10-value cards, think “-2.”  Being able to look at 2 cards at once and have a count, will dramatically increase your counting speed.

Distractions

You want to practice your card counting with as many distractions as you can possibly create, because casinos will have many distractions.  Just the noise alone in a casino can make card counting difficult. 

The casino atmosphere can work a little in your favor as well, because if you can maintain your cool and keep a running count of the cards on the table, without a pit boss becoming suspicious, more power to you!  You want to be focused, but not “look” focused on the cards dropping on the table. 

You want to be able to take only a second to look at cards and a get a count in your head.  If you can only count by intently staring and doing the math in your head, you will be caught by a pit boss and kindly asked to leave the table.  Learn to count with just a peek at the cards and do the math in your head while looking away from the table.

Online Practice

Finally, there are many online simulators that will help you increase your card counting speed and accuracy.  These are effective ways to truly test how fast you are at counting.  You may have gotten very good at challenging yourself with hand dealing to yourself, but rest assured, it’s more difficult with the online simulators and therefore great practice.

I like cardcountingtrainer.com and the free counter at casino.org just to name a couple of trainers.  All you need to do is a google search for card counting simulators to find one that you’ll like. 

Many people don’t try card counting because they feel it’s too difficult.  That’s not true!  All it takes is practice, practice, practice. 

It takes a lot of practice because the hardest part of card counting for blackjack, is doing it calmly enough so that you’re not caught doing it.  Remember, it’s not illegal, so you won’t get arrested, you’ll just be asked to not come back.

The best way to stay calm about it is to know it so well, that it’s like second nature to you and you can count without batting an eye.  That just takes practice!

Card Counting for Blackjack

Learning to count cards for blackjack will greatly enhance your chance of a profitable session of playing blackjack and beating the casino for the evening.blackjack10

Is It Legal

Though it might be hard to get the big winners to admit to card counting, you can bet that they all use some sort of card counting system if they say they can regularly win at blackjack Card counting makes such a big difference in winning or losing that people do question the legality of it. While it is NOT illegal, casinos definitely watch for card counters and will kindly ask a card counter not to come back. They may let you enjoy the rest of the casino, but you will be banned from the blackjack tables. So, actually the hardest part of card counting is not to get caught so you don’t get banned. Try not to make dramatic changes in bet sizes, so as to alert pit bosses. Even if the card count is a high positive number, control your increase in bet size so you don’t draw attention to yourself. It’s better to be able to come back to a casino on a regular basis, winning a reasonable amount each time, as opposed to having one killer night and being asked never to return because you won too much!

As in basic blackjack strategy, card counting is easy to learn, but difficult and time-consuming to become proficient at and master. That being said, if you take the time to do just that, it can make your blackjack sessions highly profitable for the most part.

How is it done?

With card counting, you are basically keeping track of the ratio of low cards to high cards that are left in the shoe. Contrary to popular belief, it does not involve memorization. The player’s advantage is heightened when there are more high cards (10’s-Aces) remaining in the shoe, so that’s what a player needs to keep track of and know.

Why does it work?

If there are more high cards played in a round, that means there are more low cards left in the shoe. If that is the case, the dealer has the advantage because it is more likely that he will be able to “hit” his cards and not bust because he’ll probably get a low card. If the opposite occurs, and there are more high cards in the shoe, there’s a better chance that the dealer will bust if he has to “hit” his hand because he’ll probably get a high card…advantage player!

What is basic card counting strategy?

The easiest and probably most used system is known as Hi-Lo. First, you want to assign a value to every card. Within the Hi-Lo system, card values are assigned as: 2-6=+1, 7-9=0, 10-Aces=-1. So as each card is dealt, you keep a running total based on the card’s assigned value. With each card dealt, you either add 1, subtract 1 or do nothing if it’s a 0 card (7-9). You do make sure you include the dealer’s cards in the count as well. When the running count becomes positive or favorable, you’ll want to increase your bet size.

True Count for Multi-deck games

With the use of multiple decks, the running count can be deceiving in terms of what is the actual ratio of high cards to low cards left in the shoe. True count is determined by dividing the running count by the number of remaining decks in the game. This is probably the most tricky part of card counting, because it does involve basic math..division! If you’re at a table playing with 6 decks and you have a running count of +4 with 2 remaining decks, your true count would be 4 divided by 2, which is +2.

Using Card Counting Effectively

A card counter must watch all cards played, even the dealer’s cards, to keep a running count in mind. The count is continued until a shuffle occurs or end of round. Once a shuffle has occurred, the count starts back at zero. The higher the positive count, the bigger the counter’s edge, and therefore the bigger the bet size should be. With a negative or neutral running count, keep the bets minimal. Proper money management is also an integral part of profitable blackjack sessions.

Final Points

Card counting is just the ability to figure out when it is most advantageous to make bigger bets and win more money. It just makes you a more skilled player than the person next to you. A card counter won’t win every time, but will win more often than not. Really good money can be made with card counting because you’ll be winning with larger bets and losing with smaller bets, if done properly. You don’t have to be genius to learn it either. Anybody willing to put in the necessary time to master card counting can beat the casino at blackjack.blackjack13