Daniel Negreanu has launched his most scathing attack yet on Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson - whose surprise arrival at this year’s World Series of Poker has stirred up a hornet’s nest of ill-will - by telling a reporter:
He clearly just doesn't give a fuck. He doesn't give a fuck about the poker community.”
The Canadian maestro is incensed at Ferguson’s refusal to apologize, answer press questions or even give statement on his role in the Full Tilt scandal, a debacle which saw over $440million of player funds disappear into a black hole. Which was described by the Department of Justice inquiry as a “Ponzi scheme”.
Speaking to Marty Derbyshire of PokerNews yesterday, Negreanu explained:
I am a very forgiving person, but usually you have to ask for forgiveness before you can get it."
Negreanu has been one of the most outspoken critics of Ferguson’s silence since returning to the live poker scene for the WSOP, tweeting several messages at the start of the series almost a month ago, including:
Chris Ferguson returns to WSOP issuing no apologies, no remorse, as if nothing happened. Feels like a giant slap in the face to players.”
Ferguson has faced a barrage of criticism – including being booed, jeered and confronted last week when he final tabled an event – but has steadfastly refused to comment, apart from either “no comment” or “I’m just here to play poker” replies when questioned by the poker press.
Negreanu launched in to Ferguson and his silence, stating:
Whether you're guilty or not, you've said nothing, which makes you guilty. If you don't feel like you're guilty, say so. Say something. You asked for the players to trust in you, don't you believe they're owed some kind of apology? Any man with a shred of integrity or human decency would understand an apology is owed."
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 had been absent from the biggest event of the poker scene for years, but last month he walked into the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to take his place among the thousands of other competitors.
Let me explain it to you Chris,” said Negreanu, “You were part of a company, a very prominent part, asking people to trust you and the company. You made millions and millions of dollars off of this company, then you hid for five years when things got out of shape. Then you said nothing at all.”
One of Ferguson’s fellow Full Tilt board members, Howard Lederer who was one of the site’s founders, issued a belated apology shortly before this year’s WSOP began – a statement which was actually issued through Daniel Negreanu’s website.
Many thought that it was far too little and much too late – a move designed to ease his path back into the poker world – but it was Fergusoon who first surprised thre community by his appearance.
Lederer has also since appeared at the WSOP, and Negreanu spoke of this also saying:
The fact is that (Lederer) humbled himself, and knew that it would be inappropriate for him to just come back without some sort of statement, and he did that. He went through the right channels,” adding, “Obviously he's no fan of mine, and we're not buddies, but at the very least, he took some time to write something out and issue an apology.”
His anger at Ferguson’s approach, however, is evident as he continued
This guy Chris, he just shows up and it's like 'Fuck you guys, I don't even need to do nothing.' Be a man and take responsibility. Even if it's not all your fault, take responsibility for your part in it.”
Negreanu explained of the Lederer apology and Ferguson lack of one by stating:
You don't have to accept it, and people ask if it matters if Chris issues an apology or not, does it make a difference? It doesn't matter if it makes a difference. It's the right thing to do. As a man you should know that.”
When Derbyshire approached Ferguson for comment on Negreanu’s Pokernews interview, he answered simply:
What do you want me to do about it?" with the further "No comment for now."
Whether that’s simply a variation on his silent approach to the Full Tilt questions which many are still asking – or whether Ferguson actually intends to think about things and comment in the future – is anybody’s guess.
Negranu believes that an apology now will “ ring a little more hollow” adding, “but … it's the right thing to do. Even if people don't believe him, it's the right thing to do.”
When Ferguson made it to the final table of the $10K NLHE 6-max championship event, drawing a large crowd to the rail and extra security presence next to the table, he was jeered by members of the rail incensed by his unwillingness to apologise or offer any explanation for his Full Tilt role.
The drama started when Ferguson realised that one of his final table opponents, Nick Petrangelo, was given extra chips from the dealer by mistake. He spoke to the floor on several occasions and “asked for a supervisor and asked them to go over the security footage” according to the Pokerlistings reporter.
When told by the supervisor that nothing could be done because the hand was over, it was time for the rail to chime in. “Why don’t you just trust Chris?” shouted Daniel Levy sarcastically, with Ferguson then engaging him in a silent staring match.
Of this and similar incidents Negreanu believes Ferguson is “ going to continue to have this problem every time he plays poker. Anyone who was affected by it, for them, it's like he's spitting in their face. He's sitting there laughing and giggling, winning more money."
Ferguson’s bust-out in 4th spot was met with more boos, his arms in the air celebration disrupted by Levy shouting “Shame!” and a several epithets- followed by Levy approaching Ferguson and his supporters and shouting:
You have no shame. None of you. You’re all terrible people and you know it!”
Levy explained the reason behind his verbal assault on Ferguson, stating:
I think it’s very important that the community sends him a message and he understands that he’s not welcome here. I don’t want any kind of violence, but he should know people think he’s a piece of shit and he shouldn’t be here. He’s not welcome.”
Negreanu is equally unimpressed, claiming to Derbyshire that:
If I'm ever at his table I'm going to continue to explain to him why I think he owes the poker world an apology. I'm not going to be buddy-buddy with him,” he added, saying that “He had an opportunity to spin this in a better way. He clearly just doesn't give a fuck. He doesn't give a fuck about the poker community. He took all that money and now doesn't say a word? It's ridiculous. I can't wait to get him at my table. Put us together at the Main Event feature table and we'll see what happens there."
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