Chris Ferguson – Poker Player Profile
Chris “Jesus” Ferguson is instantly recognizable, with his long hair and beard, mirrored sunglasses and cowboy hat. The very image of the rugged cowboy, you think. Take away the hat and glasses and you’ll see what Chris Ferguson tried to hide with them: the image of the career academic with a PhD in Computer Science and a deep understanding of mathematics.
Chris Ferguson was born in Los Angeles to parents with PhDs in Mathematics. The apple did not fall far from the tree, as Ferguson quickly showed by pursuing his studies in UCLA. After earning his degree he took a long time to finish a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, which tied in quite nicely with his poker interest. One of the first online champions long before the online poker boom, Ferguson developed a highly successful mathematical approach to the game with the help of the internet and software simulations of his own design.
Although he started playing poker as a child (he remembers playing for money as early as fourth grade,) Chris Ferguson did not go into poker seriously until the early 90s. His success encouraged him to aim higher, and in 1994 he entered his first WSOP. After a respectable number of final tables and money finishes, he broke through with a bang in 2000, beating legendary T.J. Cloutier for the WSOP Main Event Championship. He has come a long way since those days: the proud owner of 5 bracelets, Ferguson has earned over $7,100,000 in poker tournament prizes, and is the only player who has won three World Series of Poker circuit events.
In 2004, Chris Ferguson and a team of other poker pros (including Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey and Jennifer Harman) designed and launched Full Tilt Poker, one of the most popular online sites. Ferguson set himself the challenge of amassing $10,000 on Full Tilt without depositing any money – he started playing freerolls and using the prize money to buy into ever-larger tourneys, and he reached his goal after more than a year.
A colorful character, Chris Ferguson refuses to be classified as “only” a poker player: he is a dedicated ballroom dancer as well as a performer of astonishing card tricks, and he supplements his considerable poker earnings by stock trading. He also looks forward to one day being a UCLA professor like his father, but in the meantime he will continue to blaze through the poker world.