It took three tries, but Chris Ferguson has finally knocked the monkey off his back in capturing his first NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship title, adding another impressive accolade to his already stellar resume and half a million dollars to his bank account.
The road to the top was no smooth ride for the man they call “Jesus,” who knocked off some big names en route to the title. In the opening round, Chris ousted fellow Team FullTilt pro John Juanda to advance to day 2. Next up was a very tough opponent in Gavin Smith, who Chris beat with relative ease. Ferguson then set his sights on friend and fellow Team FullTilt pro Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, who he eventually beat after what turned out to be the lengthiest match of the round of 16.
In the quarterfinals, Jesus offered no mercy for Jonathan “FieryJustice” Little and advanced to the final four against yet another Team FullTilt colleague, Phil Ivey. A clutch call with pocket eights on a nine-high board sent Ferguson past Ivey and into the finals and the rest is history.
The win solidifies Ferguson’s status as the most dominant player in NBC Heads-Up history, putting his win-loss total at 16-3.
Congratulations to both Chris Ferguson and runner-up Andy Bloch for two very outstanding performances.
That concludes our coverage of the 2008 NBC Heads-Up Poker Championships from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, NV. Our next stop on the tournament trail takes us across the Atlantic Ocean to Warsaw, Poland for the EPT Polish Open beginning Tuesday, March 11th.
Chris Ferguson has just finished off a lengthy heads-up finale against fellow math wiz Andy Bloch, winning two of three finals matches en route to his first ever National Heads-Up Championship crown.
The hand saw Ferguson open the pot pre-flop with a 25,000 raise; Andy Bloch simply called. The flop came and Bloch passed the first action to Ferguson who led out with a 35,000 bet. Bloch then check-raised, making it a total of 105,000 to go; Ferguson just called.
The fell off on the turn and Bloch led out with a 150,000 bet which Ferguson countered by shoving all of his chips into the middle. Bloch tanked for quite some time, eventually opting to let a coin-flip determine his fate. "Heads I call, tails I fold," said Bloch, before tossing a quarter into the air and onto the table. The fateful quarter landed heads-up, fittingly, and true to his word, Andy made the call, revealing to the eager crowd. Ferguson then rolled over two black jacks and held a lead in the hand with one card to come.
After a mandatory pause for dramatic effect, the dealer placed the on the river - a winning card for Ferguson, who threw his arms, fists clenched, high into the air in victory.
The third and deciding match in the series is underway. The chip stacks of the two players are relatively even as Chris Ferguson holds a slight advantage in the early going. The crowd has grown and the tension has mounted as everybody looks on.
With a sizable advantage in chips, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson raised enough to put Andy Bloch all in before the flop. Andy called, and saw that his was way behind the of "Jesus." As the flop was spread, the showed in the window and the other two cards (ultimately irrelevant) were the jack and deuce of clubs.
The turn brought the giving Ferguson four ladies and that was all she wrote. Ferguson's fans marveled at Chris' quads, the culmination of a spectacular come-from-behind win that knotted up the match, 1-1.
Minutes after drawing near even in chips with chip-leader Andy Bloch, Chris Ferguson has doubled up again, crippling his heads-up opponent in this, the second match of the finals.
The hand saw Ferguson make it 100,000 to go from the button and Bloch made the call. Andy then open-shoved after the flop came and Ferguson made the call, tabling a pocket pair of jacks; Bloch revealed the for an up and down straight draw.
An intriguing fell on the turn, giving Bloch additional outs for trips or two pair, but the on the river cemented the hand for Ferguson, who now holds a dominating chip lead over his opponent.