Jamie Gold is most familiar to the general audience of poker fans for having won the World Series of Poker Main Event back in 2006. At the time, it was the largest prize in poker, shooting Gold to the top of the charts in terms of career winnings. Almost 10 years after his milestone win, Gold makes far fewer headlines for his poker play these days, but continues to be an excellent ambassador for the game mainly through his charity work.
A brief scroll through Jamie’s Twitter feed and a perusal of his website, www.jamiegold.com, are testament to his commitment to using the power of his poker celebrity for noble, charitable purposes. In fact, as you can see by the accompanying image, he’s even branded himself as “the poker philanthropist”.
Here at Cardplayer Lifestyle, we’ve long been proponents of charity poker activities, so we naturally took a keen interest in Jamie’s work to benefit worthy causes and organizations. Jamie was kind enough to answer some questions and let us know some specifics of what he’s usually up to away from the felt. Have a look, below.
When did you start doing poker charity work? How much of your time do you devote to working with/for charitable causes?
I’ve always supported certain causes but it was after the 2006 WSOP that I started being asked to host or appear at most of the events. I also decided to dedicate most of my time over the last 10 years to work for the causes I believe in the most. I’m now dividing my time between business, poker and philanthropy.
What are the main charities you are currently involved with and why have you chosen to work with (each of) them specifically?
There are too many to list here but as my dad died from ALS, my grandfather from cancer and my great grandfather from Parkinson’s those would be some of the most important ones to me. I donate as much of my time and energy I can as one way of giving back and helping the world, always looking for ways to effect positive change.
What role do you play when taking part in charity poker events?
It’s different in each case, but in general I will host the events, and often be fully involved in every aspect from planning to execution, PR and outreach. We shall see.
Do you have any sort of personal goals you want to achieve with your charity poker work? (e.g., raise $1 million a year, etc.)
This month will my 229th and 230th charity event over the last 10 years and my original goal was to help raise at least $1 billion by time I’m done. What matters most is how many people are helped and research we support. I feel good about the path I’ve chosen.
(Ed. note: Here’s a partial list of charity poker events Jamie has been involved in over the years.)
Besides the obvious good feeling of doing for others, what are the most enjoyable parts of doing charity poker work for you?
The events themselves are a joy, once all the hard work is done it’s nice to be able to share the experience of having everyone working towards a common goal.
We’re coming up on the 10-year anniversary of your WSOP Main Event win. It seems as though you’ve found your niche and your calling as a charitable poker ambassador. What do you hope to achieve by the time the 20th anniversary of your big win rolls around?
I really haven’t thought about that. This year is a very busy and productive one for me, I won’t be thinking that far ahead.
Anything else you want to tell the poker fans out there before we wrap it up?
Besides all of the charity work, I’m proud of how well our www.YouStake.com company has done over the last year and excited to be the newest ambassador for the World Poker Fund.
Leading up to this interview piece, Jamie and I engaged in a good amount of correspondence. I must say that his humility and passion for charitable poker work were sincere and genuine, which was incredibly heartwarming.
Jamie’s website is constantly being updated with new charity poker events that he’ll be attending and promoting, so we wish him luck and much good fortune moving forward. Perhaps, some day in the future, I’ll be able to share with you all a personal experience after having attended and experienced such an event.