About Jamie Gold

Jamie Gold
Name Jamie Gold
Current Residence Malibu Calif.
Born Aug. 25, 1969
Birth Place Paramus N.J., US

Of all the World Series of Poker Main Event Champions, Jamie Gold may be the one whose taken the most heat in the tournament's entire 38-year history.

But instead of shrinking off into the sunset, Gold has stuck around: he's appeared on High Stakes Poker; shown up on NBC's Poker After Dark; and despite being dropped by his sponsor, Bodog.com, he's still making the rounds of the major tournament circuit.

So here's the question on everyone's mind: is he a poker donkey, as many like to call him, and a glutton for punishment, or a legitimate poker pro with an undeserved bad rap and a recent run of bad luck?

The truth: Likely somewhere in between.

The simple story: Jamie Gold is a Los Angeles-based television producer who got his start in cards in a competitive household with his poker-playing mother and his grandfather, who was a gin rummy champion.

After getting his bachelor's degree from the University of New York at Albany, where he graduated with honors, Jamie moved to California in 1991 to study entertainment law at UCLA. Having obtained valuable work experience in the entertainment business when he interned at the J. Michael Bloom & Associates Talent Agency in New York City at the age of 16, Jamie immediately found work in L.A. as a talent agent, and over the years was an employee of several high-profile agencies.

He soon became known as the youngest franchised agent in the business - a feat he achieved at the age of 21 - and went on to co-found an agency in 1994. In 1996 he started his own firm, JMG Management.

Known around Hollywood for discovering new talent and developing the careers of up-and-coming artists, Gold has worked with actors James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), Jimmy Fallon (Saturday Night Live), Lucy Liu (Charlie's Angels) and Kristin Davis (Sex and the City).

Recently, however, Gold quit his career as a talent manager and began working as a television producer full-time. JMG, a small and personal company, has a slew of projects in development, including an untitled poker show featuring 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker and 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Johnny Chan, a constant fixture at the 2006 Main Event final table as a friend and tutor to Gold, and who cheered the champ on to victory together with Jamie's mother.

Jamie entered the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event as a member of the Bodog.com celebrity team alongside actors Mekhi Phifer (ER) and Dean Cain (Lois and Clark). An unstoppable force at the tables throughout the event, Gold left his fellow celebrities in the dust as he surpassed player after player to make it the final table.

The truth of the matter is Gold dominated the last four days of play, continually increasing his chip stack at the expense of several more seasoned players, and throwing the weight of the big stack around like it was second nature.

No one could stop him, including respected pro and final-table competitor Allen Cunningham, one of seven players at the final table Gold himself knocked out.

And all of a sudden, Jamie Gold was poker's World Champion.

In the wake of his win, Jamie signed a two-year endorsement and production contract with his WSOP 2006 sponsor, Bodog.com. The agreement included the standard tournament buy-ins and promotional appearances as well as a $1 million television production deal. In addition, Jamie was to host his own table on Bodog.com, where he was to play frequently with Bodog.com players.

The deal wasn't to last, however, as Bodog Poker dropped Gold as a spokesperson in January 2007.

Also in the wake of his win: Fellow poker player Crispin Leyser filed a lawsuit staking claim to half of Gold's winnings, and Harrah's froze his full payment until the matter was settled. Leyser claimed Gold agreed to pay him half for getting celebrities to wear Bodog.com gear; Gold claimed he agreed to a payout, but it certainly wasn't half, despite a voicemail he left on Leyser's phone indicating otherwise.

It didn't do much for his already somewhat maligned persona, both on the felt and off, and neither has a slew of mediocre finishes in all the tournaments he's played in since the WSOP.

Nonetheless, two years later, the lawsuit is settled and Gold is still a fixture around the poker circuit.

Gold, in his first post-settlement interview, claims it was all a misunderstanding and easy to resolve once the two sat down together, although he says the settlement doesn't allow him to reveal the details.

In the same interview, he fessed up to a couple of etiquette breaches during the WSOP that also may have contributed to the vitriol directed at him by some of his fellow pros: He flashed a card to a competitor during a hand; he told a friend what he was holding so he wouldn't bust him out. He's apologized, and asked for people to forgive him.

So the Jamie Gold story continues. And despite his post-WSOP results, there are some signs in his past that indicate he does have some poker chops:

Prior to his World Championship win, Gold played live poker 40 hours a week at the Commerce, Bicycle and Hustler Casinos near L.A., and almost never competed online. A self-proclaimed poker book junkie, Gold has honed his skills in high-stakes cash games over the last several years and has placed in a slew of tournaments in the L.A. area, including in the Bicycle Casino's Stars and Stripes tournament in 2006 where he won first place and $60,000.

Aside from his $12 million first place finish at the 2006 WSOP, Gold has a number of other in-the-money finishes under his belt, such as a fifth-place finish in the $300 No-Limit Hold'em event at the 2006 Winnin' o' the Green at the Bicycle Casino; a seventh-place finish in the $100 No-Limit Hold'em event at Larry Flynt's Grand Slam of Poker IV at the Hustler Casino in 2005; and an eighth-place finish in the $500 No-Limit Hold'em event at the Ninth Annual National Championship of Poker at Hollywood Park Casino in 2005.

So who knows? There may be some game in Gold after all.

At the very least, because of his newfound celebrity, we'll definitely get to watch it all play out.

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