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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Chris Ferguson – An Online Pro

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Chris Ferguson is well known for his successes in live tournament play. He was the 2000 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion and has also won five bracelets along the way. Many people don't know about his successes online as well though. Chris has lobbied for the legalization of online poker as well as his stint with turning one dollar into thousands.

KL: What are your thoughts in general on online poker?

Chris:
I really enjoy online poker! The unique thing about it is you can wake up in the morning and you have 15 minutes before you have to be somewhere, you can play online poker. If you want to play for 45 minutes before you go to bed you can do that and you can't do that with live action. A lot of people don't live very close to casinos. They might have to drive an hour. When I am in LA, I have to drive an hour to get to a casino. Some people have to drive four hours, so it offers people a really easy opportunity to play that they otherwise wouldn't have.

I have been playing online since 1989. Before any of these sites I played on a site called IRC poker. It was actually just a play money site. Some people actually did play for money and even back then I knew it was a great way to learn. I think in the past people kind of scoffed at online players but since a lot of these online players are really good, I think people are realizing that playing online is a great way to learn the game.

KL: Where do you like to play online?

Chris:
I definitely like Full Tilt Poker, it is the best site. I play there ten hours a week. I am currently on a mission to turn zero dollars into $10,000, playing online poker. To turn zero into $10,000 I had to start playing in freerolls. After I won some money from freerolls, I had to play in some of the smallest games on the site. What it has forced me to do is play those smaller games and work my way up. Now I am playing $20 sit n go's and $10 tournaments. As my bankroll grows, right now it is $669, I will play in bigger and bigger games. The challenge is affording me the opportunity to play against everyone that plays on the site. I play with everyone from the play money players, and I still play two hours a week on play money, to the low limit to the high limit players.

KL: Didn't you do this once before and turn it into $40,000?

Chris:
I have turned $1 into $20,000 previously and I decided to try it again. I had fun doing that, it's a challenge, not about the money or anything. I had fun doing that challenge so I decided to do it again.

KL: So you pulled out all of the money and started with nothing this time?

Chris:
Yes, and starting with nothing was actually a lot harder!

KL: What is currently going on in the fight to legalize online poker?

Chris: A bill has been presented before congress to expressly legalize online gaming and particularly to regulate it. This would of course include poker. I think this is a great thing, poker has gone unregulated for a long time and it certainly has been threatened with prohibition which we know from the past has never worked. There is a huge amount of revenue out there that could be generated through the taxation and regulation of online poker and the gaming industry and this bill will tap into that and its going to stop the current threat. I think people should be allowed to do what they want with their money. That is an extremely American value; people don't want the government telling them what to do with their money. Yet the government, as they have in the past, has threatened to take away online poker and is basically telling people what they can do with their money. I think this bill corrects some of the mistakes that have been done in the past.

KL: Do you think it will go through?

Chris:
I am very confident it will go through. It may not go through this session or next session but I would say that in the next few years it is going to go through. Online poker lobbying is becoming very strong and is only going to become stronger over time. The PPA, Poker Player's Alliance, has over 500,000 members now. They have become a very large political force. The people who passed the bill that prohibited online gaming in particular, the banking community, I think a lot of the people who supported that have taken a political toll and have alienated a lot of people politically and I don't think that is something they want to do again. There is a groundswell of support for legalizing and taxing online gaming.

KL: How can poker fans help?

Chris:
I think the best way to help would be to join the PPA. You can do that at pokerplayersalliance.org. You can also sign up on Full Tilt.

KL: Full Tilt has been huge for this cause, aren't they holding freerolls in support of the PPA?

Chris:
Full Tilt Poker is holding freerolls online for people who have already joined the PPA. They are allowed to play in these tournaments so they are supporting them in that way. Wherever you play online, the PPA is there to support you and support your rights.

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