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Poker News | World Poker News

Jamie Gold Sued

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The richest prize in the history of poker, the 2006 World Series of Poker Championship; with a first-place prize of $12 Million, it's truly life-changing money. Even half of that money could be a life-changing amount, and that seems to be the issue. On Monday, Crispin Leyser, poker player and WPT Boot Camp instructor, filed suit in Las Vegas for half of the first-place prize, alleging that Jamie Gold had promised 50% of any winnings in the Main Event to Leyser.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Gold asked Leyser to help him find celebrities to play in the main event wearing Bodog logo wear, and in return they would split any winnings. "Being that there was only one seat being offered by 'Bodog,' Plaintiff and Defendant agreed that whoever played in the seat at the World Series of Poker main event would split any winnings equally with the other," claims Leyser.

Leyser produced his celebrities, Matthew Lillard and Dax Shepard, and Jamie Gold produced a dominating run to the bracelet and a $12 Million payout. Lillard has appeared in several horror films including "Scream" as well as two recent Scooby Doo movies. Shepard is a regular on the MTV television show "Punk'd."

Leyser offers as evidence a telephone message left by Gold several hours before the beginning of final table play. According to Leyser in the claim, Gold's message says "I promise you - you can keep this recording on my word - there's no possible way you're not going to get half after taxes," and "But please just trust me. You've trusted me the whole way, you can trust me a little bit more. I promise you there's no way anybody will go anywhere with your money. It's your money."

Leyser's complaint asks for $6 Million, half of the first place prize money, plus legal expenses. "We don't want to interfere with money that Jamie's entitled to, just as he shouldn't interfere with money he's not entitled to," Leyser's attorney Richard Schonfeld said.

Chief District Judge Kathy Hardcastle signed a temporary restraining order preventing Jamie Gold from collecting his winnings until at least Sept. 1, when the first court hearing in the case is scheduled. Harrah's, who owns the World Series of Poker, has no comment on ongoing litigation.

This is not the first bump in the road for new champ Jamie Gold. Even before his dominating final table appearance, there were allegations that he wasn't quite as glittery as he seemed at first glance. Defamer.com ran a story on August 14th calling into question Jamie Gold's claims of an impressive Hollywood client list as an agent, a list which included according to Gold, James Gandolfini of Sopranos fame and Lucy Liu of Ally McBeal and Charlie's Angels fame. According to letters received by Defamer.com, Gold's most famous and successful client was in fact porn star Ron Jeremy.

There was also a widespread rumor that he intended to tip the dealers $1 Million if he won, a tip that obviously didn't happen, since the prize money has been effectively frozen. Gold later stated in a radio interview that he had no idea where that rumor began. Rumor also has it that 10-time WSOP Champion Johnny Chan is owed 10% of Gold's winnings for coaching him through the event.

What cannot be argued is that this is a very different WSOP Main Event Champion. He managed to beat out almost 9,000 competitors on poker's biggest stage, and for the first time in three years, the World Champion will represent an online site other than Pokerstars.com. Gold has none of the everyman appeal of Chris Moneymaker, the intellectual aplomb of Greg Raymer, or the rakish charm of Joe Hachem.

Gold is a brash, confident (perhaps even cocky) Hollywood-style champion, a new breed of champion. According to Bodog.com president Calvin Ayres, "Jamie truly epitomizes the Bodog spirit. We are incredibly proud of his achievement and thrilled by his performance in the tournament."

We'll see in the upcoming weeks exactly what that means for Jamie Gold, Crispin Leyser, Bodog and poker in general.

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