Editorial

A glimpse into the casino hall of fame

With casino gaming becoming such a popular pastime for so many, it’s no surprise that, over the years, certain players have risen through the ranks to become arguably famous in the casino realm. But who are these individuals – and how did they find their fame?

Whilst we can’t give you an exhaustive list of casino celebrities – as there’s really that many – we can give you a glimpse into just two of the big names on the scene. Whether you’re a fan of playing casino games yourself, or just interested in how someone can climb the ranks within the gaming industry; we’re sure that you will be shocked, and perhaps impressed, at the following success stories.

Read on to find out more.

Chris Moneymaker

Perhaps one of the most famous card game aficionados of the modern era of Poker, Chris Moneymaker (yes, that’s his real name!) has made history with some of the most impressive tournament performances of all time.

In all began at an online satellite tournament in 2003, hosted by PokerStars. The prize for finishing in the top 3 was a spot at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), whilst whoever finished in 4th position would be given $8,000. At first, Moneymaker was staying true to his name and striving for the monetary reward, however his friends soon realised that he could make it to the top, and pushed him to aim his sights slightly higher. Their hunch was right and Moneymaker landed in first position, with the next stop being the in-person competition.

Once again, Moneymaker came out on top, in the WSOP final, after his performance in each round gained a considerable amount of media attention. Although the rising Poker star was somewhat shy in his debut, by the fifth day and final table, Moneymaker pulled off a great bluff on his opponent Sam Farha, causing him to fold and hand the public’s new favourite the win.

After this iconic win, Moneymaker decided to leave his old life behind in favour of pursuing a full-time career in Poker. What’s more, off the back of his success story, online Poker began to boom and thousands of unlikely players began to try their hand at the classic casino game. This has since been labelled as the “Moneymaker effect”.

Moneymaker is still participating in Poker tournaments to this day, entering competitions of varying sizes, with no intention of ending his gaming career any time soon.

Stanford Wong

Although not known for his performance or showmanship, Stanford Wong has been an enthusiastic Blackjack player since an early age, when he quickly realised that his preferred way to play was by analysing statistics, rather than his opponents.

Wong soon found an enthusiasm for card counting and anticipating other player’s moves. You should bear in mind, though, that card counting is a practice that’s widely frowned upon, and not recommended, especially at brick-and-mortar casinos. This method may not be illegal, but you’ll often find casino’s treating it as such. What’s more, it’s an extremely difficult thing to do, so not something that will benefit the average player.

In fact, you’ll be surprised to hear that Stanford Wong wasn’t even his real name – the Blackjack aficionados’ birthname is actually John Ferguson – he just didn’t want to use this in his gaming endeavours due to the stigma around card counting, and the fact that he often used his real name when playing.

But back to Wong. Off the back of his chosen way to play, he began sharing his wisdom in 1975 when he published his first book Professional Blackjack. This is regarded to be Wong’s best-known book, as well as often being referred to as the “Blackjack bible”.

From 1997, Wong (or should we say Ferguson) started publishing monthly Blackjack newsletter to share his wisdom, before transforming into a popular online journal on his very own website which is still visited today.

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