Ferguson at the 2007 World Series of Poker
|Residence||Pacific Palisades, California, U.S.|
|Born||Christopher Philip Ferguson
April 11, 1963
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|World Series of Poker|
|Money finish(es)||63 |
Main Event finish
|World Poker Tour|
|European Poker Tour|
Christopher Philip "Chris" Ferguson (born April 11, 1963) is an American poker player.
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. Many poker players agree, however, that casinos perform the same rake behavior, that applying the term "Ponzi scheme" is indeed a misnomer.
Early life and education
Ferguson was born in Los Angeles, California. Both Ferguson's parents have doctoral degrees in mathematics and his father, Thomas Ferguson, teaches game theory and theoretical probability at UCLA.
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. His Ph.D. advisor was Leonard Kleinrock.
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.
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, a number that greatly exceeded his 2007 WSOP cash total of $84,562. As of 2010, his total live tournament winnings exceed $8,000,000. 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.
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. 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. He has developed an algorithm for deal making for players who reach the final table in Full Tilt Poker's online tournaments.
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.
World Series of Poker bracelets
|2000||$2,500 Seven Card Stud||$151,000 |
|2000||$10,000 No Limit Texas Hold 'em World Championship||$1,500,000 |
|2001||$1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight or Better||$164,735 |
|2003||$2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight or Better||$123,680 |
|2003||$2,000 1/2 Limit Hold'em – 1/2 Seven Card Stud||$66,220 |
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.” A lawyer for Ferguson has denied the allegations, suggesting that the issues may have been the result of mismanagement not malice.
- "Chris Ferguson player ID". Worldseriesofpoker.com. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- "2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship". Bluff Magazine. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
- Berzon, Alexandra (September 21, 2011). "U.S. Alleges Full Tilt Poker Was Ponzi Scheme". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
- "Chris Ferguson". fulltiltpoker.com. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
- Brooks, Michael (May 2007). "Time enough for countin'". NewScientist 194 (2604): 52–53.
- "PhD students supervised". Leonard Kleinrock. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- What Would Jesus Bet? Alec Wilkinson, The Sporting Scene, The New Yorker, March 30, 2009
- 2008 World Series of Poker Player of the Year Standings, worldseriesofpoker.com
- 2007 World Series of Poker Player of the Year Standings, worldseriesofpoker.com
- "Hendon Mob tournament results: Chris Ferguson". Pokerdb.thehendonmob.com. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- World Series of Poker Earnings, www.worldseriesofpoker.com
- "Chris Ferguson Challenge". Fulltiltpoker.com. 2006-11-26. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- Automatic Tournament Deals, fulltiltpoker.com
- "Chris Ferguson interview".
- ""Jesus" origin".
- "2000 $2,500 Seven card Stud". Worldseriesofpoker.com. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- "$10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship". Worldseriesofpoker.com. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- "$1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo". Worldseriesofpoker.com. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- "$2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo". Worldseriesofpoker.com. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- "$2,000 1/2 Limit Hold'em, 1/2 Seven Card Stud". Worldseriesofpoker.com. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- "Chris is first to three Circuit wins".
- Berzon, Alexandra (September 20, 2011). "U.S. Alleges Full Tilt Poker Was Ponzi Scheme". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
- 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
- Greg Howard (September 22, 2011). "Full Tilt Poker Denies it's a Ponzi Scheme". The Slatest. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
- Berzon, Alexandra (September 22, 2011). "Poker Site Fires Back at U.S.". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 26, 2011.