Jamie Gold took down the biggest winner’s prize in the history of the World Series of Poker Main Event. The 2006 Main Event set WSOP records for both attendance (8,773 players) and first-place prize money ($12 million).
Gold’s path to the championship included regular displays of speech-play antics, with a signature style that puts Gold in a one-of-a-kind category. Even 15 years later, Gold still remains as one of the most memorable WSOP Main Event winners of all time.
Let’s take a look at the life and poker career of the former Main Event champ, including what happened to Jamie Gold after the 2006 WSOP:
Jamie Gold’s Tournament Results and Biggest Cashes
As of May 2021, Jamie Gold’s career poker tournament earnings total $12,592,641. Gold’s five biggest tournament scores include:
- 2006 World Series of Poker $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship (1st – $12,000,000)
- 2016 WSOP Circuit Bicycle Casino $1,500 Main Event (2nd – $139,820)
- 2015 World Series of Poker $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em (5th – $120,952)
- 2007 WSOP Europe $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship (35th – $54,672)
- 2005 Stars & Stripes $200 No-Limit Hold’em (1st – $54,225)
Take a look at Gold’s entire history of tournament poker results at his Hendon Mob page.
Jamie Gold’s Memorable Hands
Gold’s victory in the 2006 WSOP Main Event vaulted him into poker stardom. His aggressive style, showmanship, and suddenly huge bankroll made Gold the perfect character to insert into the mix on High Stakes Poker Season 4.
One particular pot pitting Gold against Sammy Farha still stands as one of the most absurd hands in poker history (hand begins at 16:31):
Gold limps with K♠ K♥ to begin the hand, which plays out at $600/$1,200 stakes. Action folds to Farha, who looks down at A♠ A♦. Farha raises to $4,200, and Gold calls.
Farha has position on Gold in the hand, and Antonio Esfandiari calls for Gold to bet in the dark. Farha agrees to bet dark if Gold checks. Before the flop even comes out, Gold checks, and Farha puts $10,000 in the pot.
Gold implores the dealer to hold off on dealing the flop, and raises to $30,000. Still without a flop on the board, Farha goes into the tank and questions Gold’s unconventional line in the hand.
Farha eventually elects to three-bet to $90,000, and Gold calls. Since that exchange took place in the flop betting round, the dealer then puts the flop and the turn on the board at the same time.
Those cards come out T♦ 6♠ 9♣ 4♣, keeping Farha in the lead. Gold checks, and tries to convince Farha to just check down the rest of the hand. Farha starts counting out a bet instead, settling on $100,000. Gold calls, pushing the pot to $391,300.
The river brings the T♥, and Gold checks, promising to call whatever bet Farha puts out. Farha lets Gold off easy, checking back and collecting the nearly $400k pot.
No written description of this High Stakes Poker hand can truly explain the madness of the once-in-a-lifetime heads-up pot. Be sure to watch how this played out in its entirety.
Clinching the 2006 WSOP Main Event
Gold’s legendary speech play was the story of the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event. He kept up that image all the way through the final hand, with the biggest prize in Main Event history on the line.
Gold and Paul Wasicka are heads-up for the championship when the following hand begins:
Gold limps with Q♠ 9♣ to begin the hand. Wasicka raises to 1.3 million with T♠ T♥, and Gold makes a quick call.
The flop comes Q♣ 8♥ 5♥, and Wasicka bets 1,500,000 into the 2,600,000 pot. Gold, who has a massive chip lead at this point, immediately moves all-in with his top pair of queens.
Gold quickly tells Wasicka that he knows Wasicka doesn’t have a queen, and that Gold has the hand locked up. Gold used that technique many times en route to the Main Event final table, balancing truth-telling and lying in legendary fashion throughout the tournament.
Wasicka puts Gold on a draw, and admits that Gold’s speech talks him into calling. The turn and river fall A♦ and 4♣ , and Gold clinches the biggest first-place payout in WSOP Main Event history.
Life After The Main Event for Jamie Gold
Gold’s 2006 WSOP Main Event victory was good for a $12 million payday, but the actual distribution of that eight-figure sum ended up as a complicated matter. Just weeks after the win, Gold was sued by Los Angeles television producer Bruce Crispin Leyser.
Leyser contended that Gold agreed to split any Main Event earnings with Leyser, in an arrangement that involved Leyser bringing celebrities to the Main Event and wearing Bodog advertising. The matter played out in court throughout the latter half of 2006, before Gold and Leyser settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.
While it’s unknown how much of the $12 million Main Event score Gold retained, his ventures into televised high-stakes cash games often turned into highly-publicized big losses. Gold often tangled with poker’s best from the poker boom era on shows like High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark.
While Gold was a fixture on poker’s most prominent shows through the first half of 2008, his public presence significantly diminished after that. Apart from an appearance in the 2010 NBC National Heads-Up Championship, Gold’s only made a handful of runs in recorded poker tournaments from 2010 through mid-2015.
Gold’s career on the felt experienced somewhat of a revival in June 2015, with the former Main Event champ making a fifth-place showing in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event at the 2015 WSOP. That result yielded a $120,952 payday, at the time the second-largest of Gold’s career.
He nearly pulled off a WSOP Circuit Ring win months later, finishing second in the 2016 WSOP Circuit Bicycle Casino $1,500 Main Event. Gold took down $139,820 for that runner-up showing.
Gold still appears at the annual WSOP in Las Vegas from time to time, including several tournaments at the 2019 WSOP. No matter how many years pass, Gold’s run to glory at the 2006 WSOP Main Event will live on in poker lore forever, as no one can ever quite match the speech play display put on by Gold throughout the tournament.