Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson comes in at #8 on the WSOP Top 50 players list. (WSOP photo)

2019 marks the 50th annual World Series of Poker. The most prestigious poker festival in history has played a pivotal role in creating many of the legends and superstars of the game. To commemorate the occasion, PocketFives editorial staff each ranked the top 50 players in WSOP history in an effort to define and rank the most important, influential, and greatest WSOP players of all time. 

Chris Ferguson

6 120 $5,065,854 40

Chris Ferguson is one of just 15 players with six or more WSOP gold bracelets. He’s twice won multiple bracelets in the same year, and he’s also the winner of the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year award. Entering the 50th annual WSOP in 2019, Ferguson had 120 WSOP cashes and more than $5 million won.

If it wasn’t for the Full Tilt Poker debacle that became widely publicized following Black Friday, Ferguson would be held in much higher regard within the poker community. Even so, there’s simply no denying that one of the greatest players in World Series of Poker history.

Ferguson’s first WSOP gold bracelet came in 2000. Actually, his first two bracelets came in 2000, but it wasn’t as though he hadn’t found some success in years before that. In fact, Ferguson had been knocking on the doorstep of winning a bracelet a few different times. Before 2000, he had six WSOP final table appearances. His first bracelet came in the $2,500 Seven Card Stud event in 2000 when Ferguson won $151,000. That same Series, he also made the final table of the $1,500 Razz and $5,000 Omaha Hi-Low events, but the real shine came when he won the $10,000 Main Event to the tune of $1.5 million. It was quite the championship final table he topped, too. Ferguson defeated TJ Cloutier in heads-up play, plus Hasan Habib, James McManus, Jeff Schulman, Tom Franklin, and Mickey Appleman were all there.

In 2001, Ferguson picked up right where he left off, winning his third gold bracelet right out of the gate. He took first place in the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low event for $164,735, denying Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen another taste of victory. Ferguson also had a fifth-place finish and three 12th-place finishes that summer in Las Vegas.

We guess 2002 was a down year for Ferguson because he only had two WSOP cashes and didn’t win a bracelet. He did finish second in one event and sixth in another, though. In 2003, he returned to the WSOP winner’s circle twice. First, he won the $2,000 Omaha Hi-Low event for $123,680, and then he won the $2,000 Limit Hold’em/Seven Card Stud event for $66,220. He also added six WSOP cashes in addition to those wins.

There’s a nice, big gap in Ferguson’s WSOP résumé between 2011 and 2015, a result of him staying well out of the poker spotlight in the aftermath of the Full Tilt scandal. He returned to the WSOP felt in 2016, though, and did so in the form 10 cashes and one final table. In 2017, Ferguson cashed 17 times at the WSOP in Las Vegas and another six times at WSOP Europe. It was in Europe that he won his sixth gold bracelet when he took down the €1,650 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event for €39,289. With all of the success in 2017, Ferguson won the WSOP Player of the Year award.

In 2018, he cashed another 17 times at the WSOP and six times at WSOP Europe, with two fourth-place finishes in the mix.

Ferguson’s number of WSOP cashes have him second all-time behind only Phil Hellmuth, and even without his six gold bracelets he has 30 WSOP final tables to his credit. If Ferguson continues to put in the volume he has been recently, his track record shows that he’ll continue to rack up cashes and final tables, all while being a threat to win more bracelets and another WSOP Player of the Year title. He’s still nine bracelets off of Hellmuth’s record of 15, but don’t be surprised to see Ferguson be the biggest challenger to Hellmuth over the next decade or so.