• WSOP Trades $12 Million for Gold Hands

    Date: 2006.08.21 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    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:

    A) 2-to-1
    B) 4-to-1
    C) 3-to-1
    D) None of the above

    Answer: D