Chris “Jesus” Ferguson – 2000 WSOP Main Event Champion

Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson has an unmatched record in tournament poker over the past decade.

He can remember playing in the 4th grade, losing his last 35c when his trip Queens lost to a heart flush. He promised himself at that time that he would never go broke again and he hasn’t looked back since.

After attending UCLA for 18 years, he earned a PhD in computer science focusing on artificial intelligence. He had spent five years as an undergraduate and 13 years as a graduate student. While in college he honed his skill on IRC playing poker for play money in chat rooms.

In 1994 Chris made the decision to really apply himself and his knowledge of game theory to poker, concentrating only on tournament play. He started off playing in the small tournaments in and around LA. Not wanting to play over his bankroll, he didn’t enter the WSOP till 1995.

In 1996 he won a satellite into the main event and has played every year since. In the next three years, Chris would have 12 money finishes, making the final table 7 of those times, but never finishing higher than 4th place.

At the 2000 WSOP, Ferguson broke through for the biggest win of his career and claimed the $1,500,000 main event prize, defeating poker legend TJ Cloutier heads up at the final table.

Since he started playing the world series he has won more bracelets (5), made more final tables (25) and had more money finishes (42) than any other player. He has earned more than $4,000,000 playing in WSOP events alone.

In 2005 & 2006 he was runner up at the National Heads Up Championship, winning $250,000 each time and cemeting his reputation as one of toughest players on the circuit.

Christened “Jesus” because of his trademark long brown hair and beard, Ferguson approaches poker from a purely intellectual viewpoint. With his PhD from UCLA and parents who are both academic heavyweights, Chris is far from the shoot from the hip, instinctive “cowboy” poker player that his get-up tries to convey. And that’s the way he likes it, claiming that his whole poker image is a distraction, a ruse to throw other players off their game in the hope that they mis-read him and his play at the tables.

Unlike a lot of poker professionals, poker is only one of four main pursuits in Chris Ferguson’s life. In addition to poker, Chris also continues to foster his academic interest in artificial intelligence, as well as a passion for west coast swing dancing. He also was the man that put together the team to develop the Full Tilt Poker software and now focuses on ensuring that Full Tilt Poker’s players enjoy the best online poker software and poker games in the industry.

It’s reported that Jesus can throw a playing card quickly enough to slice through a carrot from 10 feet. We need to see some video evidence of this before we agree that he can. Is the carrot cooked or raw? Is the playing card plastic or paper? So many questions….

If I was going to back anyone to be able to do the carrot trick – it’s be this guy, as he’s already proven he can do just about everyting else.

Chris Ferguson’s winning WSOP hand

As 9c

TJ Cloutier was holding AQ and when he saw that Chris didnt look confident he moved all in. The flop came 2K4 with a King on the turn. If the board paired, the pot would have been split and Ferguson would have been saved, but if the 9 came the tournament would be all over. The 9 came and Ferguson was World Champion.

Chris Ferguson’s Poker Career Highlights

  • 2000 WSOP $10,000 Main Event winner – $1,500,000
  • 2000 WSOP $2,500 7 Card Stud winner – $151,000
  • 2001 WSOP $1,500 Omaha Hi/Lo winner – $164,735
  • 2001 California State Championship Pot Limit Holdem winner – $22,570
  • 2002 WSOP $1,500 Pot Limit Holdem – 2nd – $98,700
  • 2003 WSOP $2,000 Omaha Hi/Lo winner – $123,680
  • 2003 WSOP $2,000 Limit Holdem/7 Stud winner – $66,220
  • 2003 WSOP $3,000 Pot Limit Holdem – 2nd – $115,560
  • 2004 Winnin’ O’ the Green winner – $144,000
  • 2004 WSOP $5,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball – 2nd – $170,315
  • 2004 WSOP $10,000 Main Event – 26th – $120,000
  • 2005 National Heads Up Championship – 2nd – $250,000
  • 2005 Harrahs Rincon WSOP Circuit Event – winner – $655,220
  • 2005 WPT Five Star World Poker Classic – 8th – $132,095
  • 2005 WSOP $2,000 Pot Limit Omaha – 2nd – $210,460
  • 2005 Harrahs Las Vegas WSOP Circuit Event winner – $362,088
  • 2006 National Heads Up Championship – 2nd – $250,000
  • 2006 WSOP Tournament of Champions – 7th – $50,000

As of July 2020, Ferguson is ranked 100 on the all time money list.

Chris Ferguson Quotes

“Some people might think that there is one basic way to play poker, but there isn’t. There are many different styles of play. Two people may be dealt the same hand, play it quite differently, and yet both will be successful. In tournament poker, you have to have a long attention span, be very concentrated, be aware of what’s going on – and remain very focused.”

“If I could change anything in the world I’d teach people to be more tolerant & accepting, and less hypocritical.”

“You have to be two things that don’t often co-exist. You have to be tenacious; you can never give up and you have to fight over every chip. But at the same time, you have to be incredibly patient.”
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