2006 Main Event Champion Eyeing Second Bracelet
Back at the 2006 World Series of Poker, TV and film producer Jamie Gold found himself in the midst of arguably the most improbable run in the history of tournament poker. He assumed control of the chip lead on the third day of the 8,773-player main event and never lost it over the next seven days of action. The tournament still stands as the largest prize pool in poker history.
Since winning the main event for $12 million, Gold, now 45 years old, has cashed for just $73,694 in WSOP bracelet events. If you exclude his £27,150 cash in the 2007 WSOP Europe main event, Gold has had under $20,000 in cashes at the WSOP in Las Vegas since his bracelet. That’s the lowest out of any of the main event champions since Chris Moneymaker won in 2003.
However, the cold streak is over. Gold sat with one of the big stacks with two tables remaining in this week’s $1,500 no-limit hold’em event at the 2015 WSOP and eventually made the final table at around 8 p.m. local time in Las Vegas. Gold and his opponents were battling it out for a first-place prize of $531,037, but for Gold it’s also about validation and proving to himself that he can still compete at a high level on the same stage that made him a poker household name.
“I took the last six months to retool my game, so something is going right,” Gold told Card Player. “My game has changed completely, if it hadn’t I’d have no shot. I have tried to at least understand the way the greatest young players are playing the game. I do think they are so far ahead of the way the game was played before. You have to update your game every couple of years. People sit down at the table and constantly tell me that they know how I play from watching me nine years ago on TV. It’s a pretty ignorant thing to say. A lot of them say they feel like it was just yesterday, but it was really nine years ago. I have changed my game, but I still have so much to learn. I am getting some decent results. I do plan on making a comeback to poker.”
Gold still spends most of his time pursuing business ventures, some related to poker, some not, so playing has never really been a full-time gig, but he wants to play more at some point in his life. “When I retire maybe I can play poker full-time,” he said.
Gold loved to talk about his holdings during his historic main event run, and he often simply told the truth about his cards, revealed later during ESPN broadcasts. It often caused his opponents to make the wrong decisions, and sometimes just donate chips to the man who already had heaps of them. In one televised instance, Gold flashed his opponent a card during a hand, and the move worked to his advantage. Verbalizing his thought processes is something he still does, but to a lesser degree these days due to less of a tolerance for players talking about their cards during the hand.
It’s a change to tournament poker policy that many in the game have applauded, but Gold said that it makes poker on TV less entertaining for the casual fan. “Stale” is how he describes some coverage.
In a pot on Tuesday against poker pro Natasha Barbour, Gold opened to 6,000 and Barbour three-bet him to 17,000. According to WSOP live reporting, Gold asked her for a count on her stack, saying, “under 50 [thousand], right?” Barbour nodded that the estimation was correct.
Gold announced that he was all-in, and Barbour asked: “Abusing the bubble?” Gold responded truthfully, “I’m not bluffing for fifty,” and eventually said to the table that he had had A-K after his opponent folded A-K face-up. For Gold, this is all part of his approach to tournament poker.
“The chance that someone out-talks me is pretty slim,” Gold said. “They definitely can outplay me, but not out-talk me. I’ve pretty much got that down.”
On the Internet, poker fans often comment on Gold’s bluffing, which became famous in 2006. His lines were unorthodox, but they worked. Gold ran a bluff deep in the $1,500 that has one remembering not only his main event run, but also his big moves on GSN’s High Stakes Poker.
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