Chris Ferguson Causes Controversy as WSOP Hall of Fame Nominees are Announced

June 24th, 2019 | by Jason Reynolds

The list of nominees for the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Hall of Fame have been announced and one name is already causing a stir.

Chris Ferguson Hall of Fame

Chris Ferguson is one of the more controversial names to make it on the 2019 WSOP Hall of Fame list of nominees. (Image: Full Tilt)

Although awards are often a source of contention, this year’s potential Hall of Famers have sparked more of a reaction than usual.

Following a public vote and a vetting process by the WSOP, Chris Ferguson is among the 10 names nominated for this year’s Hall of Fame.

2019 WSOP Hall of Fame Nominees

Chris Bjorin

David Chiu

Eli Elezra

Antonio Esfandiari

Chris Ferguson

Ted Forrest

Mike Matusow

Chris Moneymaker

David Oppenheim

Huck Seed

Although his place alongside the game’s greats is far from assured, some players aren’t happy.

Great Player with Questionable Past

While Ferguson’s achievements are undeniable, certain parts of the community still take offence to his presence at the table due to his involvement with Full Tilt.

During the site’s peak, Ferguson was one of the more significant members of the team. Although he maintains he wasn’t responsible for decisions that ultimately led to its downfall, his name was still caught up in the mix.

In 2018, he offered the community an apology (see video above). The public show of remorse proceeded his return to the WSOP in 2017 where he won the Player of the Year title.

His most vocal critics weren’t impressed, but that didn’t stop Ferguson from cashing in 17 events last summer. A further six cashes at the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) followed, allowing the man nicknamed Jesus to finish just outside the top ten in the 2018 Player of the Year race.

Outcry Over at WSOP List

Even with an impressive tournament résumé, his inclusion has still provoked a negative reaction. In a forum thread started by Allen Kessler, one user likened Ferguson to one of baseball’s most controversial figures, Barry Bonds.

“Can’t argue with Ferguson’s tournament results. But it feels even worse than MLB HOF voting for Barry Bonds,” wrote namisgr11.

For the WSOP, the reaction to Ferguson will only fuel interest in this year’s voting. The American’s $9 million+ in tournament earnings is impressive but many of the other nominees are just as accomplished.

As it stands, Antonio Esfandiari would be the betting favorite based on tournament wins alone. The Magician has over $18 million in live earnings, as well as WSOP and World Poker Tour (WPT) titles.

Also up there with the frontrunners is Chris Moneymaker. Although he hasn’t won as much as his rivals, his 2003 WSOP Main Event helped start the poker boom.

Based on that alone, Moneymaker could edge out Ferguson. Whatever the outcome of this year’s vote, the Hall of Fame continues to generate interest and divide the community.


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