Posts Tagged ‘Ferguson’

Chris Ferguson Seizes Control of WSOP Player of the Year Race

 Chris Ferguson Seizes Control of WSOP Player of the Year Race

Continuing what has been arguably his most successful tournament poker span and the most controversial period of his career at the same time, Chris Ferguson has all but seized control of the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year race.

Ferguson won Event #7, the €1500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo Eights or Better, defeating 92 players and taking away a €39,289 payday along the way. Other than being his sixth bracelet win, the more important thing for Ferguson with the win is the points that he added to his total. For the entirety of the 2017 WSOP (counting the summer Las Vegas version), Ferguson has been able to rack up 216 points in Event #7 and bring his total to 1178.53 points.

With only four events remaining on the WSOP schedule, it leaves little time for those trailing him to catch up.

Having arguably the best tournament poker year of his career, John Racener has been the hound in pursuit of the hare from the start of the WSOP. He has cashed three times at the WSOP Europe, including just missing the final table in Event #7. Those points have enabled him to hold onto second place – but not creep any closer to the top of the ladder – with his 999.76 points.

Pushing Racener for the second-place slot on the POY list has been Ryan Hughes. He has also cashed three times at the WSOP-E and, for a quick moment after Event #1, had passed Racener for the second-place slot in the pack to catch Ferguson. He has since fallen back behind Racener, but his 994.35 points have him in the mix should he make a deep run in any of the remaining tournaments.

After Hughes, one of the two players who was in the Top Ten at the start of the WSOP-E that did NOT go to the Czech Republic can be found. John Monnette, despite being in the Top Five after the schedule of events in Las Vegas this summer, decided against heading to Rozvadov to take part in the WSOP-E. Thus, his total of 865.21 will stay the same and he’ll probably stay in the Top Ten to the end of the European stop.

After Monnette, the players on the list have a “slim and none” chance and slim is leaving the building. Despite being on the grounds at the King’s Casino and picking up a couple of cashes, Foxen hasn’t garnered any more points in the race for the Player of the Year. As a result, Foxen and his 786.86 points are probably going to have to be sated by his current fifth place status. The remainder of the Top Ten also will have to be happy to be among the top players in the 2017 WSOP, including Mike Leah (sixth, 770.74 points), Raymond Henson (seventh, 768.49), Ben Yu (eighth, 766.49), Daniel Negreanu (ninth, 717.76) and Dario Sammartino (tenth, 710.96).

If someone is going to catch Ferguson for the POY, they’re going to have to go on a multi-tournament run. Because the fields have been smaller at the WSOP-E and the buy-ins aren’t as large, racking up any serious points is highly difficult. These are the four events left on the schedule:

Event #8 – €1000 “Little One for One Drop” No Limit Hold’em
Event #9 – €25,000 No Limit Hold’em
Event #10 – €111,111 High Roller for One Drop
Event #11 – €10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event

The €25,000 High Roller is nearing its conclusion, which basically means that those players left are not playing in the “Little One.” The lineup for the big One Drop tournament might see someone from the €25K take a shot, but it is expected that Ferguson will also participate in that event. With only the Main Event left, there just aren’t enough opportunities for players to mount an offensive against Ferguson.

Although the poker world might not like it, Ferguson has amassed quite a record for the 2017 WSOP. After cashing 17 times in Las Vegas, Ferguson has added another six in the seven completed events in Rozvadov, including his bracelet win. Unless someone can dig up a swing-dancing Anna Chapman to poison Ferguson over the next week, he’ll be the one who walks away with the accolades as the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year.

The post Chris Ferguson Seizes Control of WSOP Player of the Year Race appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Editorial: Should Chris Ferguson Be Able to Accept WSOP POY Award?

 Editorial: Should Chris Ferguson Be Able to Accept WSOP POY Award?

With the close of the Las Vegas leg of the World Series of Poker last week, the WSOP Player of the Year race became a flashpoint for the poker community. While it has created a great deal of controversy over its scoring, the person who emerged on top after all the events were finished in Sin City – former World Champion and Full Tilt pariah Chris Ferguson – seemed to incite another round of outrage. That outrage was simple – should Ferguson, for his sins in the poker community, be able to accept the POY award, let alone play in the WSOP?

Let’s start with the second statement in that question first. As far as playing in a publicly available event, series or even simply a cash game, Ferguson has the right to participate.  Short of convictions for offenses such as murder, a person should be allowed to take part in the proceedings in Las Vegas. Hell, even after they might have served their punishment, those who have committed murder might be more accepted than someone who has cheated on the tables, had connections with organized crime or other egregious actions that have landed people in the “Black Book.” Besides, do we really want casinos to oxymoronically be the “morality police?”

Since we’ve established the right to play in the games, then it might be natural to assume that someone should be eligible for the rewards that come with excellent performance. In the case of the WSOP POY, the person leading the standings at the close of the Las Vegas leg would receive a €10,000 buy-in to the WSOP Europe Main Event (roughly a $ 11,500 prize, with current exchange rates). After the points were calculated from the 71 tournaments that comprised this year’s schedule, Ferguson had emerged as the points leader (898.46), eking out the top slot over Ryan Hughes (876.35) and John Monnette (865.21).

With Ferguson set to receive the rewards for his play this summer (and let’s put it this way – any system where a two-time bracelet winner over the span of the WSOP such as David Bach only gets enough points to be in 70th PLACE needs to be revamped), the outrage from the poker community was adamant. Because of Ferguson’s involvement in the Full Tilt Poker scandal – in which the company did not segregate player funds from business funds (causing the eventual collapse of the company) AND the “Black Friday” actions of fraudulently accepting gaming transactions and billing them as other things such as “office supplies” or “golf equipment” – arguably most people believe that Ferguson should not receive the award or the prizes involved with it. Much of that comes from how Ferguson conducted himself following the actions of “Black Friday.”

When the indictments of April 2011 came down, much of the online poker world scurried to figure out what to do (the one exception? PokerStars, but that’s a discussion for another time). Not only was Full Tilt Poker attempting to save its business, the CEREUS Network rooms of and Absolute Poker were under siege, too. When the Department of Justice allowed the rooms to open to remit bankrolls to players, only PokerStars stepped up; the others mentioned could not give the players money back because…they didn’t have it.

Issues would get worse for Full Tilt, with Ferguson in a position of knowledge about the company, as 2011 wore on. September 2011 would bring the revocation of the site’s license by gaming authorities and, as a result, the company went under. But it was Ferguson’s lack of concern regarding the shutdown and eventual closure – he didn’t say a word, he just slinked away with millions in his pockets – that riled the senses of those who had been aggrieved. His return last year to the WSOP (alongside Howard Lederer) only rubbed salt in the wounds.

This is the problem for many – Ferguson (whom I once held in quite high esteem) and all the rest HAD to know what they were doing was wrong. If they weren’t knowledgeable about the workings of their company – the one they all joined in to create – then that is mismanagement of the highest order and that includes fraud. That they got away with paying a bit of money (OK, a LOT of money in some cases) and weren’t adequately punished for their transgressions doesn’t sit well with many.

There are people that literally lost their lives over the decisions of these people in particular and Full Tilt Poker as a whole. Some lost tens of thousands of dollars, even after “everyone” was “made whole.” And even for the people who were paid…we lost our belief in the people that created this company “for the players.” We lost our belief in that they were honorable. And we lost our belief in the honor of the game of poker, that you do what’s right, no matter what. Quick question…where do you think the Full Tilt Poker remittance would be if it hadn’t been for PokerStars?

Why are people like Mike Matusow, recent Poker Hall of Fame inductee Phil Ivey, and others who were an alleged part of “Team Full Tilt” given a pass? That’s an outstanding question. But the ones that we know had knowledge of what occurred – Ray Bitar, Lederer, Ferguson, perhaps some others – still have never adequately explained why they did it nor (and especially in Ferguson’s case) offered their mea culpas to a satisfactory point. And that is why people still have a problem with them at the WSOP or any other tournament location and why people are having issues with Ferguson taking anything regarding the POY.

The poker world may be getting itself in a snit over nothing – it isn’t known whether Ferguson has accepted the seat and will travel to King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, come October anyway to participate in the WSOP Europe Main Event. He hasn’t participated in a tournament outside of the WSOP since “Black Friday,” meaning that he does see that he is persona non-grata for the most part in the poker world. The very fact that he might not go to the WSOP Europe is enough that, over the span of those 11 events, another person would pass Ferguson for the championship and make all this hand wringing for naught.

Poker News Daily

Oh God, Chris Ferguson is in Contention for 2017 WSOP POY

 Oh God, Chris Ferguson is in Contention for 2017 WSOP POY

I know everybody is looking forward to the start of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event this weekend and might not really be focused on the present. I know lots of people in the United States are a bit hungover from the Independence Day revelry yesterday or simply exhausted from battling traffic and crowds and spending four hours to watch two minutes worth of fireworks. But it’s time to pay attention. Chris Ferguson is second in the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year rankings.

I implore all of you playing in WSOP events the rest of this summer and later this fall at WSOP Europe in Rozvadov, Czech Republic: please don’t let Chris Ferguson win the Player of the Year award. I will admit, it is not an easy thing to target someone at a poker table and in virtually any other circumstance, I wouldn’t really even condone such behavior. You don’t want to play sub-optimally just to try to knock Ferguson out, but at the same time, you need to do what you can to prevent him from earning more POY points.

Like any poker fan, I used to like Chris Ferguson. He has clearly been a great poker player, he was an intriguing, quietly charismatic personality, could fuck up a banana with a playing card, and he was quite gracious to me personally when I interviewed him at the WSOP back in 2005. But as we all know, he was a central figure in the disappearance of millions of dollars in Full Tilt Poker player funds and, unlike his co-scum, Howard Lederer, he has never really apologized or fessed up to any sort of wrongdoing.

I have gone on record to say that he shouldn’t be banned from the WSOP, but that doesn’t mean we should be happy he is there, let alone doing well.

Right now, he is second in the WSOP POY standings with 693.42 points, trailing only John Racener and his 729.92 points. There is plenty of opportunity remaining for Ferguson to climb to the top spot. What’s kind of bullshit, too, and shines a light on what may be a weakness of the scoring system, is that Ferguson hasn’t even performed all THAT amazingly at the WSOP. He has simply grinded out loads of tournaments, making lots of small cashes. Certainly, consistently cashing at the WSOP is an accomplishment of which to be proud, but does it deserve Player of the Year?

So far, Ferguson has cashed 14 times at the 2017 WSOP. That’s a lot of times cracking the money bubble, to be sure. Only three of those cashes, though, have gone for more than four-figures. Now, while I would LOVE to make a four-figure cash in a poker tournament (I did once, I swear!), it’s not that significant of an accomplishment in a major tourney.

Ferguson’s best run this summer was in the $ 10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship, where he finished 4th for $ 150,929. That’s great! Other than that, though, he has only one other event where he even finished in the top-40. To be fair, Racener hasn’t performed all that much better, with the same number of cashes and lots of four-figure winnings, but at least he has four top-21 finishes, including one bracelet.

Chris Ferguson is close to winning the World Series of Poker Player of the Year. Do we really want this for our children? Is how we’re going to Make America Great Again?

Poker News Daily

Poker Pro Confronts Chris Ferguson During Play at WSOP

 Poker Pro Confronts Chris Ferguson During Play at WSOP

If you play poker, you will inevitably play against some unsavory characters. I suppose in everything we do in life, we have dealings with people we love and people we would rather see trip on the sidewalk and chip a tooth. But poker seems to bring out the creeps sometimes.

Enter Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer.

As we all know by now, the once high-flying poker celebrities were former board members and founders of Full Tilt Poker and were both responsible for the loss of millions of dollars in player funds on Black Friday. The two, amongst others, were hit with civil suits by the U.S. Department of Justice and both settled with the government in order to avoid jail time.

Wisely, they largely stayed out of the spotlight since 2011, as they certainly would not have been welcome back into the poker community. Lederer sat down for an interview with PokerNews a few years ago, but that was a farce. But now, five years later, they both decided it was time to step out of the shadows and once again play at the World Series of Poker.

Lederer issued a public apology for his role in the Black Friday mess shortly before the WSOP and while I’m sure nobody is thrilled to see him, we haven’t heard too much about him getting verbally abused at the Rio, likely because he at least finally made some sort of effort to say he was sorry. Ferguson, on the other hand, has never addressed the issue. He just showed up this year like nothing happened. And, as expected, Ferguson has had to endure his share of taunts and criticisms (and deservedly so).

Once such incident took place earlier this month during Day 1C of the WSOP Crazy 8’s tournament. Andrew Brokos, a professional poker player and blogger who had $ 60,000 in Full Tilt funds held up for more than two years, was taking another shot at the event after busting out of an earlier flight and when Ferguson sat down at his table.

“When he arrived at the table, it was a shock,” Brokos wrote on his website. “I couldn’t believe it was happening. I had no idea what to do. No real good could come from confronting him: what did I think, that he was going to cut me a check on the spot? That he was going to break down in tears and confess to everything? I knew that it would only upset me and distract me from the game. Besides, was I just going to attack him out of nowhere? How do you start that conversation?”

Brokos said he felt like he needed to say something, as he had been vocal in the past about how Full Tilt execs had screwed their players, but he sat silent, trembling with anger and nervousness. He had trouble paying attention to the game.

He finally broke his silence, though, when another player was eliminated and shook Ferguson’s hand, saying, “It’s an honor. Glad to have you back.”

We’ll let Brokos take it from here:

That was the final straw, but it was also the icebreaker I needed. “I don’t agree with that, for what it’s worth,” I declared to the table at large. “Anyone else here have money on Full Tilt Poker?”

No one responded. I didn’t know whether the answer was no, or whether I was just speaking so agitatedly that they couldn’t understand me. I locked eyes with the guy who looked most like a former online player. “Did you have money on Full Tilt?”

He removed his headphones. I asked him again. “No,” he told me. I could feel my face reddening. Ferguson still hadn’t said anything, but I certainly had his attention.

“I had $ 60,000 locked up for over two years,” I said.

“And did you get it back?” Ferguson asked me, as though that would make everything OK.

“That was $ 60,000 I couldn’t access for two years. No interest.”

“Sorry about that. But you got it back?”

Finally, someone else chimed in. “I had over $ 9000 in bonuses that I never received,” he said.

“But you got the balance back?” Chris asked.

“No,” I interrupted. “You asked whether we got paid back. The answer is, we got some of what we were owed.”

We just stared at each other for a few seconds after that. There was nothing more to say. I sat back down. My hands were still shaking, and my face was burning, but it was a relief to say something to him.

I’m relieved that I didn’t say anything nasty, and I truly don’t wish him harm or misfortune. But for him just to return to the poker world like nothing happened feels like a denial of all of the harm that Full Tilt did to so many individuals and to our community in general. When I saw him literally being welcomed back, I felt compelled to offer a counterweight to that sentiment.

At least Brokos got a slight bit of revenge, as he was the one to knock Chris Ferguson from the tournament. Ferguson wished him luck, Brokos nodded, and that was that.

Poker News Daily

Chris Ferguson Returns to Play at 2016 WSOP

 Chris Ferguson Returns to Play at 2016 WSOP

After more than five years out of the tournament poker spotlight, one of the men involved in the demise of Full Tilt Poker and the “Black Friday” scandal returned to the World Series of Poker stage on Saturday.

Former World Champion Chris Ferguson, the man formerly known as ‘Jesus,’ entered the $ 10,000 Seven Card Stud World Championship on Saturday afternoon, marking the first time that either he or one of his alleged cohorts, Howard Lederer or Ray Bitar, have set foot in the Rio since “Black Friday” for the WSOP (meaning Ferguson hasn’t been at the event since 2010). The tournament was a natural for Ferguson to make his return at, with his first WSOP bracelet being won in 2000 in a Seven Card Stud event, but there were still titters as the lanky frame of the former World Champion ambled through the Rio’s tournament rooms.

About as quietly as possible, Ferguson entered the tournament prior to the closing of late registration and it appears that there is plenty of rust on the tournament game. His stack immediately plummeted after mixing it up with Stuart Rutter, where Ferguson admitted he misplayed his hand, but he was able to quintuple up a few hands later with only a pair of eights against Max Pescatori and Owais Ahmed, among others. That 10K in chips quickly disappeared and, slightly after midnight (roughly 90 minutes after entering), Ferguson strode towards the exits, eliminated from the tournament.

Ferguson wasn’t particularly talkative while he was “inside the ropes” at the WSOP, which has been his nature since the “Black Friday” incidences.’s Marty Derbyshire attempted to draw some comments from what WAS one of the more gregarious individuals in poker, but could only elicit a “I’m just here to play poker” comment from Ferguson. There were no comments about why he was away for so long, no comments as to why he chose the $ 10K Seven Card Stud event for a return nor any mea culpas for his part in the “Black Friday” scandal.

Derbyshire was able to draw comments from poker professional (and former Full Tilt stablemate) Layne Flack on Ferguson’s return, which seemed to surprise him just as much as everyone else. “People…don’t know the whole story,” Flack stated. “(Chris Ferguson) has done a lot of great things for poker. He’s a standup guy and all the decisions made by Full Tilt Poker don’t fall on him.”

There are plenty in the poker community who would perhaps like to discuss that issue with Flack and Ferguson. The indictments of “Black Friday,” in which eleven men representing the then-three biggest online poker operations in the industry – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and CEREUS ( and Absolute Poker) – were indicted for a litany of fraud and gambling charges. When the rooms were allowed to reopen in the United States to be able to pay back players, PokerStars quickly moved to settle all accounts.

The story was different with Full Tilt Poker, however (and the same would apply to the CEREUS Network rooms). The shutdown of players from the United States crippled the operation and, after investigation from several regulatory outlets, it was found that the owners of Full Tilt – players headed by Ferguson, Lederer and others – were taking frequent payments and loans from the business’ coffers. Basically, when it came time to pay the players in the U. S. with the money they thought was safe, the owners – Ferguson, Lederer and others – had left the safe empty. Full Tilt Poker would close its doors six months after the “Black Friday” indictments and its major players would go to court to negotiate settlements with the government; Ferguson’s settlement is reportedly to have cost him in the neighborhood of $ 40 million, while admitting no wrongdoing.

It was one of the big questions of the 2016 WSOP, but Ferguson wasn’t the player that people thought would make his return. Lederer, fresh off issuing a statement through Daniel Negreanu that he was responsible for the collapse of Full Tilt, was thought to be the player most likely to return to the WSOP felt. While Lederer may still make that foray, Ferguson might have cut the tension first by stepping up himself.

Poker News Daily