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The passion of ‘Jesus’
inspires tourney win

Mar 30, 2004 1:50 AM

Chris "Jesus" Ferguson reigns as the 2004 Winnin’ o’ the Green champion and an official $144,000 richer.

The former World Series of Poker champ arrived at the $2,500 no-limit hold’em final table at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles with the lowest chips, but was virtually unbeatable after that. With four players left, he had almost half the 720,000 chips in play. When he got heads-up with Randy Holland, he led by 548k to 172k, and the two did a chip-count deal for all but a small remainder.

The final table got there at 6:40 a.m. when Young Phan flopped a set of 7s to freeze out Alaska resident David Templeton. Not surprisingly, this was by far the strongest final table of all the 25 events.

Along with Ferguson were such marquee names as "Miami" John Cernuto, Randy Holland and Hasan Habib, in addition to seasoned pros Phan, Frankie O’Dell, John Hoang, Henry Chhor, Binh Do and one semi-pro, Arnold Spee.

Action got under way with blinds of $1,500-$3,000, with 40:20 remaining. Habib had a big chip lead of 193,000. On the third hand, Ferguson had the big blind with K-9 against Hoang’s A-9. When the flop came K-5-3, he moved in for 22,500, won the pot and the man in black was on his way.

Five hands later, Do moved in under the gun for 12k with A-10. Spee called with Ad-Kd, and Do was first out when the board came A-J-8-9-J. Four hands after that, Hoang raised 11k all-in with Jc-9c and Holland, with seven times as many chips, called from the big blind with 8-6. "How could you call with that?" Hoang asked in amazement. Well, maybe Randy knew a 6 would flop. Two down.

To this point, Chhor had made three uncalled all-in moves. On hand 16 he made a smaller raise, to 10k, with A-7. Phan had A-10 and moved him in for about 24k more. When the flop came Q-6-2-A-8, seven were left.

On hand 23, Ferguson looked at pocket aces and made a small bait raise of 10k. O’Dell bit. He had Ah-Jh and moved in for about 70k. The board came Q-J-3-7-3, and Ferguson now had about 165k in chips, only about 10k short of chip leader Habib.

On hand 36, Ferguson raised 10k with pocket deuces and called after Miami John moved in for 34k more holding Ad-2d. Ferguson filled when the board came 5-K-K-K-4 to bust Cernuto and take a decisive lead with roughly 225,000 in chips. After that he never looked back. Or even sideways, for that matter.

By the time limits went to $3,000-$6,000 with $1,000 antes, Ferguson had climbed to about 350k, followed by Phan with about 120k; Holland, 100k; and Spee; 85k, while Habib had dropped down to last position with around 70k.

Ferguson continued his domination of the table when he busted Phan and picked up about 60k more. Ferguson had A-10, the flop was A-8-7 and Phan picked a bad time to move in with pocket 4s. A couple of hands later, Holland raised to 21k with A-Q and Spee moved in for 31k more with pocket jacks. "Be good to me," Spee prayed as the hands were turned up. Nobody was listening. A queen flopped and three were left.

Soon after, Habib was left with 85k when he folded after Ferguson three-bet a board of 6-6-4-J. That went in on the next hand when Habib raised all-in with Qs-4s and couldn’t catch Ferguson’s A-J. Ferguson and Holland now made their deal and agreed to jump up the blinds and play 20 minute rounds for the remaining cash. They played 23 hands heads-up. Finally, Holland moved in with pocket treys. Ferguson had pocket queens, and the WOG championship was his.

Player profile

So, where will Chris Ferguson be going now with all that new-found money, Disneyland? No, to the World Series in Las Vegas. Ferguson plans to use the cash to play every single event and hopefully add to his current collection of five bracelets.

The 2000 WSOP champ recently has been specializing in only the biggest buy-in no-limit events, but now he’s looking for more diversity. Also, this Winnin’ of the Green tournament was one of the few he’s played in that wasn’t a World Poker Tour tournament. Ferguson is employed by the WPT as a consultant in which one of his key responsibilities is selecting which cameras to use in the telecasts.

Last week, Ferguson was satisfied that he played pretty well, and generally was able to have the best hand when he went in. He said he also changed his game plan slightly, loosening up from his recent play, and it seemed to work.

Event #25 Results

$2,500 + $100 No-Limit Hold’em

Championship Event

$360,000 Prize Pool

144 Players

1. Chris "Jesus" Ferguson Pacific Palisades, CA

$144,000

2. Randy Holland Winnnetka, CA

$68,400

3. Hasan Habib Downey, CA

$34,200

4. Arnold Spee Thousand Oaks, CA

$21,600

5. Young Phan Garden Grove, CA

$16,200

6. "Miami" John Cernuto Las Vegas, NV

$13,600

7. Frankie O’Dell Long Beach, CA

$9,000

8. Henry Chhor San Gabriel, CA

$7,200

9. John Hoang Rosemead, CA

$6,300

10.Binh Do Vancouver, WA

$5,400

11.David Templeton Anchorage, AK

$5,400

12.Mel Wiener Calabasas, CA

$5,400

13.Eric Chhor San Gabriel, CA

$4,500

14.Antonio Abesamis West Covina, CA

$4,500

15.Scott Fischman Las Vegas, NV

$4,500

16.Dutch Boyd Culver City, CA

$3,600

17.Farzad Bonyadi Aliso Viejo, CA

$3,600

18.Aurel DeHollan Vista, CA

$3,600