Chris Ferguson Wins Sixth Career WSOP Bracelet – Virtually Locks Up POY Title
Chris Ferguson becoming the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year is considered a nightmare scenario by some players, but it is a scenario that’s now all but guaranteed to happen after Ferguson won his sixth career bracelet at the World Series of Poker Europe.
On Wednesday, “Jesus” won the €1,650 PL Omaha Hi-Lo Event for his sixth career bracelet and €39,289 ($45,677 USD). With the victory, Ferguson has all but locked up Player of the Year after taking a monster lead in the POY race.
Ferguson Nets Unexpected Win in PLO8 Event
Chris Ferguson has come close to winning his sixth bracelet multiple times over the last couple of years but he finally broke through for that victory on Wednesday night. WSOP-E Event #7 drew a small field of 92 players, creating a prize pool of just €132,411. The first place prize of €39,289 seemed more like the top prize for a side event than a WSOP bracelet event.
Heading into the final table on Wednesday, Ferguson was the middle of the pack but was facing a solid group of players that included pros Dario Alioto and Rex Clinkscales. Arthur Sojka was an overwhelming chip leaders with a 2:1 lead over the next closest opponent.
Ferguson began his climb by doubling through the chip leader with 6 players left and then later he doubled through Clinkscales to move into second overall. Shortly after doubling, he eliminated Clinkscales after flopping a set and turning a full house.
With four players left, Ferguson was third in chips but he then started to turn on the aggression and started running very well. After eliminating Arthur Sojka in 4th place, he played a monster pot with Eldert Soer for about 80% of the chips in play.
On a flop of 8s-6s-4d, Ferguson put Soer all-in holding Ac-10s-8h-3d for top pair and second nut low. Soer made the easy call with Ah-2h-4h-5c for middle pair, nut low and multiple straight draws. However, the turn fell the 2d to give Ferguson nut low. Soer was still ahead for high with 2 pair. The river then fell the 5h to give Ferguson a wheel and a monsters scoop.
Ferguson started heads-up play with Stanislav Wright with a 4.5:1 chip lead. In one of the first pots of heads-up play, Ferguson three-quartered Wright in a hand to take a 10:1 chip lead.
In the next hand, Wright moved all-in on a flop of 10h-8s-7c with Qh-4d-3d-2c and held nothing more than a low draw. Ferguson made the easy call holding Kh-Kd-7h-2h for an overpair and a backdoor flush draw. The turn fell the Jh, helping noone and the river fell the Jc to give Ferguson Kings-up and the title.
Ferguson wins his sixth career WSOP bracelet and $45,677 in prize money. This was his first bracelet win since 2003 and his third win in Omaha Hi-Lo.
Ferguson Takes Commanding Player of the Year Lead
To the dismay of many in the poker community, Chris Ferguson now has a commanding lead in the Player of the Year race. He has cashed in 6 of 9 WSOP Europe events, including his bracelet victory, to push his POY total to 1,178.53 point. He leads John Racener by 178.77 and Ryan Hughes by 184.18 points. With just three events remaining in the 2017 WSOP Europe, Racener or Hughes would have to outright win an event to have any chance of catching Ferguson.
Ferguson continues to be the topic of much controversy stemming from his connection to Full Tilt Poker. He was part of the ownership group that squandered $400 million in online poker player deposits worldwide. While there’s no evidence that Ferguson had a significant role in the management of funds, there is evidence that he continued to receive owner payments even after there were clear problems at the company.
Ferguson was among those indicted by the US Department of Justice on Black Friday and he later settled with the DOJ. Part of his settlement included forfeiting any money due to him by the company and any ownership in Full Tilt. He largely stayed out of the public eye until last year when he returned to the 2016 World Series of Poker. He played relatively well and made one final table.
This year, Ferguson has been a contender for Player of the Year since about the mid-point of the series. He made a pair of final tables, including a runner-up finish in the $10k Stud Championship. Ferguson cashed 17 times and took the POY lead into WSOP Europe. He received a seat into the WSOP Europe Main Event for finishing in first after WSOP Vegas.
Unless Racener or Hughes pull off an incredible comeback, Ferguson will take his first WSOP Player of the Year title and the online poker community will not be happy. He’s already received a ton of negative press up to this point with many believing he should not be allowed to play at the WSOP for his past perceived misdeeds.
Also, Ferguson refuses to talk about the matter, which further angers players and fans alike. It’s safe to say that Ferguson is #1 on the “Poker’s Most Wanted” listed and there are few that will genuinely celebrate his accomplishment. For many, the worst part will be the fact that after winning the POY title, he will have a new banner hung up in the Rio for all to see and be reminded of what happened 6 years ago.