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Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson -- What's My Line?

Ferguson Talks About a Hand That Propelled Him to the Final Table


Chris FergusonChris “Jesus” Ferguson has had success at the World Series of Poker ever since he began playing more than a decade ago. Yet, due to a self-imposed boycott that lasted three years, the five-time bracelet winner had never competed on the World Poker Tour’s grandest stage.

Though he came into the day with the chip lead, a few coolers and a bad beat or two saw his stack going in the wrong direction, putting him in jeopardy of ever getting to sit under the bright lights of the WPT stage in an open event.

Then, sitting on the final table bubble, a hand went down that saw Ferguson’s stack double and put him one step closer to a WPT title. Ferguson spoke to Card Player to talk about the hand that some on-lookers assumed was a just simple case of floating gone right.

Event - Blinds/Antes L.A. Poker Classic Main Event 12,000-24,000 with a 4,000 ante
Player Binh Nguyen Chris Ferguson
Chip Count 1,913,000 876,000
Hand ? K 9

The Hand

Binh NguyenChris Ferguson completed from the small blind for 24,000 and Binh Nguyen checked his option from the big blind. The flop came Q 5 2 and Ferguson checked. Nguyen bet 35,000 and Ferguson made the call.

The turn was the 6 and Ferguson checked once again. Nguyen bet 90,000 and Ferguson called. The river was the Q and Ferguson checked. Nguyen bet 150,000 and Ferguson moved all in for 715,000.

After about a minute in the tank, Nguyen made the call and saw the bad news when Ferguson revealed K 9 for the runner-runner flush.

After the hand, Ferguson was back up to 1,760,000 and Nguyen took a hit down to 1,045,000.

The Interview

Julio Rodriguez:
First of all, how did the structure of the tournament affect your decision making?

Chris Ferguson: I’ve always been patient. Patience is a virtue, I guess. This structure was great for that style of play. You’re never forced to make a move and if you go broke it’s because you are going out of your way to get your chips in there. If you can avoid the temptation of playing too many hands, you’d never be forced to get it in with a bad hand.

JR: When you called his flop bet, were you just floating to take it away later or did you think you had the best hand?

CF: Well, he made a really small bet on the flop. I’m not really thinking about stealing it on the turn. My king might be good in that spot, you know, he could have nothing. If I’m wrong and he does have the queen, then I have the back door flush draw and the overcard. My nine could also work for me, depending on the strength of his hand. I’m not saying I was pretty sure, but he bet so small that it’s tough for me to fold any sort of reasonable hand.

JR: Is there any kind of hand you can fold in that spot?

CF: Definitely. If I didn’t have the overcard to the queen, I probably couldn’t even call that very small bet. Like, 8-9 is a type of hand that I could comfortably fold in that situation.

JR: With some players, small bets can signify strength. Did it cross your mind that he could have a big hand?

CF: That could be the case, but you can’t always just assume that. You can’t just suspect strength every time someone bets small into you. Similarly, you can’t just assume weakness when someone bets big into you. You’re going to have a lot of trouble if you always pattern your decision making like that. Granted, I could be walking into a monster hand, but I’m going to call more often when he bets small like that. That’s why I’m only proceeding with outs to a better hand.

JR: Was it the same line of thinking on the turn?

Chris FergusonCF: I checked it to him on the turn when I picked up the flush draw. He made another really small bet and I just called. I thought about raising him here but I didn’t like the possible results. If I raise he might move in on me and then what do I do. I’d be kind of screwed and unable to see the river, especially with my stack size.

Then the club comes on the river and I thought, there’s no way he suspects that I had a flush draw. By checking I give him two possible reasons to bet. First, if he has nothing then my bet wouldn’t be profitable, since he would fold almost everything in his hand. If I check to him then he might bluff at it with nothing and I could at least pick up a bet there. Secondly, the river paired the board with queens, so if he did hit trips I could check-raise all in and get called by a lot of hands that I can beat. I think it would be very hard for him to get away from it once I moved in.

Were you worried at all that he was betting a full house on the river?

CF: A little bit. I thought about the possibility that he could have filled up. But, I wasn’t too paranoid about it. You can’t be. You can’t just hit you hand and then get the minimum because it isn’t exactly the nuts. I was prepared to go broke if he somehow boated. As it turned out, my hand was good and I doubled up.