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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now - Jamie Gold

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

Love him or hate him, for one magical week in Las Vegas, he was the best poker player in the world, winning a record of 12 million dollars.  His antics during the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event continue to be discussed today – from his showing a hole card to an apparent friend to often times telling exactly what cards he held in the middle of the hand.  Also, while he won the 12 million dollars, it’s a mystery of how much of that money he actually saw, considering he was involved in a lawsuit with a former friend, who said that Gold had promised him 50 percent of his winnings.  Despite these critiques, Gold has continued to show up at many of the big tournaments and cash games, always with a positive attitude.  Where the Saga of Jamie Gold will continue is anyone’s guess, but his route to get here is just as interesting as any of the other players we’ve covered in our “Where Are They Now” series.

Each poker player has their own unique introduction to the game.  Some players took it up late in their career while some were taking it up around the same time they learned how to walk.  Gold, who was originally born Jamie Usher but took the last name of his step father after his parents divorced, may just have them beat.  Upon entering the world on August 25, 1969 in Kansas City, Missouri, he was greeted by his poker player mother and his gin rummy champion grandfather.  Gold enjoyed the game as a youngster, but he enjoyed reading about poker and learning about it probably more than he enjoyed playing it.  For the most part, Gold put his poker playing aspirations on the backburner, while he tried to chase his other dream, which was being a Hollywood agent.

When most kids are just learning how to drive, Jamie Gold took a job as an intern at just 16 years old at the prestigious J. Michael Bloom & Associates Talent Agency.  While learning the ropes of the entertainment business he continued his education, earning a Bachelor’s degree at the University of New York at Albany.  Wanting to be closer to Hollywood, Gold pursued his graduate degree at the University of  Los Angeles California.  While there he earned a degree in entertainment law.

At just 21 years old, Gold became the youngest agent ever for the Harter Manning Woo Talent agency.  While there, he became the agent for some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Lucy Liu, and James Gandolfini.  He also worked with big musical acts, including brother and sister combo Ray-J and Brandy.  Around 2005 Gold started working with one of the most recognizable faces in poker, Johnny Chan.   It was while working with Chan that he began to become interested in poker again, something he hadn’t really thought about since he was a kid.  Because Chan and Gold hit it off so well, Chan agreed to give Gold some lessons, lessons of course that would eventually amount to the tune of 12 million dollars.

Gold started playing at the Bicycle Casino, a place he could learn as quickly as possible, as “The Bike” is filled with poker pros.  However, this didn’t seem to intimidate the novice, as he began to place in tournaments as soon as he started them.  In his second tournament that he placed in, in April of 2005, he won a 200 dollar buy-in event for $54,225.  Over the next year he won over 45,000 more, placing in seven tournaments.  Gold seemed to be peaking at the right time, just before entering in his first WSOP event, the Main Event.

To suggest Gold was a front runner during the Main Event would be an understatement.  Although there was a record 8,773 participants, the name that was atop the leaderboard for the majority of the tournament was Jamie Gold.  By Day 4, Gold had two times as many chips as second place, and at the final table he was a machine, knocking out seven of the eight players sitting with him.  By the time he was heads up with Paul Wasicka, winning the bracelet was elementary.  With over a 12 to 1 chip lead, Gold called Wasicka’s all-in with a Q-9 offsuit.  Wasicka held pocket tens, but when the flop brought a ten, with no help on the final two streets for Wasicka, it was all over.  Yet, the celebration was short-lived.

Before Gold could even enjoy a single dollar of his winnings, the money was frozen by a judge because a fellow poker player and business associate said Gold owed him half his winnings, based on a conversation they had before.  Crispin Leyser said that Gold had promised him half of his winnings because Leyser was able to find some Hollywood stars to participate in the WSOP, under the Bodog banner.  Because he was appreciative of Leyser’s help, he offered him 50 percent of his winnings.  Gold denied this, but a saved message on Leyser’s cell phone said otherwise.  Eventually they agreed to terms without taking it to court, a number that is undisclosed.  It’s also been reported that Gold also offered Chan 10 percent of his winnings for his help.  Despite the cuts being taken out of his winnings, Gold still walked away with a pretty nice chunk for his efforts.

Since his record win he has only managed to place in a few tournaments with the biggest being a $54,000 score for finishing 35th in the European World Series of Poker.  Gold has also been on just about every poker television show, including those on NBC and GSN, where he had somewhat positive results on the NBC show “Poker After Dark,” and he had disastrous results on “High Stakes Poker,” being felted time and time again.  This has added fuel to the fire to those who think Gold’s best assess at the WSOP Main Event was luck.  Luck or not, it’s every poker player’s dream.

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