Chris Ferguson silent treatment fails to impress poker’s biggest YouTubers.
However, it appears that poker’s biggest YouTube personalities — Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk — won’t be smiling when Ferguson’s POTY banner is unveiled at next year’s Series in Las Vegas.
Both high profile poker pros have uploaded videos this week on their respective channels discussing Ferguson’s unknown role in a $430 million Ponzi Scheme that forced U.S. players into a nearly three-year waiting game before they were able to submit claims to have their money refunded.
Negreanu Calls Chris Ferguson Silence “Cowardly”
The world’s all-time live poker tournament cash prize winner ($34.3 million USD) Daniel Negreanu released Episode #16 of his Full Contact Poker Podcast Tuesday which included an a/s/l #PoserLife tale for the ages. You can access that story starting at the 4:33 mark of the clip embedded below, and learn all about one person’s complete disregard and total lack of consideration for RealKidPoker as a fellow human being.
Fast-forward to 21:32 if you want to hear about big-money gambling on the golf course with Negreanu’s caddy-slash-video-editor Christian Sanchez. At 47:16 you can follow along with DNegs‘ quest to become one of the most highly-skilled live players in the modern poker world.
But the part that pertains to Chris Ferguson begins at 1:08:06. Following are timestamp quotes from that section of the show.
(1:08:06) “We’re going to round this Podcast up with a sort of look at what happened at the World Series of Poker Europe. Obviously Chris Ferguson won his sixth bracelet, pretty much locking up Player of The Year. I think it would be hard for him not to win at this point. And after winning, Phil Hellmuth posted a picture with Chris Ferguson and a bracelet and like all #Positivity, and I can’t remember what else he wrote in the Tweet. And the reaction was basically, pretty close to unanimous. Like, ‘WTF Phil?‘ Like, ‘What is this?‘”
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) November 2, 2017
(1:08:41) “Phil mentions he’s a forgiving person. And I like to think of myself as a forgiving person as well. And I think there’s a distinct difference between Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson in one sense. Well, actually in many senses, in terms of responsibility. I know that at the World Series, Chris Ferguson started coming back the last two years. [Ferguson] has not spoken to the media, has not issued an apology, has not acknowledged even in the least how the site that he helped create, and people trusted in him and his name and his brand… put them in dire straits. A lot of people had their entire bankrolls stuck there for years.”
(1:09:20) “Someone asked him at the table during the World Series, ‘Are you ever going to apologize?‘ And he gave them a smug-like, ‘For what?‘ And I just thought to myself, ‘Wow!‘ So whether he was… you know and Phil says, ‘I think he’s innocent.’ And like, okay. He may have been innocent in the sense that like he never knowingly tried to defraud players, or take player money or anything like that. But he’s clearly guilty of a double-middle-finger to the poker world by coming back in and just waltzing in and saying, ‘I’m not doing any media. I’m not apologizing. I’m not doing anything.’ And like, what do you exactly expect? And I’m not at that place of enlightenment where I can forgive people who don’t ask for forgiveness. It’s kind of imperative for me for the person — if I’m going to forgive them — they have to ask.”
(1:10:05) “Howard Lederer came to my house. We spoke about the past. He acknowledged openly to me his role in it. How he had gotten… you know, his ego had grown sort of… they made a lot of mistakes. He wanted to write a letter to the poker world before he came to the World Series. Whether you accept it or not is irrelevant. I still think the steps that he took in order to sort of be welcomed — or not even welcomed — just to come back in the poker room? At least [Lederer] said something. He also did some interviews that I ripped to shreds before, called the [Lederer] Files on PokerNews. And I did like a Lederer Files Rant which you can find on my YouTube channel.”
(1:10:57) “The only way to describe the way in which Chris Ferguson is handling this is cowardly. It’s cowardly. If you truly believe that it wasn’t your fault, say so. If you truly believe that your actions in no way hurt nobody then say, ‘I’m not apologizing for anything.’ If you do though — think that since you were the person — Chris Ferguson was the person who was vehement about specifically Ray Bitar being at the helm. Specifically Chris Ferguson. You would think you’d want to take some responsibility for that. Okay? If it wasn’t Ray’s fault, whose fault… I mean it wasn’t your fault, it wasn’t Howard’s fault… whose fault was it? You know what I mean?”
(1:11:40) “So I’m just a little bit shocked to just… I couldn’t be that kind of person. Like if I did something really stupid, or I screwed some people, like I’m not going to hide and run under the covers. I’m gonna confront it. If I made some mistakes I’m going to acknowledge it. I may ask for forgiveness. I’m gonna certainly take ownership of it. And to see him kind of come back in and then a lot of people say, ‘Oh, time has gone.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, lots of time has gone and we still haven’t heard a peep out of him. And he’s not saying anything.‘ So I just find those types of people to be untrustworthy. I mean, what good excuse could he have?”
(1:12:18) “So I guess from his perspective, he’s like, ‘What good would it do?‘ Right? ‘People are still gonna not like you if they don’t like you.’ I don’t know that that’s true necessarily. I — for one — was willing to hear out Howard and change my tune… not change my tune in terms of what happened. It’s still complete crap. But in terms of saying, ‘Okay, this is a man who has in my eyes like somewhat humbled himself.’ To say, ‘Listen I made a mistake. I’m acknowledging it.’ Chris Ferguson has done no such thing. He’s done [double-middle-finger gesture] instead.”
(1:12:49) “People are asking, ‘Do I think he should have been eligible for Player of The Year or anything like this and that?’ Yes, absolutely. I don’t think that either what Chris Ferguson or Howard Lederer or any of the people involved with Full Tilt Poker did warrants them being banned from the World Series of Poker. The only one type of people who should be banned are people like Russ Hamilton, Mansour Matloubi… who actually cheated the game of poker. There are so many people in poker and out that have screwed people for money left, right and center. And it’s not the World Series’ job to play like ‘police’ on that on play ‘nanny.’ It’s like [Ferguson] didn’t cheat the game, the integrity of the game. He just disrespected it.”
(1:13:25) “And I think Phil Hellmuth was short-sighted in one area just to post that picture and thinking, like hey listen… You might like Chris. You always liked Chris. You think it wasn’t his fault. Let’s hear the story, first and foremost. And let’s hear the story from Chris Ferguson. Let’s hear instead of, ‘I have nothing to say.’ to a reporter. Or when someone asked, ‘Are you ever gonna apologize?’ Saying, ‘For what?‘ You know for what! You know good and well for what. People trusted you. Oh, one guy at the table said… you know, it’s just so smug. One guy said, ‘You know, my money was caught up there for years.’ [Ferguson] said, ‘Well, did you get your money?‘ He’s like, ‘Yeah, eventually PokerStars bailed me out.’ And [Ferguson] is like, ‘There, you got your money.’ What kind of response is that? They didn’t get their money because of you.”
(1:14:04) “You know, it wasn’t you who had anything to do with that. You ran and hide back to Phoenix, and were hiding under the covers while Full Tilt was up in flames, and you were just like MIA. So, I would love to get to a place of being able to forgive someone. But as I said, part of that for me — and maybe it’s because I’m a flawed human — it requires them asking for forgiveness. Like I’m not going to forgive somebody who doesn’t actually ask for forgiveness. So I would still say that it would be the honorable thing to do. Whether it makes a difference for any human being out there for Chris Ferguson to speak publicly about whether or not he has any sorrow for the players and what happened. Or anything along those lines. I think it would be a good time for him with winning the Player of The Year to speak publicly about it. It might be too late… probably is too late. But I still think even in this case — better too late than never.”
Daniel Negreanu Source Website: FullContactPoker.com
Doug Polk Discusses Chris Ferguson, Helps Twitter Follower
2017 WSOP High Roller for One Drop champion and TV personality Doug Polk has been entertaining poker fans throughout the world this week on Live at the Bike.
Yet it appears that Phil Hellmuth’s #Positivity cameo with Ferguson stirred up emotions with the heads-up cash game specialist — who took time away from the LATB set to respond to one of his Twitter follower’s request for aid.
Hey @DougPolkPoker can you do a video on what Jesus did wrong? I don’t understand
— Aron Gunningham (@AronGunningham) November 2, 2017
Polk published a video on his YouTube channel Wednesday that summarizes the lamentable history of Full Tilt Poker while providing his own, unique brand of feedback.
(0:38) “This can’t possibly be true! Chris Ferguson — one of the major shareholders behind Full Tilt Poker — is our World Series of Poker Player of The Year. How are we supposed to handle that? How are we supposed to take that after what happened to all of our money? I know I had money on Full Tilt, I know a lot of you guys had money on Full Tilt. And even though we did get it paid back because PokerStars stepped in and bought back those funds, or rather bought the company and paid out those funds, it’s still something that we have to deal with when we see him at the World Series of Poker getting his banner that will be hung at the Rio.”
(6:33) “Sure, that money eventually got paid out, but not because of Full Tilt. They were not the ones that ended up fixing this situation. And both Howard Lederer and Ferguson were involved in the process to some degree. Not to mention that… [Phil Hellmuth] should have a little appreciation the pain that people were put through in that. And don’t just take a picture with the guy smiling and be like, ‘Everything’s good! We’re great!‘ Because people are not going to respond well to that. It’s going to be upsetting to them and I think that maybe [Hellmuth] should have shown a little more, I don’t know what the word would be here… White Magic when it comes to understanding how people would feel.”
The segment continued with the 2015 Brains vs. AI winner trying his hand at speech-writing at the 8:33 timestamp of the video.
Doug Polk Source Website: UpswingPoker.com
Full Tilt Poker “Ponzi Scheme” Back Story
The failed FTP poker site was once a shining example of how user-friendly software and big-name backing could entice professional and recreational players alike to its real money service.
But in 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice abruptly blocked the domain from its American market — thrusting the site’s main owners (Ferguson, Howard Lederer and Ray Bitar) into silent mode as players were suddenly made aware that the company had not segregated its players’ funds.
The USDOJ would subsequently label Full Tilt Poker’s operations as a massive Ponzi Scheme.
Online poker players’ cash balances on the site were in virtual limbo until the world’s largest poker site PokerStars (which was then operated by Isai and Mark Scheinberg as a private entity) struck a deal with USDOJ officials to purchase the site and reimburse those players their full balances.
After all was said and done, it took United States players who had funds tied up on FTP nearly three years to start receiving their money back. The paperwork-intense claims process forced American players of all skill levels to submit their own personal information and follow strict guidelines to get refunds. But fortunately most of those who took the time to apply were indeed “made whole,” but thanks primarily to industry representatives working on behalf of PokerStars — and not Ferguson, Lederer, or Bitar.
Author’s Note: My personal views on this topic can be read on the TwoPlusTwo News, Views & Gossip forum (Posts #283 and #285). There is a separate discussion thread on the Poker Subreddit here. Also, thanks to PocketFives President @Lance_Bradley for his assistance with a portion of Daniel Negreanu’s video transcript.
Social Media Consideration (Twitter)
@RealKidPoker, @DougPolkPoker, @phil_hellmuth, @dhubermex, @PartTimePoker