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Deal Me In -- Poker Pro Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson

An Exclusive Excerpt from Phil Hellmuth's New Book


Chris FergusonIn its pages are never-before-revealed details of the lives of some of the biggest names in poker. Phil Hellmuth’s new book profiles 20 of the biggest poker players in the world, giving the reader an intimate look at the game’s biggest celebrities.

Deal Me In, a collection of autobiographical accounts from many of poker’s elite, is now available to order online exclusively at The book highlights the struggles, obstacles, and tragedies that 20 of the greatest poker pros have overcome in their journeys to the top. is providing exclusive excerpts from the book each Sunday. This week’s passage focuses on 2000 WSOP main event champ Chris Ferguson, who shares his thoughts on the online generation:

While a great deal of the poker community turned its nose up at the young upstarts emerging from cyberspace, Chris knew that the young guns would make their mark.

“I had a great of respect for the online superstars from day one,” Chris said, “because that’s how I started with the IRC Poker Channel.”

Chris realized from his own experiences that some of these Internet players were seeing way more hands than their live-tournament counterparts.

“I could play 300 hands of no-limit hold’em in an hour. That’s 300 different learning experiences in an hour. If both the live player and the Internet player learn the same amount of information per hand, the Internet player learns more than five times faster than the live player. Think about it this way,” Chris said, “a 22-year-old Internet player playing multiple tables has the ability to see more hands in a few years than Doyle Brunson has seen playing live poker in his lifetime.”

While a number of players believe that the cards themselves don’t matter nearly as much as the ability to read their opponents, Chris believes that a fundamental understanding of poker is paramount to success.

“Some live players use ‘tells’ as a crutch,” Chris says. “It’s more important for players to understand how to play their cards at a fundamental level as opposed to playing their cards based on ‘tells.’”

“Think about it this way; math never lies — ever,” said Chris, who points out if a player has an ace in the hole and two more come on the flop, you know there is one left out there somewhere, but only one.

Tells, on the other hand, lie all the time. Players frequently hide or create false tells. They want to deceive you. They can’t deceive the math. Chris has advice to newer players; first learn the math. This is one reason why the online players are often so strong.