A few issues ago I came up with a "brainstorm" of an idea. Simply put, I
thought it would be a lot more interesting and enlightening, if you the
poker playing public could ask the questions to the current World Series
of Poker champion, Chris Ferguson. First, let me thank all of you for
submitting your questions and thank Chris for answering all of them.
Obviously I couldn't use all the questions, so I tried to use the most
interesting and thoughtful questions and answers that would interest
the CardPlayer readers.
As a famous boxing judge would say, "Let's get it on."
Question: Did you get on any of the television shows after you won the
Chris: No TV appearances. I tried Leno, Letterman, and O'Brien, and
none of them wanted me.
Question: How much luck do you think luck has to do with winning
Chris: I think the most reasonable mathematical definition would result
in an estimate of 75% luck and 25% skill.
Question: Chris, were you sweating a little inside (scared) when T.J.
took the slight chip lead when you were heads up, or were you still as
confident that you could beat him?
Chris: People generally over estimate the advantage of having a large
stack. Going into the last day I had five times as many chips as my
closest competition. This may seem like a insurmountable lead, but the
way I saw it was that I had a little over half the chips, so I had a little
over half chance of winning it and if I didn't win, there was a real chance
of finishing third or lower. A player can become discouraged as a huge
lead in a tournament vanishes, and it's hard to slow down and adjust to
the smaller stack size. The night before the final day I spent a lot of
time mentally preparing myself for a very tough battle, so I would be
prepared for losing some big pots and maintaining focus. I wasn't
happy when T.J. took the lead but I was ready for it. It's hard to be
scared when the worst thing that can happen is to win about $900,000.
Question: Can you give the details of the hand you and Jeff Shulman
played?. Jeff had pocket sevens and you had pocket sixes.
Chris: The blinds were $15,000 and $30,000, with a total of $21,000 in
antes. Jeff had about $1,5000,000 and I had over $800,000.
I believe Jeff was on the button and I was in the big blind. Jeff made it
$200,000 to go which was twice the usual raise, which told me two
things. He had a hand and he didn't want any action. Being the
disagreeable person I am, I decided to move in with the two sixes and
put him to what I felt would be a tough decision. He deserves a huge
amount of credit for making a great call with his sevens.
Question: Is playing now easier, or harder? Easier, by people
respecting and fearing you, or harder by people wanting and risking
shots at you just to say, "I snapped the World Champ?"
Chris: I have always said that the best image to have at the poker
table is one of a World Champ, but so far I don't notice any difference in
how people play against me. Most of my opponents have known me for
a long time and are going to play the same against me.
Question: How did you get the nickname Jesus? Who gave it to you?
Chris: My nickname comes from my resemblance to pictorial depictions
of namesake. Different people have given me the nickname at different
times. Mike Sexton started it in the poker world. I've even had guys
yell "HEY JESUS" to me on the street. People I have never met before.
Question: How many final tables or outright wins in the "Big One" do
you expect in say the next ten years?
Chris: Making the final table is very difficult, and takes a lot of luck as
well as skill, and each year it's only going to get harder and harder as
the number of players and the talent level increases. Realistically, I
expect to make the final six players one more time during my life, if I
Question: Saw you at the TOC dressed in an expensive looking suit,
quite a change. Do you feel a need to make a better appearance seeing
that you are a poker celebrity?
Chris: Phil Hellmuth let me do some color commentary for the TOC
which was broadcast over the web, and so I decided to dress up for
Question: Will you start playing in the big side action games?
Chris: I play very little side action. I find it monotonous as compared to
the excitement of tournaments. I might play a little side action to
improve my game. I still have a lot to learn from top players..
Question: No lies. No politics. Tell me 5 guys you would give your
money to, to play in the big one?
Chris: T.J. Cloutier, Phil Helmuth, Johnny Chan, Eric Siedel, and if he
were alive today, Stu Unger. I think these are by far the most
successful tournament players in recent history.
Question: I always wanted to ask a movie star o someone who has
made a huge amount of money. What's it like to have all that cash?
Chris: I have never been a big spender, and haven't spent any of my
winnings yet. I don't see it making any change in my life. I was in an
electronic's store the other day and had this sudden realization that I
could afford anything in the store without worrying about it. That was a
nice feeling, but I didn't end up buying any big ticket items.
For what it's worth ...
You Asked and the Champ Answered
By Vince Burgio