The biggest payout in the history of poker – US$12 million – was won in 2006 by a Los Angeles television producer named Jamie Gold.
Jamie Gold finally triumphed over 8,700 other players in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in the early hours of 11 August 2006. The final table play lasted 14 gruelling hours.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Jamie Gold’s mother, Jane, was an avid player of poker. His grandfather was a champion player of gin rummy.
Jamie Gold became more involved in playing poker when he worked with Johnny Chan and Chris Moneymaker, former WSOP Main Event winners, on a television show. Apparently poker legend Johnny Chan gave Gold important pointers on improving his play.
Jamie Gold entered his first poker tournaments as late as 2005 and, in April that same year, won $54,225 at California’s Bicycle Casino, the second largest poker cardroom in the world.
Chris Ferguson, main event winner of the 2000 WSOP, was Jamie Gold’s neighbour and provided full support during the 2006 tournament. Ferguson, unlike many professional poker players, completely endorsed Gold’s playing style of pressuring all of the players at the table when playing position.
Major poker trade publication Bluff Magazine had this to say of Gold’s strategy: “He forced his tablemates to risk their entire stack time after time. If they re-raised him, he either knew they were holding the nuts and folded, or he sniffed out a bluff and forced them all in… he transformed this strategy into an art form.”
After his victory at the 2006 WSOP, Jamie Gold made several television appearances on poker shows, among them Poker After Dark with NBC and High Stakes Poker with GSN.
Jamie Gold has publicly declared his intention to create a charity poker tournament for the benefit of people suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease – the disease that took the life of his step-father. He has also participated in charitable poker tournaments such as Ante Up for Africa.