Negreanu takes aim at Chris Ferguson as WSOP 2016 heats up

World Series of Poker 2016One of the most fascinating battles at the 2016 World Series of Poker is taking place not at the tables, but in the press.

The presence of Chris Ferguson, the 2000 WSOP Main Event winner, has stirred plenty of interest within the international poker community.

The California native hasn’t been sighted at a live poker tournament since 2011, when he and three other Full Tilt Poker directors were accused by the United States Justice Department of running a Ponzi scheme that cost customers around US $444 million.

Five years later and Ferguson is yet to make any public comment on the scandal – much to the chagrin of poker pro Daniel Negreanu.

“I am a very forgiving person, but usually you have to ask for forgiveness before you can get it,” Negreanu told reporters in Las Vegas.

“Clearly he doesn’t give a shit, responding with ‘What are you talking about?’ when people said he owed the poker world an apology.

“Let me explain it to you Chris: You were part of a company, a very prominent part, asking people to trust you and the company. You made millions and millions of dollars off of this company, then you hid for five years when things got out of shape. Then you said nothing at all.

“Whether you’re guilty or not, you’ve said nothing, which makes you guilty. If you don’t feel like you’re guilty, say so. Say something. You asked for the players to trust in you, don’t you believe they’re owed some kind of apology?

“Any man with a shred of integrity or human decency would understand an apology is owed.”

Ferguson and Negreanu are yet to cross paths on the tables at the Rio, but the latter said he would relish such an opportunity.

“If I’m ever at his table I’m going to continue to explain to him why I think he owes the poker world an apology,” Negreanu continued.

“I’m not going to be buddy-buddy with him. He had an opportunity to spin this in a better way.

“He clearly just doesn’t give a f***. He doesn’t give a f*** about the poker community. He took all that money and now doesn’t say a word? It’s ridiculous.

“I can’t wait to get him at my table. Put us together at the Main Event feature table and we’ll see what happens there.”

Martin Kozlov claims Australia’s 21st WSOP bracelet

Poker fans in Vegas made no uncertainty of their feelings towards Ferguson when he fronted up for the final table of the six-handed $10,000 No Limit Hold’em event.

After jeering and booing him throughout, the crowd openly celebrated when the one formerly known as ‘Jesus’ (now ‘Judas’) exited in fourth place.

He was one of four WSOP bracelet winners to fall before Martin Kozlov, who became the 12th Australian to win a World Series of Poker event.

The Melburnian slogged through three days of intense action to score a US $665,709 payday – the biggest of his career to date.

“Winning this tournament is very satisfying,” Kozlov said.

“It’s tough. It’s prestigious. It’s some of the best players out there.”

The febrile atmosphere created by Ferguson’s presence made for difficult playing conditions, but Kozlov said it had little effect on his game.

“The crowd didn’t really affect me all that much,” he explained.

“When you are playing, you get into a zone and tune that out. You just focus on the cards.

“You don’t think about what’s going on beyond the felt.”