Chris Ferguson is one of poker’s top villains on and away from the felt. But, to the dismay of many poker players, he leads the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year race, and he isn’t giving up the fight to win the prestigious award.
Ferguson, or “Jesus,” arrived in Rozvadov, Czech Republic to compete in the bi-annual World Series of Poker Europe, an 11-event series of tournaments that count towards the POY chase.
Jesus ended the summer in Las Vegas with the lead at 898.46 points, but has a few players on his heels. One of those pros, Ryan Hughes, is in 2nd place (876.35) and also made the trip to Europe with the goal of overtaking Ferguson.
Hughes gained a bit of ground this weekend with a cash (20th place for €3,184) in Event #1, €1,100 Monster Stack No-Limit Hold’em. Ferguson, on the other hand, busted without making any money. That’s good news for those who want to see him fall.
What Happened to Jesus?
Chris Ferguson was one of the most popular poker pros prior to April 2011. He was a Full Tilt Poker ambassador and executive and one of the top players in the world.
Back then, it was hard to find anyone in the poker community who didn’t respect him and his game. All that has changed since Black Friday.
Ferguson, along with fellow pro Howard Lederer, received a multi-million-dollar bonus at the time when his poker site was shut down by the U.S. government and didn’t have the reserve funds available to pay its customers.
After five years in hiding, he returned to the WSOP in 2016 but offered no apology to the poker community. He received heavy criticism from fans but refused to speak to the media. Again, in 2017, he showed up in Las Vegas and had an impressive performance, cashing in a record 17 events. But he still refused the media’s request for interviews and wouldn’t apologize for his actions post-Black Friday.
That has resulted in Ferguson going from one of the most revered poker pros to some genuinely hating him.
Other POY Contenders
If you’re in the “I hate Chris Ferguson” camp and, therefore, don’t want him to win POY, we have some good news. There are a few players, including Hughes, who have a shot at preventing him from winning the award.
Daniel Negreanu, currently in 8th place, said he won’t make the trip to Europe to compete. Ditto for John Monnette who is in 3rd place.
But John Racener, the runner-up to Jonathan Duhamel in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, is in 4th place with 853.16 points (45 behind Ferguson) and is grinding away at King’s Casino in Rozvadov.
Unfortunately, for the Jesus haters, he busted without a cash in the first two events of the series. But there are still nine more opportunities to take down Player of the Year.