Wonging or back counting is simply the act of waiting for the shoe to get rich before joining the game. It’s invented by Stanford Wong (therefore the name of the technique) and since then has been a widespread technique for card counters given that mid-shoe entry is allowed. It’s like knowing when to hit on blackjack so you can maximize winnings and minimize potential losses.
Many consider wonging as a sub-type of card counting. The players keep track of the true count but they aren’t necessarily in the game. The only issue here is that someone may sit on the table even before the shoe get rich, thus dampening the chance of milking money from the shoe when the time is right.
The basics of wonging
If you plan to do wonging, you should do it properly to ensure that your efforts won’t be in vain. First, you should master card counting and blackjack hit or stand. Once you can calculate the true count in different deck counts, you can now try your hand in an actual casino.
Always occupy or stand in an inconspicuous position so the pit boss won’t notice your shady tactics. Wait until the shoe gets rich to join the game.
If the mid-shoe entry is allowed, be casual about joining the table. Don’t sport that stone-faced expression or else the pit boss would put much heat on you.
Although you can join the blackjack game on the get-go, wonging will save you from cold hands where you’ll need to balance your bankroll. By skipping the negative periods, you can strike whilst the iron is hot without the extra effort of getting past sucker hands.
Here, Bryce Debrunner explains how back counting works:
How wonging takes place in actual blackjack
Take note that wonging individually is done differently when wonging as a team. When flying solo, the card counter positions his self on a spot where he will appear unnoticeable but with a good vantage point of the cards. Remember, it’s always best to do wonging at the start of the shoe. When the game is starting to become profitable, that’s the time to make the move.
When it comes to team wonging, the technique is a bit different. A player sits and plays on the table while other members wait around. When the shoe starts to get rich, the seated player will signal these to the other members so they can join the game. This provides a better view of the cards plus a lot more players benefit from the practice.
However, team wonging requires extra care. Casinos can pick up patterns and remember faces. If your team wins big time, it can stir the attention of the pit boss.
Pros and cons of wonging
Wonging is both the best and worst technique of playing blackjack. It’s the best because it can make big money but it’s also the worst as many members stand the chance of being banned in casinos (remember the MIT blackjack team of the ‘90s?). Knowing when to hit on blackjack is just the first step toward wonging.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the practice:
Techniques to not get caught
Remember that casinos have an endless pursuit to prevent card counters from milking their money. With this, wongers and the likes are being banned from the house. It’s important that you know how to play the part to avoid being caught. Avoid patterns at all cost. Go to the casino at different hours, days, and play at different tables. Also, sacrifice a session without wonging so the casino won’t establish solid evidence against you.
So how does the casino tries to ruin wongers’ game? Well, it’s not really very hard for them to find ways. There are two game ruining tactics casinos use to stop wongers and card counters on their tracks:
Automatic shuffler. With the cards continuously shuffling, there’s no way you can card count with an automatic shuffler. The farthest that you can go is playing based on a specific strategy chart.
No mid-shoe entry. This is directly a move to stop wongers from taking advantage of a rich shoe. It’s either you join the game at the start of the shoe or not play at all. You can do wonging all you want but you can’t sit on the table until the shoe is reshuffled. In the end, you’ll just follow the rules of blackjack when to hit or stand.
Teaming up with a wonger
If the casinos prove that wonging individually is a lost cause, you can team up with a wonger who can play at the start of the shoe. Once the shoe is rich, s/he will make a signal to the big player or team members who are not on the table.
The non-playing person doesn’t necessarily have to card count. What the seated wonger would do is signal the current running/true count and the big player will take it from there. This way, pit bosses won’t suspect by-standers as wongers.
However, if you and your partner wonger keep on doing the same tactic over and over again in the same casino, you should be prepared to get caught.
Is it possible to do wonging in online blackjack?
There’s no way you can count cards and do wonging in an online casino. Even if you’re playing with a live dealer, the cards are always shuffled after every hand. Your best bet is to go to an actual casino and count cards.
Remember that wonging takes practice. You have to appear like an unsuspecting person without losing track of the running count. Knowing when to hit on blackjack is just the start, always seek to improve your gambling skills.