World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Jamie Gold and Crispin Leyser have agreed to settle out of court a lawsuit claiming that Gold owed half of his $12 million first place prize to Leyser. In a joint statement released to the Associated Press, Leyser and Gold "agreed the matter should be resolved ‘without litigation.'
‘Jamie always intended on sharing his winnings with Crispin,' the statement says. ‘Jamie and Crispin are happy to report they have fully settled this matter. They are pleased to be closing this chapter and look forward to continued success.'"
Gold defeated nearly 9,000 entrants in the largest World Series Main Event ever, but has been unable to claim his full prize since a Nevada District Judge ordered Harrah's to freeze payout of $6 Million of the prize pending resolution of Leyser's suit.
The crux of the suit between Leyser and Gold hinged on Leyser assisting Gold in finding "celebrities" to wear Bodog.com logo wear in the Main Event last summer. Leyser contended that he was promised 50% of any winnings Gold received from his play in the tournament, eventually turning into the richest tournament backing deal in history.
Key to Leyser's case was a voicemail that he saved on his telephone from Gold before the final table of the tournament promising to pay Leyser "your half." Recent developments in the case were not looking good for Gold, as U.S. District Court Judge Roger L. Hunt rejected a motion by Gold's lawyers to lift an injunction set in September on the $6 million still at the tournament host, the Rio casino-hotel, and ordered the frozen funds be moved into an interest-bearing account. Hunt also indicated Leyser likely would win his claim to the $6 million.
Gold, a former Hollywood agent and small-time tournament player before winning the biggest No Limit Hold ‘En tournament in history, is having a less than stellar beginning to his 2007. He was recently cut loose from Team Bodog, in a move that the company describes as consistent with their reduction in US marketing. US Players Josh Arieh and David Williams remain sponsored players on Team Bodog.