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Other articles by
Robert Butt

Leaving Las Vegas

I wonder how many articles have used that title.

So the 8 foot high inflatable Milwaukee cans are deflated (and, I determine, going to take up too much space in the luggage to half inch before they're tossed into the trash). The stage is no longer set. Jamie Gold picks up a cool $12 million, as an American, pre-tax of course. I was going to write unlucky American, but I think that would be stretching things. Still the endorsement deals will no doubt make up for what the IRS gets its hands on. Prepare yourself for 12 months of bad puns with that name too (maybe less, next year's Series is going to be moved back a month or two although obviously the schedule hasn't been announced yet). For the way he played the final table he certainly deserves his bracelet. When the cards are falling for you, poker is a much easier game than when you have to work for every chip, but Jamie Gold finished chip leader on days 4, 5, 6, 7 and, most importantly, 8. Hell, by the time the final table had finished he had quite a few more chips than should have been in play - now that's good poker. There were only a couple of hours in the final 5 days of tournament play where he didn't hold the lead. If this was Doyle Brunson, or another legend of poker, I suspect we would be talking about this as one of the great achievements in poker history. We'll have to see how he goes on from here, one tournament is not of course a true measure of a poker player, but there has never been a longer one than this.

Gold started the day as he meant to go on, reraising Doug Kim's cut-off raise on the very first hand and taking down the pot. He used his stack very well, at the last break before dinner Joe Hachem's opinion was that he had been playing perfectly. One of Jamie's friends was telling me that he had actually made a mistake just before the break, calling off what was a tiny percentage of his stack when Allen Cunningham was doing his very best to get something out of his flopped top two.... the million or so he got was obviously much less than he was hoping for. When Gold made raises and got called he had the goods, but unless he was getting premium cards every other hand he was making people pass when holding some not so impressive cards. We'll have to wait to see just what he was holding for the TV coverage later, quite correctly, that's not public information whilst the tournament is being played.

He single handedly eliminated most of the final table, helped by getting queens twice when first Erik Friberg, then Richard Lee, held jacks. When your opponent seems to be cold decking everyone or drawing out on them you don't want to get involved yourself and that probably helped Jamie to dominate for so long. Allen Cunningham seemed to be able to keep his head together and play back at Gold and Gold gave him respect. He wasn't getting married to his hands after making a move and was willing to lay them down. It wasn't enough though - when Cunninham made what appeared to be a great squeeze play with tens Gold was able to make a big call with K,J of diamonds and the flop once again obliged him with the king putting him straight back into the lead and virtually sealing the tournament for him. Although Michael Binger and Paul Wasicka were still there Jamie Gold had a mountain of chips and unstoppable momentum.

                                                                                

Here is how the final table finished:

1st - Jamie Gold - $12,000,000
2nd - Paul Wasicka - $6,102,499
3rd - Mike Binger - $4,123,310
4th - Allen Cunningham - $3,628,513
5th - Rhett Butler - $3,216,182
6th - Richard Lee - $2,803,851
7th - Doug Kim - $2,391,520
8th - Erik Friberg - $1,979,189
9th - Dan Nassif - $1,566,858 

For the full results in the database, click here.

So the WSOP is over for another year, or perhaps 9 or 10 months. I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty of Mr. Gold in the meantime, but for most the World Series is a wonderful experience but not a profitable one. For them, their friends and family will be listening to the bad beat stories for a while, and probably not be wanting to. Overheard in the corridors outside the Amazon room a few days ago, before we hit the money, from one eliminated contender on his mobile:

"So I called with 4,5 suited and the flop comes, Honey, are you there? Honey?" 

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