Thursday, October 04, 2007

I ATE JAMIE GOLD'S KEBAB


The past week has been quite a surprise for me as a number of my readers (very few, I confess) have contacted/approached me to express their intrigue in my latest blog entry regarding Annette Obrestad. In this sense, it would appear that I have momentarily forgotten how lucky I am to witness these players in action and how exclusive it is to linger over their shoulder all day with a notepad and pen.

Although the World Series of Poker Europe, with its high concentration of big name players and segregated cardroom, allowed me to loiter around legendary stars such as Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, the player I would like to focus my attention on this week is the 2006 WSOP Champion, Jamie Gold.

Born in August of 1969, Jamie Gold is an American television producer/ talent scout from Malibu, California who shocked the world with his domination of the 2006 Main Event. Armed with an army of chips and the gift of the gab, Gold was nigh on unstoppable and ploughed through the field like a knife through butter.

However, although he fended off the biggest poker field in history to win an unprecedented 12 million dollars with considerable ease, many critics hacked him to pieces in much the same way as Moneymaker three years before, the controversial word ‘luck’ cropping up in multiple comments.

With his favouring of verbal persuasion, not to mention the ensuing court case regarding an alleged pre-comp ‘deal’, Gold’s integrity and character was continually questioned, many suggesting that he was one of the least dignified winners in recent poker history.

With the aforementioned in mind, I thought the inaugural WSOPE in London would provide the perfect opportunity for me to form my own opinions on the man and witness first-hand what he was like beyond the picture painted by the blood-thirsty media vampires.

At first glance, Jamie Gold is one of the most confident, relaxed players you will ever see at a poker table. Chris Moneymaker may claim that dispelling the ‘fluke’ accusation doesn’t add pressure, but with Jamie Gold, I genuinely think it’s true. Of course, he is keen to triumph, but he doesn’t play a tense game, and the foreboding shadow of all and sundry expecting him to fail doesn’t seem to faze him.

His game appears to be an aggressive one. Whether he’s got chips or not, he likes to play hands and is one of those players who could have the chip lead one moment, and be bust the next. When that dry patch occurs or he’s required to grind, you can see him visibly itching to play a pot.

Gold seems to be an impatient chap and one who likes to fill the tedium of deep-stacked tournament poker with table talk. In this sense, he is very sociable, and was forever communicating with his neighbours, John Tabatabai being his final companion.

Gold also enjoys talking to those around him and likes his voice to be heard. In fact, I think he’s a good laugh and vastly charismatic. I recall one moment when he asked me for a piece of paper (possibly to make a note on an opponent) and I replied that I didn’t want his autograph. He took the gentle mocking prod with a smile when others may have snarled.

However, whilst there is this childlike, highly endearing side to his character, a certain lack of etiquette simmers on the surface and often slips out without an inch of hesitancy. One instance in particular sticks in my memory, Gold’s two pair outdrawing Matthew Hankin’s flopped set in what was a massive pot. In my Pokernews report, I commented:

“There was a bit of uncertainty regarding who had who covered, but it was eventually unearthed that Gold had his man beat. He didn't say it to the entire table, but I shall report it anyhow, but as Hankins' chips went sailing away, Gold commented, "That'll teach him for playing like an idiot earlier on." He then turned to the table and added, "See, that's justice."

Although discourteous, I don’t believe he means to offend, it’s just that he can’t help but say what’s on his mind, however disrespectful. In a later hand, he admitted to the rest of the table that he was playing like a fish. Later still, he would huff and puff after being re-raised and share his disheartenment of being constantly pushed around. If he thinks someone’s an idiot, including himself, he’ll say so.

As Jamie departed in 35th for £27,150, he took one final bite of a kebab he’d ordered and left it behind, the food obviously not tasty enough to complete in its entirety. One of my major accolades in life is managing to get a picture of Jamie’s kebab onto the Pokernews update, and I was even prouder when I was allowed to report the progress of that said food item. Had it been taken away? Had Jamie Gold returned for it? Was it even a kebab at all? These are the questions everyone wanted to know, and I’m pleased I was able to answer those queries.

When it had been confirmed that Jamie Gold was no longer interested in the kebab, I snatched up my opportunity to etch my name in history and become the first, and perhaps only man in history to have a bite of a World Champion’s kebab. I considered auctioning it off on ebay or simply confining it to my mantelpiece as a souvenir, but to say “I ate Jamie Gold’s kebab” was an opportunity that I simply couldn’t resist.

The result wasn’t good. By now, the kebab was cold and very dry, and its chewy texture made me grimace in taste-bud hell. However, this wasn’t about enjoying the kebab, it was about notching up my first notable achievement in poker journalism. It is something that I will be forever proud of, and no one can ever take that away from me.

But meaty savouries aside, what did I conclude in my limited experience of our 2006 World Champ? Well, it’s quite simple really. I like Jamie Gold. I wanted him to win so he could stick his middle finger up to the poker world and say, “Fuck you”, if only because I knew he would given half the chance. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite happen, but what he did do was entertain and play with a smile. Yes, he may have run well on one special August week, and yes, his immature tendency to insult is an annoyance, but he’s fun to watch and is ultimately rather harmless.

His record is currently littered with tumbleweed, but I hope he wins something major soon, not because I think he has the game (this I am in no position to decide), but because I want him to prove the naysayers wrong. So what if he was lucky, this game needs an injection of fun and personality, and Jamie Gold brings that element to the table whenever he plays.

6 Comments:

At 6:56 PM, Blogger BurnleyMik said...

Very well written sir! I enjoyed that, especially the bite of the champions kebab 9(the food of champions obviously!). The question is has it given you the midas touch at the tables??? ;-)

 
At 5:41 AM, Blogger snoopy1239 said...

Thanks Mik. Keep up the blog, I'm still reading. Hopefully we'll meet at a live event soon.

snoops

 
At 10:47 AM, Blogger Kirby the German Roofer said...

Roofer is BACK BABY!

Check the blog Bitch.

 
At 7:54 AM, Blogger jun_fan_lee said...

Hi snoopy. Just started reading your blog. Nice work. Also Liked your article in FLUSH this month. Just wanted to ask you a few questions about your writing work as I'm trying to do a similar thing (check out the interview with Patrik Antonius in FLUSH this month). Anyways, me email address is: daniel723@btinternet.com so if you wanna send a blank email then I can email you back. Cheers
Daniel Smyth

 
At 9:19 AM, Blogger Kirby the German Roofer said...

Roofer here (BurnleyMicks Brother) Just wondering if you could pop by my blog have a read and maybe link me up if you like what you see. Cheers

http://germanroofer.blogspot.com/

 
At 7:37 PM, Blogger Amatay said...

ahahaha wicked write oop snoopay

 

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