Shortly before 2 a.m. local time on Thursday in Rozvadov, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson took down WSOPE Event #7: €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better for €39,289.
Coming into the final table fifth in chips, Ferguson looked comfortable laddering to secure valuable points in the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year race. The 54-year-old from Pacific Palisades, California was content to let opportunities to acquire chips pass him up.
However, as the tournament drew on, and the prospect of a bracelet honed into view, Ferguson ratcheted up the aggression, eliminating the last four players to secure his sixth WSOP gold bracelet.
|1||Chris Ferguson||United States||€ 39,289|
|2||Stanislav Wright||Ukraine||€ 24,283|
|3||Eldert Soer||Netherlands||€ 16,607|
|4||Artur Sojka||Poland||€ 11,693|
|5||Rex Clinkscales||United States||€ 8,483|
|6||Divanshu Khurana||India||€ 6,347|
|7||Dario Alioto||Italy||€ 4,902|
|8||Sebastian Langrock||Germany||€ 3,913|
Speaking to WSOP.com after the win, Ferguson said that the win felt "surreal," as he wasn't expecting to win this bracelet.
"I was just trying to sneak in," he said. "Just advance a little bit; trying to get a couple more [POY] points. And it's just kind of happened. It's the best way."
Ferguson returned to WSOP last year for the first time since 2010 having stayed out of the public eye. At the time Ferguson reiterated that he was "just here to play poker."
In his first major interview since his return, WSOP.com asked Ferguson what he had been doing while away from the WSOP felt.
"I just cleared my mind," said Ferguson. "For five years I hadn't really thought about poker. I didn't really miss it.
"FOR FIVE YEARS I HADN'T REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT POKER. I DIDN'T REALLY MISS IT."
"I had actually been planning to take a break from poker, and it turned out to be bigger than I expected. I've always found that when I take a break from something and you come back to it, you come back to it with a fresh perspective and often you'll do better."
The main difference between 2010 and 2017? The quality of the players.
"They're getting better and better," said Ferguson, "But I've always enjoyed playing against good players and I've always done really well against the best players!
"Nowadays everybody's a really good player, so I was kind of prepared for that."
Earlier this summer in Las Vegas, Ferguson finished second to Mike Wattel in Event #72: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship, and Ferguson said that he felt a lot of vindication closing out one at the very next opportunity.
"It's been a long time since I won a bracelet. I think back in 2008 I had a 30-1 chip lead for a bracelet. And that one slipped through. Then against Mike Wattel I had a 9-