Jamie Gold came from nowhere to dominate the 2006 World Series of Poker main event.
Mentored by two time winner, Johnny Chan, Gold held the chip lead for the final 5 days of play - longer than any previous champion. He also walked away with the biggest tournament poker payout in history - $12 million.
An avid poker player, Gold grew up in a family of card players, with his mother, Jane, a longtime poker player and his grandfather a gin rummy champion. Gold played close to 40 hours a week in Los Angeles-area card rooms and in the 15 months prior to the WSOP had earned just under $100,000 in tournament winnings.
His WSOP win was fuelled by blueberries - with Gold constantly snacking from a bowl of berries throughout the tournament. This quirk seemed to compliment his somewhat arrogant style of play and helped him eliminate all but one of the players at the final table.
Following his main event win, Gold was involved in some controversy over a verbal agreement to share his winnings with another player. The disagreement was settled eventually, but not before Gold's reputation had suffered and endorsement opportunities had been missed. He had played the WSOP as a member of Team Bodog, and was signed to an endorsement contract that was terminated for undisclosed reasons in late 2006.
So far Jamie Gold has not had continued success on the tournament poker circuit, but considering the way he played to win his bracelet, it is only a matter of time before we see him grace another final table.
"I won because of the blueberries."
"He believed in me, He told me I could win this." - speaking of his mentor, Johnny Chan.