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The controversial comeback of Chris Ferguson “Jesus”

It’s official! Chris Ferguson “Jesus” is the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year champion. Ferguson cashed 17 times at the WSOP in Las Vegas, added 6 more at the WSOP Europe in Rozvadov, to seize the title and receive a reward of one free entry to the 2018 WSOP Main Event. While this title is something everyone covets, his victory comes with an overwhelming amount of controversy.

Chris Ferguson - Photo WSOP
Chris Ferguson – Photo WSOP

Ferguson’s race to the WSOP POY title

Prior to cementing the prestigious title at the WSOPE, Ferguson’s impressive stats in Las Vegas already earned him the top rank in the 2017 WSOP POY leaderboard. And he accomplished this without having won a bracelet. Out of all his deep runs, he only had two final table appearances – a 4th place finish at the US$10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo Championship event and a runner-up berth at the US$10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship.

In Rozvadov, Ferguson tightened his grip on the title, and finally landed his first WSOP bracelet of the year at the E1,650 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo Eights or Better event. With that victory, the title was all but spoken for. Ferguson accrued a grand total of 1,178.53 points for the season while his closest challenger John Racener tallied 1,042.04 points.

Ferguson now joins the exclusive list of WSOP POY winners and will have a banner flying high at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to commemorate his victory.  

A controversial comeback

While Ferguson’s achievements clearly merited a glorious amount of praises, the poker world was not there to give it. Instead, the majority were up in arms. Had it been anyone else with these stats, had it been anyone else who claimed the title, controversy would have been non-existent and everyone would have been sending a barrage of congratulatory messages all over social media. However, it wasn’t just anyone, it was Ferguson, one of the founders of Full Tilt. The pro that was once idolized and called “Jesus” was still viewed by many as more of the anti-Christ.

If his return to the scene in 2016 – after a five-year hiatus – was a gut-wrenching reminder of the Full Tilt debacle back in 2011 that left many players dry, his POY victory caused an even bigger uproar. One of the most vocal was Daniel Negreanu who commented on a tweet by Phil Helmuth after Ferguson won a bracelet. This was followed by a thread of replies from players all over the community joining in to express their anger.

Yet despite the negative outpour, Ferguson continues to deny players neither the apology nor the explanation they seek.  The way it looks, it doesn’t seem as if it will be coming anytime soon either. Distraught players may just have to face the reality that since this is Ferguson’s second consecutive year back at the WSOP, he may have gained more drive to participate in other events around the world having just won the WSOP POY.

More: We Need To Talk About  Chris Ferguson with Doug Polk

Article by Triccia David


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