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Chris Ferguson

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Chris Ferguson
ResidencePacific Palisades, California, U.S.
BornChristopher Philip Ferguson
(1963-04-11) April 11, 1963 (age 61)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
World Series of Poker
Money finish(es)168[1]
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
Winner, 2000
World Poker Tour
Final table(s)2
Money finish(es)11[2]
European Poker Tour
Money finish(es)1
Information accurate as of 7 November 2022.

Christopher Philip Ferguson (born April 11, 1963) is an American professional poker player. He has won six World Series of Poker events, including the 2000 WSOP Main Event, and the 2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship.[3] Ferguson is a computer scientist by training and education.

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.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Ferguson was born in Los Angeles, California. Both Ferguson's parents have doctoral degrees in mathematics and his father, Thomas S. 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] While at UCLA Ferguson appeared on the Ricky Jay Television Special "Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women" as an assistant.[8]

Poker career[edit]

Ferguson began playing poker at the age of 10. In college, he honed his skill on IRC poker playing 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. 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, to point towards a table image that does not display outright the fact that he was a college student.[9] Ferguson is nicknamed "Jesus" because of his trademark long brown hair and beard.[10] His style is highly mathematical, using a strong knowledge of game theory and developing computer simulations to improve his understanding of the game.[11]

In the 2000 WSOP Ferguson won his first bracelet in the $2,500 Seven-Card Stud event for $151,000.[12] He followed this up by defeating T. J. Cloutier heads-up at the Main Event to win the $1.5 million prize.[13] In 2004, he earned $120,000 in the Main Event for his 26th-place finish (out of 2,576 players).[14]

Ferguson finished runner-up to Phil Hellmuth in the 2005 National Heads-Up Poker Championship.[15] He made the finals again in 2006, but again finished second, this time to Ted Forrest.[16] In 2008, he made the finals for the third time, this time defeating Andy Bloch and winning the title.[17]

At the 2017 WSOP, Ferguson set a record with 23 cashes. He also won his sixth bracelet, and first in 14 years, at the WSOP Europe in the €1,650 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better event. With these results Ferguson won the WSOP Player of the Year award.[18]

As of September 2020, his total live tournament winnings exceed $9,500,000.[19] His 168 WSOP cashes account for over $6,800,000 of those winnings.[1]

World Series of Poker bracelets[edit]

Year Tournament Prize ($)
2000 $2,500 Seven-Card Stud $151,000 [20]
2000 $10,000 No Limit Texas Hold 'em World Championship $1,500,000 [21]
2001 $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight or Better $164,735 [22]
2003 $2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight or Better $123,680 [23]
2003 $2,000 1/2 Limit Hold'em – 1/2 Seven Card Stud $66,220 [24]
2017E €1,650 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better €39,289

An "E" following a year denotes bracelet(s) won at the World Series of Poker Europe

In addition to his six bracelets, Ferguson was the first player to have won three World Series of Poker Circuit rings.[25]

Full Tilt Poker scandal[edit]

In 2004, Ferguson co-founded the online poker site Full Tilt Poker.[11] On September 20, 2011, the United States Department of Justice amended an existing civil complaint against Full Tilt Poker, alleging that directors 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."[26][27] A lawyer for Ferguson denied the allegations, suggesting that the issues may have been the result of mismanagement not malice.[28][29] While the legality of online poker remains controversial, Ferguson's case was dismissed on February 19, 2013.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Ferguson's interests include being president 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.[31] His card throwing ability was showcased on a side segment called ‘The Nuts’ on the ESPN broadcast of the World Series of Poker.


  1. ^ a b "Chris Ferguson". WSOP.com. Retrieved April 2, 2024.
  2. ^ "Chris Ferguson". World Poker Tour. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  3. ^ "2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship". Bluff Magazine. Archived from the original on December 13, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
  4. ^ Berzon, Alexandra (September 21, 2011). "U.S. Alleges Full Tilt Poker Was Ponzi Scheme". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  5. ^ UCLA Department of Mathematics: Thomas Ferguson
  6. ^ Brooks, Michael (May 2007). "Time enough for countin'". New Scientist. 194 (2604): 52–53. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(07)61258-5.
  7. ^ "PhD students supervised". Leonard Kleinrock. Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  8. ^ 770pratik (August 16, 2012), Ricky Jay-Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women, retrieved April 11, 2018{{citation}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ "Chris Ferguson interview". May 16, 2024.
  10. ^ ""Jesus" origin". November 20, 2015. Archived from the original on November 20, 2015. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  11. ^ a b What Would Jesus Bet? Alec Wilkinson, The Sporting Scene, The New Yorker, March 30, 2009
  12. ^ "31st World Series of Poker - WSOP 2000, 7 Card Stud". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  13. ^ "31st World Series of Poker - WSOP 2000, World Championship No Limit Texas Hold'em". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  14. ^ "35th World Series of Poker - WSOP 2004, World Championship Event". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  15. ^ "2005 National Heads-Up Poker Championship, Heads-Up No Limit Hold'em". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  16. ^ "2006 National Heads-Up Poker Championship, Heads Up No Limit Hold'em". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  17. ^ "NBC National Heads-Up Championship 2008, Finals". The Hendon Mob. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  18. ^ Fast, Erik (November 1, 2017). "Chris Ferguson Wins 2017 World Series of Poker Europe €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha Eight-or-Better Event". CardPlayer.com. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  19. ^ "Chris Ferguson's profile on The Hendon Mob". The Hendon Mob Poker Database. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  20. ^ "2000 $2,500 Seven card Stud". WSOP.com. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
  21. ^ "$10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship". WSOP.com. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
  22. ^ "$1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo". WSOP.com. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
  23. ^ "$2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo". WSOP.com. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
  24. ^ "$2,000 1/2 Limit Hold'em, 1/2 Seven Card Stud". WSOP.com. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
  25. ^ "Maurice Hawkins Wins Third WSOP Circuit Main Event Title of 2016". November 24, 2016.
  26. ^ Berzon, Alexandra (September 20, 2011). "U.S. Alleges Full Tilt Poker Was Ponzi Scheme". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  27. ^ United States of America (September 20, 2011), VERIFIED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT 11 Civ. 2564 (PDF), UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, retrieved September 26, 2011
  28. ^ Greg Howard (September 22, 2011). "Full Tilt Poker Denies it's a Ponzi Scheme". The Slatest. Archived from the original on September 23, 2011. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
  29. ^ Berzon, Alexandra (September 22, 2011). "Poker Site Fires Back at U.S." The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
  30. ^ Stutz, Howard (February 23, 2013). "Former poker champ Ferguson settles with federal prosecutors". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  31. ^ "- YouTube". YouTube.

External links[edit]