Why now, Jesus?

Barry Carter thinks that Chris Ferguson's apology to the poker community is simply an attempt to make playing the WSOP less stressful for him.

Two years ago Howard Lederer issued an apology to the poker community for his role in the Full Tilt scandal, which prompted me to question the timing. I speculated it was a cynical attempt to return to the WSOP without being chased out of the Rio, and I was correct.

Almost exactly two years on, I am doing the same for Chris Ferguson.

It is true Jesus has played the last two WSOPs, in fact he won the Player of the Year race last year. So it’s not like this week’s 42 second apology was an attempt to get him through the door at the Rio, he has already done that. However, I suspect the timing of this apology is still for entirely the same reasons.

Ferguson has been famously tight lipped about the Full Tilt scandal, refusing to make any statements or do any interviews. Most assumed he would never speak out on the story, or at least was compelled not to for legal reasons. Either way to say this apology is seven years too late is an understatement.

Opening old wounds

Chris Ferguson
Seven years too late?

When you sit on a statement about something that did so much harm to the poker community for so long, any eventual apology has to have some substance. It has to be a very heartfelt mea culpa, or it has to shine some new light on the story. Ferguson’s apology was neither of those things, if anything it was quite insulting how short it was. All the apology did was remind us that Black Friday happened, hurt a lot of people, harmed the image of poker forever, and that he was involved in it.

So once again I am left to speculate that, just one week away from the World Series of Poker, that this was just a cynical attempt to stop people saying mean things to him while he goes bracelet hunting. It’s not going to be a fun experience for him when he gets an at-best lukewarm reception for his Player of the Year banner being unveiled at the Rio (and I genuinely feel quite bad for him on this) and he probably has not enjoyed the last two years at the tables despite playing very well for both.

I actually think the poker community has been impressively restrained about all this during the series. Ferguson and Lederer wisely only came out of hiding once the majority of Full Tilt bankrolls were returned, but the whole affair still hurt a lot of people in a lot of different ways. Having your money returned does not make up for the major disruption this made to a lot of lives, not to mention the stress that came with it. 

Making a statement after his POY win would have been much better, as would no apology at all if didn’t include new information or genuine regret. This apology did nothing, in fact if anything it opened some old wounds.

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Comments (4)

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  • Zeezout


    Although I don't think he's all over involved in the scandal, I still think it ruined poker for many years to come, so it deserves a better apology.
  • PocketAcesJohn


    "And one day the fr story will be told".

    I believe it when i see it. Pretty sure it's at the point that if it hasn't been told, it will not be told...
  • Arnalsan


  • SDK1987


    It would be better if everyone of this scandal would do it and paid the damage, but last 1 is most likely not possible.