Chris "Jesus" Ferguson is an American poker player who won the 2000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.
He is also known for his involvement in the Full Tilt Poker Scandal, an online poker company that Ferguson founded and was a director of.
During his career he has won six WSOP bracelets and the 2008 NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship. In 2017, the year he won his sixth WSOP bracelet, he was named WSOP Player of the Year.
Ferguson was born in Los Angeles, California on April 11, 1963. He attended UCLA and earned a Ph.D. in computer science in 1989.
Having first started playing poker as a child, his first recorded cash came in March, 1993. He regularly travelled around California to play poker tournaments, and cashed in his first WSOP event in 1995.
Having picked up the nickname "Jesus" because of his long brown hair and beard, Ferguson regularly wore sunglasses and a trademark cowboy hot, and was considered almost unreadable by his opponents.
His first six WSOP cashes were top 10 finishes in various formats, including Razz, A-5 Draw as well as No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold'em.
2000 WSOP Main Event
He won his first WSOP bracelet in 200 in a $2,500 Seven Card Stud tournament, and followed that up with a win in the 2000 WSOP Main Event for $1,500,000. He defeated T. J. Cloutier heads-up, handing Cloutier his fourth top-five finish in the Main Event, and his second runner-up finish after losing to Bill Smith in 1985.
The final table of the 2000 WSOP Main Event was immortalized in the 2004 book 'Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker' by Jim McManus.
Full Tilt Poker Scandal
Many believe that Ferguson's many poker accomplishments are tainted by his involvement in the Full Tilt Poker scandal. On April 15, 2011, a date that became poker's 'Black Friday', the United States Department of Justice issued an indictment against the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker charging bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling
Later that year, this complaint was amended to include allegations that Ferguson, along with Ray Bitar, Howard Lederer and Rafe Furst had defrauded players, and that Full Tilt Poker was a "global Ponzi scheme."
The DOJ detailed that approximately $390 million was owed to Full Tilt Poker Players worldwide, including about $150 million to American players. Ferguson denied the allegations through a lawyer, and the case was ultimately dismissed after PokerStars bought Full Tilt and negotiated a plan with the U.S. Department of Justice to pay back players.
2011: Reactions to Online Poker’s Black Friday
2012: The Black Friday Timeline: One Year Without Online Poker
2016: Black Friday: Reliving Poker’s Darkest Day Five Years Later
2021: 10 Years After Black Friday: Where Poker's Been and Where it's Going
Return and 2017 WSOP Player of the Year
"I'm just here to play poker" —Chris Ferguson at 2016 WSOP
The scandal resulted in Ferguson retreating from the poker limelight. However, in June 2016 he stunned the poker world by returning to the WSOP, entering the $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship. In total, he cashed 10 times at the 2016 WSOP.
In 2017, Ferguson amassed 23 WSOP cashes and won his sixth bracelet at the 2017 WSOP Europe €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better. His performances saw him named 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year.
Chris Ferguson WSOP Bracelets
|2000||Event #9: $2,500 Limit Seven Card Stud||$151,000|
|2000||Event #25: $10,000 NLHE WSOP Main Event||$1,500,000|
|2001||Event #3: $1,500 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo||$164,735|
|2003||Event #4: $2,000 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo||$123,680|
|2003||Event #10: $2,000 Limit Hold'em & Seven Card Stud||$66,220|
|2017 [E]||Event #7: €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better||€39,289|
Chris Ferguson Top Five Poker Cashes
|May 2000||WSOP Main Event||$10,000||1st||$1,500,000|
|February 2005||WSOPC San Diego||$10,200||1st||$655,220|
|May 2008||WSOP NLHE||$1,500||3rd||$388,287|
|September 2005||WSOPC Las Vegas||$10,000||1st||$362,088|
|February 2009||LA Poker Classic||$10,000||6th||$240,538|
WSOP Main Event Winners 1991-2000
|2000||512||Chris Ferguson||United States||$1,500,000|
|1997||312||Stu Ungar||United States||$1,000,000|
|1996||295||Huck Seed||United States||$1,000,000|
|1995||273||Dan Harrington||United States||$1,000,000|
|1994||268||Russ Hamilton||United States||$1,000,000|
|1993||220||Jim Bechtel||United States||$1,000,000|
|1991||215||Brad Daugherty||United States||$1,000,000|
WSOP Player of the Year Winners