WSOP Trades $12 Million for Gold Hands
The world loves the last name Moneymaker, as in 2003 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Champion Chris Moneymaker. In 2003, Moneymaker led the WSOP pretty much wire-to-wire. Of course, the WSOP was only four days long then. This year, a gentleman with an equally appropriate name for poker, Jamie Gold — who began his career as a talent agent to the stars and is apparently the inspiration for HBO’s “Entourage” character Ari Gold — took the crown. Jamie led the WSOP wire-to-wire for a full eight days, claiming the $12 million-title last Friday morning. How did he do it? How did Gold win the 2006 WSOP and $12 million for first?
First, he played well; and second, he made some serious hands along the way. I was watching on Day 6 — with the blinds at $25,000-$50,000 — as Gold made it $400,000 to go with 8-7, and Prahlad Friedman moved all-in for $1.2 million total. Gold called, and the flop was 6-5-4! Forty minutes later, I walked by his table again and watched Gold take a pot with 10h-9s and a board of Jh-8h-7h-9h-5s. In this hand, he had flopped a straight AND turned a straight flush!
At the final table, I watched as he took down top-pro Allan Cunningham. When Michael Binger opened for $1.1 million, Gold called with Kd-Jd, and Cunningham moved all-in for $6.5 million with his pocket 10s. Binger folded, but Gold called. We all knew that this was going to be a key hand for Gold, as Cunningham was playing way above the rim and already had won a WSOP bracelet in no limit Hold ’em this year. The final board read A-K-8-7-3, giving Gold’s kings the winning hand and the unlikely victory over the 12-to-10 odds of Cunningham’s pocket 10s before the flop.
Three players now remained. Paul Wasicka ($14 million in chips) and Binger ($11 million in chips) were hanging around with Gold when the following hand came up. Gold called on the button with 4-3, Binger raised it $1.5 million more with Ah-10h, and Gold and Wasicka called. After a flop of 10c-6s-5s, Binger bet out $3.5 million with his top pair/top kicker and Gold moved all-in with an open-ended straight draw. Wasicka folded, and Binger called. For over $23 million in the pot, Gold hit a straight when a seven came up on fourth street. Wow, what a tough way to be eliminated for Binger! I didn’t really like the way that Gold played this last hand. Personally, I wouldn’t have called the raise with 4-3 before the flop — but it was successful.
The final hand came up when Gold made it $1.7 million to go with Q-9, and Wasicka smooth called with 10h-10s. The flop was Qc-8h-5h, and Wasicka bet out $1.5 million. Gold moved all-in and said, “If you cannot beat a queen do not call this bet.” Whereupon Wasicka called his last $11 million off instantly with his 10-10. Gold wasn’t lying, he did have a queen. And when the final board read Qc-8h-5h-Ad-4c, the title, the cash and the history all belonged to Gold.
I do like the way that Gold played this hand, as he put the last $13 million in as a huge favorite to win the pot. It must be said that Gold played many hands where he was a huge favorite. For example, twice he had Q-Q against an opponent’s J-J at the final table. I give Gold credit for playing a great game of poker over eight stress-filled days, and it certainly didn’t hurt that he seemed to make a lot of straights and flushes along the way. Congrats to Jamie Gold, the 2006 World Champion of Poker.
10-10 is favored by this much over Kd-Jd before the flop:
D) None of the above