It just occured to me that I haven’t written a word about the ongoing lawsuit over the winnings at this year’s World Series of Poker. Given that it involves both poker and law, that strikes me as oddly unexplainable. For those who are unaware, this year’s World Series of Poker main event champion, Jamie Gold, is locked in a legal battle with Crispin Leyser over half of the $12 million first prize that he won. Why? Because he promised half of what he won to Leyser and then tried to welch on the agreement. Here’s the backstory.
In the couple of weeks leading up to the main event, Bodog.com, a large poker site, promised to pay Gold’s $10,000 buy in to the main event if he could find a couple of celebrities to play in the event while wearing Bodog clothing. Gold, you see, is an agent/producer (yes, that’s like being a demon/succubus) and apparently thinks he has some connections. Despite apparently having been Tony Soprano’s agent at one point, he came up snake eyes, so he asked Leyser, who he had just met, if he could help out. He told Leyser that if he could hunt up a couple of celebrities for him, he’d split whatever he won.
Leyser came through….well, kind of. He got the guy who played Shaggy in the two Scooby Doo movies and some obscure comedian I’ve never heard of, but that was enough for Bodog, who did pay Gold’s entry into the tournament. Gold and Leyser were apparently cool all the way along. Gold was dominating the tournament and Leyser was seeing dollar signs. 3 hours before the start of the final table, Jamie Gold left a message on Leyser’s cell phone. The Las Vegas Sun reports:
I promise you – you can keep this recording on my word – there’s no possible way you’re not going to get half ¦ after taxes,” Leyser claims that Gold said in the telephone message. “So please just be with me. I can’t imagine you’re going to have a problem with it. I just don’t want any stress about any money or any of that (expletive) going on today, or even after the end of the day.”
Later in the recording, Gold allegedly said: “But please just trust me. You’ve trusted me the whole way, you can trust me a little bit more. I promise you there’s no way anybody will go anywhere with your money. It’s your money.”
This much has actually been admitted to by Gold in his response to Leyser’s complaint, though there is some quibbling over the actual wording. Still, apparently Gold assured him in that phone message that there was no way he would not get his half of the money, and he explicitly said “your half of the money.” A Federal judge issued a preliminary injunction forbidding the payout of half of the $12 million prize; that $6 million is still on deposit at the Rio awaiting the outcome of the case.
Now Gold is claiming that there was never any arrangement for half the money but that it was merely a non-enforcable offer of a gift that he has now decided not to follow through on because Leyser went and filed a lawsuit rather than negotiating with him. He is asking the court to lift that injunction and dismiss the case so he can have all of his money. I doubt the court will do that; I think Leyser has a very strong case. If in the phone recording Gold referred to “your money” or “your half”, he’s got a hard time claiming there was no such arrangement.
All of this has only served to make Jamie Gold look even worse than he did on the TV airing of the tournament. He was an obnoxious ass at every opportunity during the event and an even bigger ass afterwards. In interview after interview, he’s been incredibly arrogant. He’s compared his skill at poker to Kobe Bryant’s skill at basketball. He seems completely unaware of the fact that he got extraordinarily lucky time and time again during the tournament, which had far more to do with winning than any skill he displayed.
He’s managed to piss of pretty much the entire poker world for not honoring his agreement to split his winnings. Tournament players are constantly buying and selling pieces of one another in tournaments in order to minimize their risk, and they rarely sign any agreements on it. It’s just an unwritten rule that you honor your deals, you make good on your promises. Failure to do so gets you ostracized and that’s what is now rightly happening to Gold.
On top of that, Gold is now hustling a reality TV show called Hottest Mom in America. Now I like a good MILF as much as the next guy, but Gold is just digging a hole for himself. Basically, he’s your typical sleazeball wannabe Hollywood hanger on who for two weeks had a horseshoe jammed up his ass and managed to strike it rich. Whereupon he promptly lost what little sense of ethics and decency he ever had and promptly made himself into a laughingstock. Frankly, I’m rooting for the day when he shows up on a “whatever happened to” segment on some cable news show and we find out that he died penniless in a rundown bungalow in Southern California, surrounded by empty syringes and Thai hookers.