The Wong Halves System for Card Counting

The Wong Halves System is a complex, level-3 method for counting cards and it is suitable for professional, highly experienced blackjack players. Bearing the name of its creator, Stanford Wong, this is one of the most complicated, yet exceptionally accurate and powerful systems for counting cards.

This method was first introduced in 1975 in Stanford Wong’s book Professional Blackjack, which has since then become a classic. Wong, whose actual name is John Ferguson, is one of the most prominent blackjack authors and researchers of the past several decades. His system was devised with skilled blackjack pros in mind so before trying it, players should be able to easily deal with simpler and more basic methods for counting cards.

The Wong Halves System Fundamentals

Basics of the Wong Halves System
How to Use the Wong Halves System?
True Count

Simplified Wong Halves Count

Before applying this system in real games, players should practice it for some time. It is quite complex mainly because of the fractions that are used in calculating the running count. To avoid this difficulty, some card counters have simplified the Wong Halves system in two major ways.

Doubling the Card Values
Hands with Eliminating Values

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Wong Halves

Advantages of the Wong Halves
Disadvantages of the Wong Halves

The Wong Halves count is considered to be among the strongest and most accurate systems for counting cards. With a betting correlation of 0.99 or 99% (correlation between card point values and the effect of removal of cards), the method efficiently predicts when the cards in the shoe are favorable to the player and when the odds are in favor of the casino.

Unfortunately for most blackjack players, the efficiency of the Wong Halves goes hand in hand with a high level of difficulty. The multiple numerical values and the addition of fractions make the calculation of the running count really challenging, especially on a table with 5 or more players.

The most important thing to consider, however, is whether the system could be executed correctly in a real casino setting. It is most efficient in shoe games - 6 or 8-deck games, and when used in combination with near-perfect basic strategy and a suitable betting spread. Of course, players can also opt for the simplified version of the Wong Halves, where are all card values are doubled.

In addition, the need for converting the running count into a true count leads to even more complications. This is where the main weakness of the system remains - if it is not used perfectly, it is not as efficient as it should be. In fact, it could lead to financial ruin if applied by a less experienced player who makes small mistakes occasionally, bets large sums, and does not follow the basic strategy for blackjack.

Overall, the Wong Halves System is a great option for experienced, highly skilled blackjack players who are looking for the ultimate method for gaining an advantage over the casino or simply want a challenge. Many professional gamblers even avoid the method and prefer counting under classic and much simpler systems such as the Hi-Lo or the KO count.