The uneasy backdrop to Chris Ferguson’s World Series of Poker resurgence

  • Chris Ferguson falls just short of winning the WSOP 2017 Player of the Year title
  • Majority of poker community relieved, as they don’t believe the former Full Tilt Poker board member has owned up to his mistakes

Chris “Jesus” Ferguson is one of the most controversial figures in the poker community.

Chris Ferguson, nicknamed 'Jesus' on account of having long hair and a beard.
Chris Ferguson, nicknamed ‘Jesus’ on account of having long hair and a beard.

Once a player that many looked up to, Ferguson was then cast out after the Full Tilt debacle. Due to these unfortunate developments, Ferguson was out of the game for a while, probably preferring to keep a low profile.

However, last year, “Jesus” resurrected, appearing at the World Series of Poker, causing mostly negative reactions, save for a few of his fellow players who seemed more forgiving than the most.

And, while his debut was semi-successful, Ferguson is back even stronger this year, and he was in a serious contention for the Player of the Year title. It goes without saying that this didn’t create a lot of positive feedback from the community.

On a hot streak

Ferguson has had some strong finishes this year, even though these didn’t earn him a fortune. His deep runs were mostly in the smaller field tournaments, with his first six-figure cash in 2017 coming in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Championship. “Jesus” finished in fourth place in this tournament, earning $151,000 for his efforts.

He didn’t have any other impressive finishes in terms of money won, but he did go deep in quite a few other tournaments, giving him a real shot at the prestigious WSOP player of the year title. Some people have described the possibility of this happening as the “ultimate troll,” but Ferguson was doing his thing, not paying attention to the comments and staying silent throughout the Series.

Close, but no cigar

A few days ago, with the WSOP coming to an end, Ferguson came into a position to lock the Player of the Year title.

He found himself heads up for the title in the $10k Seven Card Stud Championship. Winning would secure him enough points to take the first spot, with just the Main Event remaining, which is unlikely to change anything due to a huge number of players making it hard for other contenders to make a comeback.

“Jesus” was up against Mike Wattel, with pretty much everyone following the events rooting against him. He came into the final clash as a big favorite, with a 9-to-1 chip lead. The two battled it out for a while, but things simply wouldn’t go Ferguson’s way when it mattered the most and Wattel prevailed, denying the former Main Event winner the Player of the Year title and his first bracelet since 2003.

Poker gods delivering justice?

A big majority of players and poker fans breathed a sigh of relief after Ferguson was finally defeated. For many, the former FTP board member winning the prestigious title would be a slap in the face.

The extent to which Ferguson was complicit in the whole saga, is not really known.

But there have been quite a few of those advocating that Ferguson shouldn’t even be allowed to play in the WSOP events because of his past actions, but this didn’t go over well with the organizers.

As for “Jesus,” he is probably disappointed about the missed opportunity, just like any other player would be, but he wasn’t keen on giving any interviews. Since his return to the poker scene, he’s been keeping mostly to himself, but it is clear he feels like now that all Full Tilt players have been paid back, he has no reason to stay “underground.”

And, while there are many who disagree, there are no any real obstacles to him playing in the WSOP tournaments, so it all pretty much stops with the displeasure voiced on various social media channels like Twitter and Facebook.

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