Negreanu Strikes Out at Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson

4 years ago
Negreanu Reacts To The Return Of Ferguson
08 Jun

Daniel Negreanu has reacted to the shock return of Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson at this year’s World Series of Poker by lambasting the former Full Tilt pro and co-owner’s decision in a series of Twitter messages online.

The Canadian, who has been an outspoken critic of both Ferguson and Howard ‘The Professor’ Lederer, two of the main men behind the debacle which saw $400million+ of players’ funds disappear back in 2011, has become the first of the big names at this year’s WSOP to publicly attack Ferguson. Negreanu tweeted on the day that Ferguson cashed for the first time since 2010:

Ferguson’s appearance on Saturday night to play the $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship - his first live event since the disastrous ‘Ponzi scheme’ downfall which defined poker’s Black Friday – was a huge surprise to poker players and fans everywhere.

Ferguson, along with co-founder Howard ‘The Professor’ Lederer, and Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar, have been ostracized by the poker community since the site was shut down by the US Department of Justice and player funds were discovered to have been used to pay out massive sums to the men and other owners of the company – nothing being left over to recompense the site’s customers.

Having never admitted wrongdoing nor apologised for his role in one of the darkest days of online poker, Ferguson has been absent from the biggest event of the poker scene for years, but yesterday he walked into the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to take his place among the thousands of other competitors.

Negreanu followed up his first tweet by calling out the 2000 Main Event champion, who barely spoke to reporters in the Aria Casino.

Few of his followers online disagreed. One who did, however, was Shaun Stapleton who replied:

In reference to the statement by Lederer, first released by Negreanu on his website two weeks ago.

“I am writing to apologize to everyone in the poker community, especially to all the players who had money on Full Tilt Poker on April 15, 2011,” wrote Lederer, his first apology since the affair broke five years ago.

He continued:

When Full Tilt Poker closed in 2011, there was a shortfall in funds…and a long delay in repaying players….players felt lied to. They trusted the site, and they trusted me, and I didn’t live up to that trust.”

In a move thousands of players had been waiting five long years for, Lederer stated:

I take full responsibility for Full Tilt’s failure to protect player deposits leading up to Black Friday.”

Many believed that Lederer’s apology was a precursor to HIS re-appearance at the World Series, and were stunned when Ferguson strode up instead.

Eric ‘efro’ Froehlich, a two-time bracelet winner himself, tweeted back:

Negreanu replied:

Negreanu wasn’t finished there, however, adding a later tweet saying:

Ferguson’s return has upset many players, even those who did not suffer personally from the financial disaster caused by Full Tilt’s demise but who have had to watch friends and the game of poker suffer because of the actions taken by Ferguson, Lederer and others.

Although many players were re-imbursed years later after PokerStars repaid much of the debt, a condition of their buy-over of the Full Tilt brand, some 5% of players will still receive nothing – and many had their poker careers and dreams shattered or put on hold because of the unholy mess caused by the ‘mis-management’.

The last couple of days have seen many discussions about what players should do and how they should react to Ferguson if they meet him at the WSOP, a point brought up by PokerTube writer Florian Gheorghe yesterday.

Gheorghe wrote:

Although many poker players are visualizing Ferguson instead of Queen Cersei Lannister in the famous Walk of Shame from the TV series Game of Thrones, the former Full Tilt director is quite enjoying his WSOP experience. He was even stopped - but not to be berated, only to appear in some good old photos like this one”.

Whether Ferguson will continue to appear at the Rio is unknown, but given Negreanu’s latest attack on him, the attitudes of the masses may not be quite so friendly in days to come.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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