Counting Blackjack Cards

This is part 3 of our seven part series on counting blackjack cards, where we continue the history of blackjack counters who came on the scene after Ed Thorp’s book. For the list of all articles please click here.


After the launch of Ed Thorp’s book & the subsequent furor it caused within the casino world, there were a number of other card counters who made their way into the public limelight. Here we will give a brief biography of these new celebrities of card counting.

Peter Griffin

Another man who earned fame for counting blackjack cards was Peter Griffin. He was not alone within his family for his mathematical prowess; his grandfather, Frank Loxley Griffin being a famous mathematician amongst his generations.

Much of his life, before and after taking up the position teaching statistics at the California State University, he spent many hours analyzing the statistics for winning hands and the regularity in which they occurred. He learned his own system of counting and was able to precisely determine the probabilities of winning that could give a player 2% advantage over the casino. This was using new main parameters, which he called Playing Efficiency and Betting Correlation.

He is famous for his book published in 1978, called “Theory of Blackjack: The Complete Card Counter’s guide to the casino Game of 21”. This took second place to ed Thorp’s book and put Peter griffin in the Blackjack hall of Fame.

Ken Uston

Ken Uston is one of the most brilliant blackjack players of all time and most well-known due to his many television appearances. A man of true intellectual genius, he went to Yale University at the young age of 16 & later received an MBA for Harvard university.

Ken became interested in blackjack and was to partner for a time with Al Francesco, another famous player who began the idea of team playing within the casinos. He subsequently continued setting up his own teams to hit the casinos throughout Atlantic City. This later led to him being banned and he famously retaliated by launching legal suits against the casinos for barring skilled players.

He became famous in the public eye through his book “The Big Player”, published in 1977, where he exposed the tactics of the team players that many of the casinos had been unaware of. Only one year after this landmark publication, three of the most famous card counting teams were launched, among them, the MIT blackjack team.

Besides his blackjack ability, Ken was very successful within the corporate world, eventually working at the Pacific Stock exchange in San Franciso in the position of senior vice-president.

Stanford Wong

The name Stanford Wong is actually the pseudonym for John Ferguson, who became famous in the world of blackjack, especially after the release of his 1975 book, “Professional Blackjack”.

Like many of his counterparts, he was also an university lecturer, teaching finance at san Francisco State University and later received a Phd at Stanford University in Finance.

Named after him, the technique of “wonging” became famous in the 1980’s as a way of watching the game and then waiting for a favorable entry to place large bets. In an attempt to stop this form of play, some casinos disallowed mid-shoe entry into the game.

Stanford Wong is also well-known for his computer program called “Blackjack Anlalyzer” used to calculate the odds in blackjack. Because of his many contributions to the game, he was also enrolled onto the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

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To view our complete series on counting cards, use the links below:

Part 1- How to Count Blackjack Cards- An Introduction on the subject of card counting.
Part 2- Blackjack Counters- The history of card counting & its main founder, Ed Thorp.
Part 3- Counting blackjack cards- Other famous professionals who followed after Thorp.
Part 4- How to count in blackjack- Explanation of Thorp’s 10-count blackjack system.
Part 5- Hi Lo Blackjack- The Hi-Lo system of counting explained in detail.
Part 6- How to count cards in blackjack- The easiest complete system for card counting called the KO strategy.
Part 7- Blackjack counting card- The Hi-Opt I system for blackjack card counting.


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