'' Chris Ferguson & IRC Poker | First No-limit Holdem game online
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The winner of WSOP Main Event 2000, Chris Ferguson, used to play poker on the IRC poker chat. Chris Ferguson started playing at online poker's break of dawn and he was very successful even though they did not play for real money.

The program kept track of the most winning players which were listed on a leaderboard. Mr. Ferguson strived to be on top. In a blog he has explained that it was not an attempt to get recognition but that he was driven by the challenge of becoming number 1.

The software allowed anyone to get 1000 in chips for free and you could create multiple accounts per day so the games were naturally very loose and not truly comparable with real money poker since players had no incentive to fold in the beginning of a session. The attempts to build a stack quickly by going allin all the time was nevertheless soon put to an end.
Chris Ferguson describes the changes as “Hold’em Hell” & “No-Limit Heaven”. The software simply did not allow you to play No-Limit unless you had a minimum of 2000 in chips. To be able to reach that amount you had to play Fixed-Limit Hold’em and build your stack from 1000 to 2000 playing 5-10 limit games.
Not only did it limit the players' access to the No-Limit games but because you sat down with your entire stack at the No-Limit games they became all the more interesting since if you went bust you had to go back to playing “Hold’em Hell”.1

1. FullTiltPoker.com September 1, 2007 (page removed)