The professional poker player also known as "Jesus" (for his long dark hair and close-cropped beard).
By 1999, Chris had spent exactly half his life at UCLA. After five years as an undergrad and another 13 as a graduate student, UCLA awarded him a Ph.D. in Computer Science and told him it was time to leave the nest of academia. He went reluctantly.
He didn't wander very far. A year later and only 300 miles away, it was new school meets old school as Chris defeated TJ Cloutier to win the Main Event in the 2000 World Series of Poker. It marked the beginning of a professional career, with a record unmatched by any player of the last decade.
Long before any of today's popular poker sites existed, Chris started playing over the Internet on an IRC channel, and quickly became its highest ranked tournament player. In 1994, he recognized that his knowledge of game theory was a powerful weapon and began playing in the small tournaments in and around LA. A year later, Chris played in his first World Series of Poker event. Despite playing relatively few tournaments in those first five years, he made seven final tables and had 12 money finishes, peaking at fourth place.
In the new millennia, he made his mark.
Chris won the Championship Event in 2000, now famously chronicled in James McManus' Positively Fifth Street. It was his second bracelet that year, following his win in the 7-Card Stud event. A well-rounded player, Chris won his next bracelet in the 2001 Omaha Hi/Lo Split event, followed by two more wins in 2003.
Since he started playing in the World Series, he has won more bracelets (5), made more final tables (25), and had more money finishes (42) than any other player. With his recent World Series of Poker Circuit win and another final table finish, Chris has earned more than $4,000,000 playing poker in the WSOP and WSOP circuit alone.
In March, 2006 Chris once again proved why he is considered one of the world's most skilled poker players, navigating his way through a tough 64-person field to score his second consecutive, second-place finish at the National Heads-Up Poker Championship.
Chris recently returned to the world of online poker, this time applying his own ideas to improve Internet poker. He put together a team of players and programmers to design the software for FullTiltPoker.com, and now focuses on ensuring that Full Tilt Poker's customers have the best software and the best games in the industry.
His talent with playing cards doesn't stop at the poker table. He is well known for his ability to cut a carrot in half by throwing a regular playing card from a distance of 10 feet. When he's not slicing vegetables, you can probably find Chris dancing West Coast Swing in a local club. Whether it's cutting up a fruit salad or cutting a rug, he is constantly challenging himself to learn something new. Because although UCLA may have told him it was time to go, Chris has never really left school.
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