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WSOP Champions: Where Are They Now, Part 8
This is the eighth article in a 10-part series taking a look at the World Series of Poker champions from the very first to the most recent and at what they've done since in the world of poker.
This week's look at the past champions of the WSOP Main Event surveys the turn of the 21st century, when an Irish businessman and two of the most successful poker players of all time won the big one.
Noel Furlong (1999)
The story goes that Noel Furlong only came to the WSOP for the first time because his friend Terry Rogers bought the tickets without telling him.
Since his 1999 Main Event championship, Furlong must have been keeping an eye on all his friends, because he hasn't made a peep at the Series ever since.
But Furlong was never a professional player in the first place (he was a businessman), so his absence from the WSOP results in the intervening years comes as no surprise.
The first and only Irish champ hasn't been entirely absent from poker since his win, though.
He has played on several made-for-TV poker tournaments in England, including the original Late Night Poker, Poker Million, and the 888.com Poker Nations Cup.
Furlong has also picked up wins in several small buy-in events at festivals in Dublin since his big win.
Poker continues to be a hobby rather than a life pursuit for the man whose carpet distribution business does nine-figure business annually.
Chris Ferguson (2000)
Chris Ferguson was already a fairly accomplished poker player when he won the Main Event, with 16 WSOP cashes and one bracelet to his name in May 2000.
His win over T.J. Cloutier that year cemented his status as one of the game's great minds, and he has spent the years since proving he's the real deal.
Ferguson must feel right at home at the WSOP since 2000. He has won another three bracelets in the interim, adding another 16 final tables and 35 total cashes to boot.
His total career WSOP earnings come to $3,268,152, good for 17th all-time, and he ranks fifth in all-time WSOP cashes, with 51.
Ferguson hasn't had to stay at the WSOP for success, though.
He recently won the 2008 NBC National Heads-Up Championship final over fellow Full Tilter Andy Bloch, after having previously placed second in the event in 2005 and 2006. He also has two WSOP Circuit wins and five WSOPC final tables to his credit.
In all, the man also known as "Jesus" has total career earnings in excess of $6.6 million, which ranks him 17th on the all-time money list.
While his poker resume made him a natural choice as one of the original members of Team Full Tilt, it may be his trademark style of long hair, beard, sunglasses and cowboy hat that was really the perfect fit.
That style has made him one of the handful of poker players recognized even by people who don't follow the game.
Away from the tables, Ferguson has made a name for himself in the poker industry.
He helped to found TiltWare LLC, a software design and licensing company that created the programs powering the Full Tilt Poker online card room.
He also testified before Congress in 2006 about online poker, just months before Senate leaders surreptitiously passed the UIGEA.
In 2006, Ferguson and six other players filed an antitrust complaint against WPT Enterprises in federal district court, claiming that WPTE and its partner casinos had "unlawfully conspired to eliminate competition for the services and intellectual property rights of top, high stakes professional poker players."
WPTE waited two years before settling the complaint by formulating a new player release for its tournaments, which Ferguson said in a statement he was "excited to participate in...once again."
Juan Carlos Mortensen (2001)
Juan Carlos Mortensen wasn't exactly an amateur when won the 2001 WSOP Main Event, with two tournament wins and a WSOP cash to his credit before his big win.
He may not have been as accomplished as his predecessor Ferguson at the time of his win, but Mortensen has used his WSOP triumph as a springboard to long-term poker success.
The bulk of Mortensen's success since the 2001 WSOP has been on the World Poker Tour.
In fact, he became the only player ever to win the WSOP Main Event and the WPT Championship when he emerged victorious at Bellagio in 2007.
That win was worth $3,970,415, and was actually the second WPT title for the Spaniard.
He first took down a TV table in 2004 when he won the Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship. Mortensen has one other TV table and 11 total cashes in WPT events on his resume.
Mortensen has also enjoyed some success at the WSOP since his big win, though it has been a bit more muted than his WPT track record.
In 2003 he won the $5,000 Limit Hold'em bracelet, and he has a total of five final tables and 12 total cashes since 2001.
All in all, the Matador's career earnings are in excess of $8.5 million, good for 10th on the all-time money list.
He ranks second on the WPT all-time money list (just $231,000 behind Daniel Negreanu) and 32nd on the WSOP all-time money list.
Stay with us next week as we bring you three more WSOP champions and take a closer look at what they've been up to since they won the big dance.
- WSOP champions: Where are they now, Part 9
- WSOP Champions: Where are they now, Part 10
- WSOP Champions: Where are they now, Part 1
- WSOP champions: Where are they now, Part 2
- WSOP champions: Where are they now, Part 3
- WSOP champions: Where are they now, Part 4
- WSOP champions: Where are they now, Part 5
- WSOP champions: Where are they now, Part 6
- WSOP champions: Where are they now, Part 7