Chris Ferguson

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Chris Ferguson
File:Chris Ferguson 2.jpg
Nickname(s) Jesus
Residence Pacific Palisades, California, U.S.
Born Christopher Philip Ferguson
(1963-04-11) April 11, 1963 (age 55)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
World Series of Poker
Bracelet(s) 5
Money finish(es) 63 [1]
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
Winner, 2000
World Poker Tour
Title(s) None
Final table(s) 2
Money finish(es) 11
European Poker Tour
Money finish(es) 1
Information accurate as of  January 24, 2014.

Christopher Philip "Chris" Ferguson (born April 11, 1963) is an American poker player.

He has won five World Series of Poker events, including the 2000 WSOP Main Event, and the 2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship.[2]

On September 20, 2011, the U.S. Justice Department filed a motion to amend a civil complaint, complaining that Ferguson and three other directors of the poker website Full Tilt Poker were running a Ponzi scheme that paid out $444 million of customer money to themselves and the firm's owners.[3]

Early life and education

Ferguson was born in Los Angeles, California.[4] Both Ferguson's parents have doctoral degrees in mathematics and his father, Thomas Ferguson, teaches game theory and theoretical probability at UCLA.[5]

Ferguson attended UCLA where he earned a Ph.D. in computer science (focusing on virtual network algorithms) in 1999 after five years as an undergraduate and 13 years as a graduate student.[6] His Ph.D. advisor was Leonard Kleinrock.[7]


Ferguson began playing poker at the age 10. In college he honed his skill on IRC poker playing poker online for play money in chat rooms. In 1994, he began playing in tournaments in California and in 1995, he entered his first World Series of Poker. Ferguson beat T. J. Cloutier at the main event of the 2000 WSOP to win the $1.5 million prize. In 2004, he entered the WSOP main event, earning $120,000 for his 26th place finish (out of 2,576 players). Also in 2004, Ferguson helped launch the online poker site Full Tilt Poker.[8]

Ferguson finished runner-up to Phil Hellmuth in the 2005 National Heads-Up Poker Championship. He made the finals again in 2006, but again finished second, this time to Ted Forrest. In 2008 he made the finals for the third time, this time defeating Andy Bloch and winning the title. At one time he had the most event wins, but he is now second to Huck Seed.

In 2008, Ferguson cashed for US$677,905 at the WSOP,[9] a number that greatly exceeded his 2007 WSOP cash total of $84,562.[10] As of 2010, his total live tournament winnings exceed $8,000,000.[11] His 63 WSOP cashes account for $4,051,104 of those winnings and put him third for most cashes at the WSOP, behind Phil Hellmuth and Men Nguyen.[12]

He claims to have turned $1 into more than $20,000 playing online poker over six months as a personal challenge. He talked about this as a guest on Poker Night Live.[citation needed] Similarly, to show that it could be done, he turned $0 into $10,000 on Full Tilt by first winning freeroll tournaments. Despite achieving his goal, Ferguson has continued the challenge and was at one point over $20,000.[13] He has developed an algorithm for deal making for players who reach the final table in Full Tilt Poker's online tournaments.[14]

He is a relatively quiet player who often adopts a characteristic motionless pose to avoid providing information to his opponents. He adopted his trademark wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses consciously, trying to disguise the fact that he was a college student.[15]

His style is highly mathematical, using a strong knowledge of game theory and developing computer simulations to improve his understanding of the game.[8]

Ferguson is nicknamed "Jesus" because of his trademark long brown hair and beard.[16]

World Series of Poker bracelets

Year Tournament Prize (US$)
2000 $2,500 Seven Card Stud $151,000 [17]
2000 $10,000 No Limit Texas Hold 'em World Championship $1,500,000 [18]
2001 $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight or Better $164,735 [19]
2003 $2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight or Better $123,680 [20]
2003 $2,000 1/2 Limit Hold'em – 1/2 Seven Card Stud $66,220 [21]

In addition to these bracelets, Ferguson is the only player to have won three World Series of Poker circuit events.[22]

Full Tilt Poker scandal

On September 20, 2011 the United States Department of Justice amended an existing civil complaint against Full Tilt Poker, an online poker company of which Chris Ferguson was a director. The amended complaint alleged that Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer and Rafe Furst "lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited.”[23][24] A lawyer for Ferguson has denied the allegations, suggesting that the issues may have been the result of mismanagement not malice.[25][26]

Personal life

His interests include his presidency of a swing dancing club at UCLA, as well as his ability to throw playing cards fast enough to cut through bananas, carrots, and even melons.[27]


  1. "Chris Ferguson player ID". Retrieved 2009-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship". Bluff Magazine. Retrieved December 12, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Berzon, Alexandra (September 21, 2011). "U.S. Alleges Full Tilt Poker Was Ponzi Scheme". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Chris Ferguson". Retrieved December 12, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Brooks, Michael (May 2007). "Time enough for countin'". NewScientist. 194 (2604): 52–53.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "PhD students supervised". Leonard Kleinrock. Retrieved 2009-07-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 What Would Jesus Bet? Alec Wilkinson, The Sporting Scene, The New Yorker, March 30, 2009
  9. 2008 World Series of Poker Player of the Year Standings,
  10. 2007 World Series of Poker Player of the Year Standings,
  11. "Hendon Mob tournament results: Chris Ferguson". Retrieved 2009-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. World Series of Poker Earnings,
  13. "Chris Ferguson Challenge". 2006-11-26. Retrieved 2009-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Automatic Tournament Deals,
  15. "Chris Ferguson interview".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. ""Jesus" origin".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "2000 $2,500 Seven card Stud". Retrieved 2009-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "$10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship". Retrieved 2009-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "$1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo". Retrieved 2009-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "$2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo". Retrieved 2009-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "$2,000 1/2 Limit Hold'em, 1/2 Seven Card Stud". Retrieved 2009-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Chris is first to three Circuit wins".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Berzon, Alexandra (September 20, 2011). "U.S. Alleges Full Tilt Poker Was Ponzi Scheme". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. United States of America (September 20, 2011), VERIFIED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT 11 Civ. 2564 (PDF), UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, retrieved 2011-09-26<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Greg Howard (September 22, 2011). "Full Tilt Poker Denies it's a Ponzi Scheme". The Slatest. Retrieved 2011-09-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Berzon, Alexandra (September 22, 2011). "Poker Site Fires Back at U.S." The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 26, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. [1]

External links