The Price Tag on Jamie Gold’s Word

Jamiewinning

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Patrick Byrne, the new attorney for the embattled Jamie Gold, said, "We don’t believe Mr. Leyser is entitled to any money as a matter of law."

The operative words here, of course, are "as a matter of law."

Because if it was "as a matter of Jamie’s word," or "as a matter of principle," or "as a matter of not fucking with poker’s longstanding tradition of handshake deals," then Crispin Leyser would likely already have his half, and we’d be able to watch the Main Event on ESPN with at least some sense of enjoyment and a modicum of respect for Jamie Gold’s confident table talk and spectacular big stack play (and yes, his fortunate flops).

Instead, we watch the ESPN broadcast hoping somehow, someway it was all just a bad dream, that the past has miraculously changed and someone else like Allen Cunningham or Paul Wasicka (and definitely not Richard Lee) goes on to become the face of poker for the coming year. Someone who would rather talk poker than pitch crap reality TV shows. Someone who would rather stand behind his word than stand behind his lawyers. And someone who didn’t let money get the best of him before it was even his to claim.

Regardless of our opinion of Gold’s actions and the ugly lawsuit that has ensued, this isn’t a one-sided, black-and-white argument. Jamie Gold, himself, isn’t totally to blame…

Jamieandleysers_3Because if there’s one thing we’re fairly certain of, it’s that Jamie is surrounded by a lot of people outside the poker world who make a living giving him bad advice. People who couldn’t care less about the game and its traditions. People who put a price tag on Jamie’s word because they see a way out of it as a matter of law. People who think the chipleader four days before the final table deserves special treatment and a team of bodyguards. People who would fail to see the absurdity of watching Jamie Gold on Day 7 hastily walk by Greg Raymer and Joe Hachem in the hallway of the Rio as the past two champs casually conversed and signed autographs while Gold’s bodyguards push unsuspecting people out of the way–people who absolutely had no fucking clue who Gold was. And most recently, people who send out press releases on the business news wire boasting that Jamie Gold is the chipleader going into “the second-to-last day” of a three-day half-ass event with 82 players (Jamie busted the day the press release was sent out).

Indeed, the actions from Gold’s camp over the past two months suggests a shift towards an even greater bastardization and corporatization of poker. Whereas the past few years the focus has been on Average Joes rising up to fulfill every other Average Joe’s fantasy of winning the WSOP, we now have a Malibu Joe who walks around with bodyguards and an entourage and who talks about corporations being set up to manage payouts of pre-arranged deals; meanwhile lawsuits are filed over winnings in Federal Court and gold bracelets are pawned for hack reality shows sponsored by a Swedish skin-filler cream for women.

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And while we’re being hard on Gold, we’re not letting Leyser off the hook either. If it’s true that Gold and Leyser could have worked out a deal without going to court, then it should have happened. Poker deals belong in court about as much as they belong in writing, and as Jeff Haney, the respected poker journalist for the Las Vegas Sun, noted earlier last week, the Leyser v. Gold case may "signal the end of a more innocent age in big-time gambling . . . [w]hen a professional gambler would sooner take a corporate day job … than end up in a courtroom fighting about poker tournament winnings."

Interestingly enough, had Leyser given Gold time enough to set up his corporation to handle his WSOP winnings and pay Leyser his share, this whole mess might have been averted. In his phone message regarding the splitting of earnings, Gold seemed earnest about hooking Leyser up with his half, albeit at a later date and through a shell corporation. Sure, Steve Dannenmann didn’t feel the need to do this last year, but that’s just one of the reasons why Dannenmann is beloved as an ambassador to the game and Gold is currently the opposite of beloved as an ambassador to the game. Point is, it seems like Leyser hit the panic button, and because he freaked, we’ll likely never know whether Gold was going to give him his share after he worked out some tax scheme–or screw him entirely. Now that the case is before the court, Gold’s lawyer has no choice but to argue that Leyser’s entitled to jack squat, at least as a matter of law

Which is a shame. On his march to win the 2006 WSOP ME, one of Jamie Gold’s biggest assets was the power of his words at the poker table. His words had value. His words persuaded people to do things he wanted them to for the benefit of his game.

Unfortunately, away from the poker table, Jamie Gold’s words have done nothing but harm to the game, because we know now there’s a price to them. And poker is left in a worse place than it was just two months ago because of it.

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28 Responses

  1. snake

    September 21, 2006 3:39 pm, Reply

    yeh slim I had a hard time getting by that as well…while i understand the point he was trying to make..the use of the word innocent is pretty funny

  2. Kajagugu

    September 21, 2006 9:48 pm, Reply

    The more I watch the WSOP ME, the more I cringe at Gold’s lack of class. I think he crosses the line several times as far as trying to collude with other players. I haven’t seen anyone as lucky before including online.
    The best part is his mother sweating him on every hand with no clue as to what’s going on. He calls a short stack and loses and she is frantic with “Jaime lost?!?!”.
    I was really hopinf Cunningham would win it. Too bad.

  3. card player boy

    September 22, 2006 9:48 am, Reply

    I think Gold’s intentions were good at the start, but like you said, he’s been getting horrible advice from people outside of the game.
    One thing however that can be disputed about your commentary is the reason why Gold had bodyguards. In a realistic world, someone who stands to make a ridiculous sum of money has a right to be concerned about his or her safety. Look at Raymer’s attack while on his way back to his hotel room…you wouldn’t think something like that could happen right?
    Truth be told, it’s not that far out of scope that someone could want to do the small guy harm so he couldn’t cash. We’ve seen crazier things happen, i.e. Nancy Kerrigan (spelling?).
    I’m not justifying his court actions or how he has taken poker back a step (at least for the moment), I’m just saying not everything is black and white and things like this can easily be manipulated to make him look worse than he already does. In my opinion, he should have had two small black belts instead of two huge guys, but you can’t blame him for wanting to feel safe. Threats are threats and you have to realize the world is full of crazy people.
    I also long for simpler days of some of our past champions my friends.
    Excellent post gentlemen.

  4. Wilson

    September 22, 2006 10:16 am, Reply

    Only wankers have bodyguards…especially to go to the bathroom during breaks at the WSOP. and it takes even more of a wanker to have multiple bodyguards and all wearing suits with tags that say “bodyguard” or “security” rather than wearing plain clothes like most celebs bodyguards do.

  5. Cherie

    September 22, 2006 12:04 pm, Reply

    Applause for an excellent post!! This is a truly shameful thing to watch unfold – where the sport’s traditions are ignored. Sadly, the “hollywood-ization” of this sport and players is something that will infect like cancer. Not a pretty thing . . . .

  6. Jay "Bugsy" Siegel

    September 22, 2006 1:52 pm, Reply

    Great post! First I would like to say that “I trust anyone who DOESN’T play poker.” Secondly, in reality I’ve have made many handshake deals with other players and have not had any bad experiences except when it comes to people borrowing money. I don’t think I would even consider a handshake deal to be “enough” when we are talking about $12M. I doubt in the history of poker deals, none of them came close to $12M. This is where I think I would need something more than a player’s word or handshake.
    Thanks for pointing out that Crispen’s legal action was possibly pre-mature and eliminated the option of finding out what Jamie was actually going to do about his agreement. It’s a legal mess that will get resolved, not surprising given the amount in dispute. I’m eager to see the future developments.

  7. Jay "Bugsy" Siegel

    September 22, 2006 1:52 pm, Reply

    Great post! First I would like to say that “I trust anyone who DOESN’T play poker.” Secondly, in reality I’ve have made many handshake deals with other players and have not had any bad experiences except when it comes to people borrowing money. I don’t think I would even consider a handshake deal to be “enough” when we are talking about $12M. I doubt in the history of poker deals, none of them came close to $12M. This is where I think I would need something more than a player’s word or handshake.
    Thanks for pointing out that Crispen’s legal action was possibly pre-mature and eliminated the option of finding out what Jamie was actually going to do about his agreement. It’s a legal mess that will get resolved, not surprising given the amount in dispute. I’m eager to see the future developments.

  8. dude

    September 22, 2006 2:10 pm, Reply

    “I haven’t seen anyone as lucky before including online.” WTF! Including online? what is that supposed to mean?

  9. Ken Hollowell

    September 24, 2006 4:18 pm, Reply

    Jamie Gold is a business partner of mine for nearly 4 years now and I have always found his word to be honorable. We have continued to do business on a hand shake too.
    I have spoken with him several times since his winning of the WSOP in Las Vegas and know he will always do the right thing.
    If I were about to win $12 million, I would have body guards and lots of people around me too.

  10. greg

    September 27, 2006 4:40 pm, Reply

    None of this surprises me. If his “real-life” demeanor is anything like his unbelivably annoying TV personality, good riddance to him…

  11. Gentleman's Poker

    October 1, 2006 8:55 pm, Reply

    Gold has no class what so ever. He has given Poker a black eye and should get absolutely no respect in the game. Why he was not penalized for showing his card at the final table is beyond me. What a terrible thing to happen to poker. Being good to his word would have made him much more money than 6 million. I doubt he will get any endorsement deals and I am sure he won’t get any respect from the real Poker Pros on the tour. The guy is a fluke and got very, very lucky. Hollywood slime tactics really make me sick. If he thought he needed body guards at the tournament, then he better double them now because everyone I talk too would like to see this guy get just what he deserves.

  12. Gentleman's Poker

    October 1, 2006 8:55 pm, Reply

    Gold has no class what so ever. He has given Poker a black eye and should get absolutely no respect in the game. Why he was not penalized for showing his card at the final table is beyond me. What a terrible thing to happen to poker. Being good to his word would have made him much more money than 6 million. I doubt he will get any endorsement deals and I am sure he won’t get any respect from the real Poker Pros on the tour. The guy is a fluke and got very, very lucky. Hollywood slime tactics really make me sick. If he thought he needed body guards at the tournament, then he better double them now because everyone I talk too would like to see this guy get just what he deserves.

  13. GAMBLOG UK

    October 2, 2006 6:15 pm, Reply

    Leyser V Gold $12M WSOP Poker Tiff

    The world of gambling just got madder. Poker is big news, sometimes not for the right reasons. Jamie Gold is not helping. Bite the hand that feeds you, at your own peril I say.
    I don’t like welchers very much. Gamblers generally don’t. Lawyers are e…

  14. DJ WAGER

    October 2, 2006 10:32 pm, Reply

    How come no one is talking about Jamie Gold’s promise(during the main event) to give his winning’s to his father’s charity? He made that promise to get another player to fold and the player did.

  15. wiley

    October 3, 2006 1:39 pm, Reply

    interesting point and been thinking the same thing. while he is holing up in hip hotels, no doubt costing a pretty penny, it doesnt seem like all the money is going to his dad like he said it would…not that his dad probably needs all that money and not like he shouldnt be able to spend with it what he wants…and oh, he didnt say it was going to charity he said it was going to his dad directly…to take care of him (and Jamie while in hip hotels).

  16. Dawn

    October 12, 2006 8:44 pm, Reply

    You all are jealous, Jamie Gold is hot and he’ll be the hottest poker player ever and no one wants to face him because they know that if they play him they are beat. Everyone hates him cause he’s such a good poker player, Allen Cunningham is a kid playing against Jamie Gold.

  17. snake

    October 13, 2006 7:46 am, Reply

    no you’re right dawn…he’s dreamy. and so true that everyone hates him just because he’s such a good player…it’s like how everyone just despises Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein and others just because they’re such good players…ugghhh, we so hate ’em because of that.

  18. Matt

    October 21, 2006 10:38 am, Reply

    Nice of you to have your boyfriend post and call you HOT Jaimie…your an arrogant DICK…your game was luck…and of course who couldn’t bully the stacks after the horseshoe that was up your gay ass..

  19. poker fan

    December 8, 2006 4:05 pm, Reply

    V=Jaime Gold is a donkey. As for how lucky he was in the series, it is poker and a lot of the game comes down to simple luck. We can’t hate him for being lucky, but we sure can all not like him for the way he handles himself on and off the table. I feel sorry for the guy; he has no class and no place in the poker world. Our best bet is to let time pass, because we will NEVER hear of Jaime Gold winning another major poker tournament in his entire life. Luck will get you there once, but without skill and knowledge you will never taste victory again, and as we all witnessed in the series Mr. Gold was just a lucky boy with no real poker skills.

  20. eric

    December 23, 2006 3:17 pm, Reply

    ok i never do this(comment jg topics) but i feel the same way a lot of people do about jg, before i start whats with the issue of 1/4 mil being given to jg on like day 3 or 4, but what the hey right its only a quarter million on day three or four was it? its not like that can help anyones confidence in making bold moves in the me of the wsop. fckn jg has no class when it comes to poker, i mean cmon pay the 6 mil. bro, your reppin a business where your word is golden, read barry’s book a hole. if only you he kept his fucking mouth shut, and played like a gentlemen, people might respect you, and by the way every fucking day i can, me and other hopefulls wait for you to play in the high limit side of commerce, where the fuck are you jg? you lost your hunger to become a champ jamie, but this is good this happened, most good players have to go years on learning how to become successful when it comes to this business, and the world just handed this selfish no good man 12 mil, well after taxes and his promise it might only be 4 or 5 mil, so its like the moneymaker effect, over night success, oh yah congrats on that jg, but fuck it, invest your money well, and im sorry about your dad, at least he doesnt have to go on knowing youre making him look bad, give jg, give to als charities like you said, give leyser his money and work harder on your game and emotional stability, you got a target on your forehead from all these haters just like me, still waitin on a daily for you to show at commerce, lets play a mixed game jg, can you handle it? or is texas hold em all you know? prolly. you fuckin hoax, people sweat, bleed, cry, try and try again to become successful at this, and you still accept handouts like the quarter mil. by the way am i the only one who thinks jg looks like a burn victim? i cant beleive jg gave me this much energy to write this much about how much he sux, my hater meter just hit the fn roof. i fuckin hate myself for it too, well at least for the rest of the day. americas hottest mom?? gl with that you need a fuckin wife, to get ur fuckin head on strait.

  21. dotthebot

    December 30, 2006 11:22 am, Reply

    There was an innocent age of bigtime gambling?
    Anyone got a link? I want to record it in my favorites along with “Bigfoot Sightings”

  22. Joe

    March 1, 2007 2:55 pm, Reply

    I’ve been playing poker for years and I have never seen such disregard for poker’s basic etiquette.He should of been penalized a number of times for talking about his hands during play. I hope that in the future poker tournament directors don’t let this happen again!Remember one thing,even donkeys get lucky from time to time and he won on pure luck alone! After watching Jamie gold play with absolutely no class it made me sick seeing him win.I feel sorry for Johnny Chan because he was associated with such a louse. I could tell he was embarrassed by the way JG was comporting himself and couldn’t wait to get away from this guy. Hey ESPN stop showing reruns, I’m sick of seeing this idiot on TV.

  23. meas

    September 9, 2007 9:21 pm, Reply

    People believe stories too much. Tomorrow if they portrayed Julia Roberts as a drug addict you would believe it. The lawsuit only took a day to unfold and Gold ended up giving up the half of it. He never disputed that he made the deal. They only never decided on a time which is why he was sued. He’d never played in a tournament before. If millions of people were scrutinizing your every moment and you had a chance to win 12 million dollars, do you think you would be a perfect person after being in the game a mere few months?
    Cut the guy a break and try thinking about living in his shoes for a while. so what if he was an amateur and got a lot of luck? I think it was a famous poker player who said the game was half luck and half talent. We all know that it is. We all catch lucky cards sometimes while other people suck out. Get over it. Stick to the things you know about personally and that includes you journalists who only know the stroy from hearsay.

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