At first glance when you read about someone like Chris Ferguson, you may think this is the normal type of extraordinary poker player, if that makes sense. A number of World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, outstanding tournament winnings, not to mention some online accolades as well all mark Ferguson out to be a top quality poker pro.
However there’s a bit more to it than that, delve into the background and you encounter some interesting snippets. To start from the beginning then, Chris Ferguson was born in Los Angeles, California on 11th April, 1963. I would normally see no reason to make more than a passing reference to a subject’s parents unless, as in this case, there are extenuating circumstances. Both parents are mathematics Ph.D’s and his father in particular, teaches theoretical probability at University College of Los Angeles.
That’s a good start then and this aptitude for numbers was clearly passed on to the offspring – Ferguson himself has a Ph.D in Computer Science, specialising in virtual network algorithms. As with Olivia Boeree, who studied physics and astrophysics, there’s surely no doubt that a computational ability of the sort required to specialise in this sort of field helps enormously on the poker table.
Ferguson’s poker career began early – he was learning by the age of ten and by the time he was at college he was playing for money via IRC channels and chat rooms. In 1995 he entered his first WSOP and in 2000 actually won the main event and a substantial $1.5 million. His 63 money finishes at the WSOP places him third behind Phil Hellmuth and Men Nguyen in the all-time money winners list.
He has also been active in the online arena and was instrumental in the setting up of poker website Full Tilt Poker. He has currently undertaken a challenge to turn $0 to $10,000 online with the help of freeroll tournaments. It’s also worth mentioning that his game is not restricted to Texas Hold’em, he has also won tournaments playing Seven Card Stud and Omaha Hi-Lo, among others. This is one decent poker player and computer scientist.