Jamie M. Gold is an American television producer, a talent agent, and poker player, based in Malibu, California. He is known for winning the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event and currently divides his time between his activities as president of production for the entertainment company, Buzznation and poker competition, primarily major tournaments. He was born August 25, 1969.
Jamie Gold was born in Kansas City, Missouri as Jamie M. Usher and moved to Manhattan as a young child with his mother. His name was changed by court order to Jamie M. Gold following his mother's divorce and remarriage to Dr. Robert Gold. The family moved to Paramus, New Jersey where Gold was raised by his mother and her second husband. Jamie Gold graduated from Paramus High School in 1987. He later earned a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Albany in 1991, and studied entertainment law at UCLA.
Jamie Gold began his career in the entertainment business at 16 as an intern at the J. Michael Bloom & Associates Talent Agency. He became a talent agent before he was 21, but soon moved into management/production. Gold's clients have included Jimmy Fallon and Lucy Liu.
There is some speculation as to whether Jamie Gold was at least part of the inspiration for fictional Hollywood agent Ari Gold, a character on HBO's Entourage. This character is most likely based on real life super agent Ari Emanuel, who represents actor Mark Wahlberg, the show's executive producer. However, Gold did go to the same college as Entourage creator Doug Ellin, but they never attended SUNY at the same time and never knew each other. Gold believes Ari Emanuel is the basis of the character. In the Entourage pilot, the character's name was actually Jamie Gold, but HBO executives changed it to Ari Gold because of Jamie Gold.
Jamie Gold's interest in poker began as a youngster. His mother, Jane, was a keen poker player, and his grandfather was a champion gin rummy player. Gold's most serious efforts to improve his recreational poker exploits came about when he began working with former WSOP main event winners Johnny Chan and Chris Moneymaker on an upcoming television show, and Chan began to mentor Gold in poker.
In 2005, Gold began regularly playing in poker tournaments. In April 2005 at the Bicycle Casino, he won his first major no limit Texas hold 'em tournament, earning $54,225. Over the next twelve months, Gold had seven more in the money finishes in California tournaments.
A neighbor of 2000 WSOP main event winner Chris Ferguson, Jamie Gold has said in numerous interviews that Ferguson was one of the few pros to endorse his poker style during the 2006 main event tournament, which he eventually won. While many pros criticized Gold's play in the later stages of the tournament, Ferguson urged him to stick with his own perfected style as he progressed deep into the money. Gold favored pressuring all of the players at the table especially when playing position, (last to act in a betting round). Bluff magazine, a major poker trade publication has analyzed Gold’s winning poker strategies as follows: “He forced his tablemates to risk their entire stack time after time. If they reraised him, he either knew they were holding the nuts and folded, or he sniffed out a bluff and forced them all in,” thus "he transformed this strategy into an art form."
2006 World Series of Poker
At the 2006 WSOP, Gold maintained a significant chip lead from Day 4 onwards to win the World Series of Poker Main Event (No Limit Texas hold 'em, $10,000 buy-in), outlasting 8,772 other players. Excluding 4th place finisher Allen Cunningham, Gold had more casino tournament final table finishes than the rest of his final table opponents combined. Jamie Gold eliminated 7 of his 8 opponents at the final table.
Jamie Gold defeated Paul Wasicka heads-up, earning a record $12,000,000 when in the final hand his Q♠ 9♣ made a pair with the board of Q♣ 8♥ 5♥. Wasicka held 10♥ 10♠ and did not improve with the A♦ on the turn and 4♣ on the river.
Jamie Gold ate blueberries during the play of the 2006 WSOP main event final table and joked in a post-tournament interview that the blueberries were "brain food" and the reason he won.
Jamie Gold's WSOP win was marked by an uncanny ability to goad his opponents into either calling his bets when he had an unbeatable hand or folding to him when he was weak. He consistently told his opponents that he was weak or strong, telling the truth sometimes, and sometimes lying, with the net result of successfully deceiving his opponents most of the time. Prior to the 2006 WSOP Main Event, Gold had compiled a solid record in tournament competition, using lessons learned from poker legend and previous two time WSOP main event winner and owner of 10 WSOP bracelets, Johnny Chan.
Jamie Gold's "table talk", was both an asset and a source of criticism for his tendency to tell opponents his actual hand during play, contrary to WSOP rules. In one case at the final table, Jamie Gold actually flashed one of his hole cards to an opponent (a face card), creating enough uncertainty that his opponent folded the better hand. However, Jamie Gold was never penalized for any rules infraction. Prior to his elimination in the 2007 WSOP, Jamie Gold was issued a warning for his tactics.
As of 2008, Jamie Gold's total live tournament winnings exceed a record $12,100,000, and he was the first person to eclipse the $10,000,000 mark in tournament poker.
Immediately after his WSOP win, Gold called his step father, Dr. Robert I. Gold, DDS, who could not attend as he had suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease. Gold pledged to use his winnings to make his step father more comfortable. Jamie Gold's step father died four months later on December 13, 2006.
Just prior to the 2006 WSOP, Bodog.com Entertainment and Jamie Gold entered into a business relationship when Gold agreed to find celebrities willing to play in the main event under the Bodog banner in exchange for a paid entry into the main event. Gold partnered with Crispin Leyser to help with this task in exchange for half of Gold's winnings, according to Leyser. After Gold won, Leyser says that Gold reneged on the deal and had decided to keep the entire $12 million prize.
Leyser sued Jamie Gold and on August 22, 2006, Chief District Court Judge Kathy Hardcastle froze the payment of the funds as part of the ongoing legal dispute between Jamie Gold and Leyser. At a December court hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Roger L. Hunt rejected a motion by Jamie Gold's lawyers to lift an injunction set in September on the $6 million still at the tournament host, the Rio casino-hotel, and ordered the frozen funds be moved into an interest-bearing account. Hunt also indicated Leyser likely would win his claim to the $6 million. Jamie Jamie Gold did a radio interview on Rounders the Poker Show following his Main Event win where he mentioned his deal with Leyser. It was later entered into evidence for the lawsuit. On February 7, 2007, it was reported that the parties had settled for an undisclosed amount.
On January 25, 2007, Bodog ended their business relationship with Jamie Gold, citing their decision to cease all offline marketing initiatives in the U.S., and instead refocus their efforts on growing their entertainment brand in Europe and Asia. Despite that reason for ending their business relationship, Bodog still retained David Williams, Josh Arieh, and Evelyn Ng as Team Bodog members.
Following his success at the 2006 WSOP, Jamie Gold said he would bifurcate his time between business and poker pursuits.
In addition to television production deals in the hopper and Jamie Gold's frequent appearances on televised poker shows including episodes of NBC's Poker After Dark and in season 3 and 4 of GSN’s High Stakes Poker, Jamie Gold returned to defend his title at the 2007 WSOP, but was eliminated on the first day.
Jamie Gold has also participated in numerous poker tournaments that have been designed primarily to benefit charitable causes. Allowing himself to be auctioned off, making special appearances, or by purchasing buy-ins, Jamie Gold has been involved with a wide variety of causes, including WSOP “Ante Up For Africa”, Andy Roddick's charity poker tournament, and a few others.
Jamie Gold has also mentioned in several recent interviews his plans to create a charity poker tournament to benefit people affected with Lou Gehrig’s disease.