Chris Ferguson ~ Poker Legend

One of the more easily recognisable professionals of the game, Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson is one of the best poker players around. Famous for his cowboy hat, long hair, and beard, he has been on the poker circuit for most of his life.

Interestingly, Ferguson’s parents both have parents doctoral degrees in mathematics. His father, Thomas Ferguson, teaches game theory and theoretical probability at UCLA. So with that kind of lineage, it’s no wonder that Ferguson found success at the poker table! Ferguson himself attended UCLA, and earned a Ph.D. in computer science with a focusing on virtual network algorithms.

While this no doubt gives him a massive advantage, he did actually start playing the game as a child. He lost thirty-five cents in a 4th-grade showdown, a lesson that taught him well and stuck with him for a very long time. From there he developed his game and continued playing through high school where he would play with friends every weekend.

He steadily progressed and soon his first journey to Vegas beckoned. He managed to only suffer two losses in 22 visits. By 1994, Ferguson decided to really focus on the game and apply all that he had learned by concentrating on poker tournaments. In 1996 he won a buy-in to the World Series of Poker and he has played in quite a few of them since.

From 1996 to 1999 Ferguson had 12 money finishes but never won a series. He did end up at the final table seven times, that is, until 2000 when he won his first WSOP bracelet. It was the first of six.

However, nothing everything has gone so smoothly for Chris Ferguson. He was a director and a 20% stakeholder in Full Tilt Poker when the U.S. Government shut down poker sites on April 15, 2011, (Black Friday). This led to the business crashing. Players were unable to withdraw funds from the site which led to a civil suit against Ferguson.

The case was finally dismissed in 2013 when he reached a settlement with the Department of Justice. He admitted no wrongdoing but his reputation was all but ruined. He was noticeably absent from the WSOP for five years before returning in 2016. By 2017, he was WSOP Player of the Year.

To date Chris Ferguson has taken over $9,000,000 in earnings and continues to be one of the most skilled poker players in the world. He is also on track to become the WSOP cashes record holder by the end of the 2019 series. Phil Hellmuth currently holds the record but it now looks like he could soon lose his lead.

And his number one tip for all budding poker players?
Pump it or Dump it – if your hand isn’t strong enough for a raise it’s too weak for a call!


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