Chris Ferguson Offers Short Apology After Seven Years of Silence
Seven years ago, April 2011, Black Friday shook the poker world with poker's big three (PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Ultimate Bet) getting indicted. Subsequently, Full Tilt Poker's Alderney license got suspended, and a hornet's nest of fraud and malpractice was uncovered as Full Tilt Poker turned out not to have player and operational funds segregated and subsequently wasn't able to cash out its players.
In September of 2012, Howard Lederer gave a lengthy interview to PokerNews, dubbed 'The Lederer Files', explaining his side of things. That was followed by a lengthy interview on the 2+2 podcast. A third interview, this time with DiamondFlush, was to take place but Lederer backed out at the last minute.
But while the majority of the poker community found Lederer's explanation unsatisfactory, there was more uproar about Chris Ferguson's silence in the months after. The professional poker player known as "Jesus," was part of Full Tilt Poker's core management group, but he remained tight-lipped throughout the entire saga.
Poker players on Full Tilt Poker were eventually made whole as PokerStars bought Full Tilt Poker's assets and reimbursed the players. Full Tilt Poker's management faced limited consequences of the whole ordeal.
Ferguson and Lederer remained absent from poker's biggest stage in the years to come, but in 2016, they both returned to play the game in the biggest spotlight. At the 2016 World Series of Poker, Ferguson and Lederer played several events, but Ferguson had nothing more to say than "I'm just here to play poker" when asked by reporters and players. According to Daniel Negreanu, he said "What are you talking about?" when asked when he would apologize.
While Lederer wouldn't cash in a single event since his return, Chris Ferguson has done much better. At the 2016 WSOP, Ferguson cashed 10 times totaling $253,519, including a fourth-place finish in the $10,000 Six-Max for $183,989. Last year, at the 2017 WSOP, Ferguson one-upped himself cashing 15 times, totaling $380,200. That included a runner-up finish in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud for $151,700 and a fourth-place finish in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo for $150,929.
Ferguson traveled to Rozvadov for the World Series of Poker Europe. He cashed six times, including his sixth bracelet in the €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo for €39,289, and took down the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year title.
Now, after having taken down the WSOP Player of the Year ranking in 2017 and playing dozens of events total since 2016, Chris Ferguson has offered an apology via his Vimeo channel. The video, titled 'Chris Ferguson reaches out to the poker community,' was uploaded on May 23rd and has a duration of 42 seconds.
Hi, it's Chris Ferguson.
I'd like to take this brief opportunity to address the poker community which I love and have been part of for a long time. I deeply regret not being able to prevent Black Friday from happening. After Black Friday, I worked relentlessly to ensure that all players got paid back, and I sincerely apologize that it took as long as it did.
I also realize it has taken me a long time to make any sort of public statement and I appreciate my fans and the poker community as a whole for the patience and support. One day, the Full Tilt Poker story will be told, and like many of you, I look forward to that day.
I hope to see you all at the World Series of Poker this summer. Thank you and good luck.
While Ferguson says he expects the story of Full Tilt Poker to be told one day, and adds that he looks forward to that day, he refrains from explaining why he's not telling his side of the story himself at this time.
Some of the reactions to the video on Twitter:
Here is a video from Chris Ferguson. It’s a shame that so many of the younger poker players have JUDGED Chris so h… https://t.co/o7kEdAcYS9— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth)
He was a face for a company that stole millions of dollars from its customers. Don’t you think he should’ve release… https://t.co/6EZfhCAm2L— Dan O'Brien ? (@DanOBrienPoker)
@RealKidPoker Despite this I actually kind of feel he isn't the bad guy and there's some sincerity somewhere there.… https://t.co/9SfJKxbo9c— Patrick Leonard (@plenopads)
@RealKidPoker “I worked relentlessly to ensure all players got paid back, and I sincerely apologize it took as long… https://t.co/lGbGD1fBxi— Mike Schneider (@schneidspoker)
@RealKidPoker Man, I don't know. I didn't feel it was as heartfelt as you did! I guess it did effectively end my po… https://t.co/joaIX35rQk— eric froehlich (@efropoker)
Imagine waiting 7 years to release this: https://t.co/u9fmm7mpp0— Lance Bradley (@Lance_Bradley)
@phil_hellmuth Not surprising you would defend this scumbag. Phil and Chris are two birds of a feather, players wh… https://t.co/zb2K8KbDGR— David Bakes (@DMBakes)
@TheTmay @phil_hellmuth Phil’s generation grew up scamming and treating each other like scum. They think our genera… https://t.co/SdEf9iSysj— Carter King (@CKingLivePro)