Born into a family of intellectuals, Chris Ferguson was destined to become one of the best known players of the professional poker circuit. His father, Thomas Ferguson, has a doctoral degree in mathematics and teaches game probability at UCLA. His mother has a doctor’s degree in mathematics too.
Surrounded by people of this caliber, it is no wonder Chris Ferguson grew up to be hugely successful at poker, advocating a scientific style of play deeply rooted in mathematics and theoretical probability. He says the tells his opponents give out through their play and their betting patterns are the most important for him. Exploiting these tells gives him the possibility the get under his opponents’ skins and to force them to play situations they’re uncomfortable with.
Because he built his opponent-reading skills around these betting patterns, he is – unlike many other professionals – an excellent online poker player too. In online poker, just about the only way to pick up tells from one’s opponents is through the betting patterns. Those who base their live play on other sorts of tells, will find it extremely difficult to beat online opponents who hide behind a cheeky avatar and never display any sort of emotion at all.
He began playing online poker when all the fancy user interfaces we take for granted today, were merely a distant possibility. He played via IRC, and he played for real money all right, so one might say by the time online poker rooms – as we know them today – came along, he was already an experienced online player.
Another proof to his online prowess came when he undertook a challenge at Full Tilt Poker (the poker room which he helped launch, back in 2004 and which he endorses today). The challenge was meant to prove that a skilled player could amass a $10,000 bankroll having started off zero at Full Tilt, in a reasonably short amount of time. Not only did he successfully complete the challenge, the story goes that he wowed to continue until he reached $1 million.
Besides his uncanny ability to dominate his opponents, and his legendary wins, his eccentric appearance has also helped propel him to world-fame. He usually looks like a character out of a western movie, complete with the cowboy hat and all, sporting long hair and a beard. This look has also earned him the nickname "Jesus”.
Born in Los Angeles in 1963, Christopher Philip Ferguson’s first encounter with the game of poker came at a very early age. He was merely 10 when he began playing. He began taking the game seriously in 1994, by playing in several high profile tournaments, and first showed up at the WSOP in 1995. His first WSOP bracelet came in 2000, when he won the $2,500 7-Card Stud Event for $151k. That year however, would be etched into poker history for a different reason: Chris Ferguson took down the $10k WSOP NL Holdem Main Event, also known as the "Big Dance” by beating T.J Cloutier heads-up.
His A,9 went up against Cloutier’s A,Q, on a flop of K,2,4 and eventually won the Championship on account of a 9 that dropped on the river (there had been a second K on the turn). That victory brought him another gold bracelet and $1.5 million in prize-money.
He would earn three more WSOP bracelets in the years to follow. One in the 2001 $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo event, and two more in 2003: one in the $2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo event and one in the $2,000 Limit Holdem/7-Card Stud mixed event.
Heads-up poker is Chris’ favorite kind of game. Proof to that are the excellent results he achieved in the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, where he finished second twice (once in 2005 to Phil Hellmuth and once in 2006 to Ted Forrest), and won the title in 2008 (by beating Andy Bloch).
All-in all he has a record of 16 wins and 3 losses to show in the above named heads-up poker event.
His lifetime achievements feature 1 WSOP Main Event Championship, 5 WSOP bracelets, and an astonishing number of 51 money finishes.
He also boasts a WPT final table appearance as well as 7 money finishes.
Chris Ferguson can be found playing online at Full Tilt, where he has his personal table. Poker means much more than an opportunity to make money for this professional: it is a true passion for him. When he is not playing in live tournaments or online, he usually spends his time analyzing hands and various in-game situations.