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Jamie Gold

Jamie Gold - Agent of Controversy

Jamier Gold PokerJamie Gold was born on August 25, 1969, in Kansas City, Missouri. His birth name was Jamie M. Usher. When he was young, he moved with his mother to Manhattan. His last name was changed to Gold when his mother remarried to Dr. Robert Gold. His family later moved to Paramus, New Jersey where he graduated from high school. His first introduction to poker came from his mother who initially taught him to play. His grandfather, who was a champion gin rummy player, also contributed to young Gold’s early education.

Jamie Gold at UCLA

After high school, Jamie Gold attended The University of New York in Albany and graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree. He then moved to California to attend UCLA and study entertainment law. Gold already had some entertainment experience. When he was 16, he had an internship at the J. Michael Bloom & Associates Talent Agency.

Jamie Gold - Talent Agent

After UCLA, Jamie Gold became a successful talent agent working with some big name actors in Hollywood such as James Gandolfini, Jimmy Fallon, Kristin Davis, and Lucy Lui. He was the youngest agent in the business to be successful and by the time he turned 21, he was the head of the talent agency HMW’s Motion Picture/Television Department. He co-founded the management agency Gold/Bouchard in 1994.

Jamie Gold - JMG Management Gold

Two years later in 1996, Jamie Gold started up his own firm, JMG Management. Gold eventually segued from talent agent to television producer. His company put together several projects for production. One was a poker-themed show featuring World Series of Poker Champions Chris Moneymaker and Johnny Chan. While he worked with them, his interest in poker grew. He idolized Chan after watching the poker movie Rounders. Gold believed that Chan was one of the greatest players to have ever lived and constantly picked his brain for tips and strategies. Chan soon began to mentor Gold.

Jamie Golds Starts with Poker Tournaments

Jamie Gold started playing in poker tournaments in 2005. His first big win at a live tournament was at the Bicycle Casino playing No Limit Texas Hold’Em where he won $54,000. Knowing that he had what it took to be a top earner, he played in tournaments for the next year and finished in the money several more times.

Jamie Gold Plays at the World Series of Poker

In 2006, Jamie Gold entered the World Series of Poker as a member of’s team of celebrities that also included the actors Mekhi Pfifer and Dean Cain. He was a complete unknown but the poker lessons with Johnny Chan were about to pay off in a big way. Jamie Gold dominated the tournament. His aggressive style of play enabled him to build up a huge stack of chips. In a playing field with a staggering 8,772 entries, having a big stack of chips is critical to outlasting the constant number of players one has to face. Gold made it to the final table where his stack size was far above that of any other player’s. He was also one of two players at the final table that had any experience in large tournaments. The only exception was Allen Cunningham. Gold beat out the other finalists, including Paul Wasicka in heads-up, and won the largest prize in WSOP history, $12 million. Jamie Gold had an uncanny ability to read his opponents and bully them into pushing their chips all in when he held a strong hand or fold when he was weak. Along the way, he made a lot of enemies. His attitude was arrogant and snobbish. He continually broke rules and poker etiquette. He belittled his opponents and at one time flashed his cards for his opponent to see which is against tournament rules.

Jamie Gold - Winner of Largest Pot in WSOP

Jamie Gold will probably be known not as a solid player and winner of the largest pot in WSOP history but rather the controversy he stirred up. Prior to the 2006 WSOP, he entered a business arrangement with Gold was to use his connections in the entertainment industry to get celebrities to attend the event and wear the Bodog logo on their gear. In return, Bodog would pay his entry fee into the tournament. To accomplish this, Gold partnered with poker coach Crispin Leyser, who taught many well-known actors in Hollywood. Leyser agreed in return for half of whatever Gold won. In typical Las Vegas fashion, it was an informal agreement sealed with only a handshake and their word. Leyser held up his end of the bargain and managed to get a few of his celebrity clients to attend the tournament.

Jamie Gold & Crispin Leyser Scandal

Jamie Gold went on to win the event but ended up reneging on the deal and kept the entire $12 million. Crispin Leyser wound up sueing Jamie Gold and a court judge, claiming that Leyser had grounds for a case, froze half of the prize money until the dispute could be legally settled. The assets sat at the Rio Casino, the host for the tournament. Jamie Gold at first claimed that there had never been a deal with Crispin Leyser but evidence turned up to the contrary. Immediately after his WSOP win, Gold had done a radio interview for Rounders Poker Show and in it he mentioned his arrangement with Leyser. A recording from Leyser’s answering machine was also entered as evidence. In the message, Gold told Leyser that he would give him his half. Gold’s lawyers tried unsuccessfully to get the injuction on the winnings lifted. After the judge informed Gold that he would likely lose the case, Gold and Leyser settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

The controversy brought to light a lot of the back room deals and informal arrangements that go in Las Vegas behind the scenes. In Vegas, poker etiquette dictates that you are only as good as your word and many pros hold their word as binding. As in his performance at the WSOP, Jamie Gold casually disregarded etiquette.

Bodog Drops Jamie Gold

In January of 2007, before the lawsuit came to a conclusion, Bodog dropped the endorsement contract with Jamie Gold. They sited that they were expanding their market in the growing European market and ceasing their offline initiatives in the U.S. However, it is interesting to note that of all their sponsored players, Gold was the only one they dropped. They still retained contracts with Josh Arieh, David Williams, and Evelyn Ng.

Jamie Gold Current Status

Jamie Gold did not quit his day job as a Hollywood executive. He still works in the entertainment industry and continues to play poker. He has made appearances on NBC’s Poker after Dark and GSN’s High Stakes Poker. He has also played in several charity tournaments including WSOP’s Ante Up for Africa, which benefited the survivors of Durfar. He has also stated that he would like to start a charity tournament for patients of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, of which his stepfather was a victim. In 2007, Gold returned to the WSOP to defend his title but was eliminated on the first day. Before play, tournament directors issued him a warning on the rules about etiquette. Gold will hopefully go on to eclipse the controversy that follows him around and become known as a solid player instead of a deal-breaker.

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