The partnership between Jamie Gold and ACED Poker that was announced in February of 2009 came with much speculation as to why he signed with a relatively unknown online poker site. Rumors swirled that the compensation he received was in the millions, though no numbers were ever substantiated. But only months later, in late April, Gold and ACED parted ways, again with quite a bit of conjecture and not many answers.
When Gold won the 2006 World Series of Poker main event and the $12 million that accompanied the victory, he obtained a sponsorship deal with Bodog Poker that ended more quickly than most expected. Some said it had to do with the lawsuit from Bruce Crispin Leyser and the negative publicity that came with the eventual settlement, but no matter the reason, Bodog nixed the contract with Gold. He went without sponsorship since that time, which was the reason for the media attention when Gold signed with ACED.
Gold represented ACED at each poker tournament and appearance he made subsequent to the signing and received the most attention when his ACED team won the Dream Team Poker team title in March. But somewhere along the way, the deal soured, and by the beginning of May, it was confirmed that Gold was no longer affiliated with the site.
As with previous Gold dealings, this alliance ending comes with speculation and a serious lack of clarity. A spokesperson for Gold mentioned that ACED did not hold up its end of the deal to put forth a six-month advertising campaign for the poker website using Gold’s image. Rumors have swirled that Gold was not paid - supposedly in part - for his sponsorship, and money was the center of the dispute that led to the breakup.
In the middle of the dispute is Lisa Wheeler, who runs a publicity company that assisted ACED and Gold in several events. She most notably helped organize an Oscar night fundraiser in Beverly Hills, which was a highly publicized fundraising project that involved Gold and a poker tournament to benefit Children Uniting Nations. According to a comment from Wheeler on Pokerati, she discussed her displeasure with ACED:
“Take it from me. Aced got me for a lot of work, didn’t pay for it, and didn’t live up to their side of the contract. I do know that Jamie went all out to promote the site, and paid for much of the travel to Ireland. Remember the Oscar party. Well, that ended up to be another pro-bono effort on behalf of GreasieWheels. Aced.com is just another introductory online poker room that duped a few of us into supporting nothing more than a publicity stunt. These jokers are impossible to track down, so chalk another one up for the scammers.”
ACED Poker Manager Brandon Berndt responded to a separate media outlet and said that Wheeler’s comments were unjust and incorrect. He noted that ACED was trying to repair disagreements and threatened to sue Wheeler for slander regarding similar comments she made to Poker News Daily about the site’s disorganization and poorly run company.
But according to Gold, any agreements with ACED are solidly defunct, and he will no longer be representing ACED in any form.
Days after the news broke of Gold’s departure from the sponsorship, it was announced that he signed with a representation agency named Poker Icons. The international agency that represents numerous poker players like Annette Obrestad and Juha Helppi is being called a partnership. Gold noted that the company’s “international presence and expertise in poker makes this relationship fit perfectly.”