10 Greatest Poker Players of the 2000s | Chris Ferguson

Chris Ferguson, nicknamed "Jesus" due to his unmistakable beard and long hair, is notorious in the poker world. Highly regarded and widely liked prior to 2011, the former WSOP Main Event champion's involvement in the Full Tilt Poker scandal tarnished his reputation, perhaps irreparably. Let's dig a little deeper into this, as well as Ferguson's backstory.

Chris Ferguson - Résumé

World Series of Poker




$2,500 Seven-Card Stud


$10,000 No Limit Texas Hold 'em World Championship


$1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight or Better


$2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight or Better


$2,000 1/2 Limit Hold'em – 1/2 Seven Card Stud

World Series of Poker Europe




€1,650 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better

Chris Ferguson Factfile

  • Chris Ferguson was the first ever player to win three WSOP Circuit rings
  • Ferguson has a PhD in Computer Science from UCLA
  • Can famously throw playing cards hard enough to slice fruit and vegetables!

An Incredible WSOP Run

Chris Ferguson hails from Los Angeles, California and was born on April 11th 1963. Both of his parents hold degrees in mathematics, while his father is a lecturer at UCLA, specialising in game theory and probability. With a PhD of his own in Computer Science, there should be no surprise that Ferguson developed an analytical mind, which he turned to playing poker aged just 10.

Nicknamed "Jesus", due to his trademark look, Ferguson entered his first World Series of Poker event in 1995 at the end of 32, making the final table of a $1,500 Razz event. This sparked a run that saw Ferguson cash at least once in every WSOP up to 2010, the year before Black Friday forced him into hiding.

"Jesus" has six WSOP bracelets to his name, including the 2000 Main Event. Not to mention a pair of WPT final tables and around $9.5 million in live tournament earnings. Chris Ferguson is undoubtedly an exceptional tournament poker player, who crushed especially hard during the 2000s.

Ferguson and Full Tilt Poker

In 2004, Chris Ferguson was at the height of his fame, and part of a group of elite poker players involved with a brand new poker site, known as Full Tilt Poker. Ferguson was a company director along with Howard Lederer, while the likes of Phil Ivey, Jen Harman and Mike Matusow were also prominent promoters of Full Tilt. All was well, until 2011, when Black Friday changed everything.

In April 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice opted to close Full Tilt down. Details emerged that the company directors had been paid millions of dollars in salary and bonuses, leaving no money to refund players. All player funds should have been ring fenced, leading to accusations of fraud, with the DOJ even calling Full Tilt a "Ponzi Scheme". Due to Ferguson's role as a director, many in the poker world were understandably furious with him.

The man known as "Jesus" quite possibly behaved in a less than saintly manner. But we simply do not know Ferguson's role in the entire Full Tilt Poker scandal, since he has never officially apologised or explained his role in the events. After a period of lying low, Chris Ferguson re-emerged in 2016 to play in WSOP events, both in Vegas and Europe.

Chris Ferguson - Bottom Line

Regardless of his involvement with Full Tilt Poker, Chris Ferguson is undoubtedly an extraordinary poker talent. With a sharp mind and distinctive look, Ferguson was actually widely liked in the poker world prior, to the events of Black Friday. But a decade on, the scandal lingers like a bad smell, and even threatens to deny him entry into the Poker Hall of Fame.


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