WSOP 06 Bracelet

More Run-Bad for WSOP Main Event Winners; Jamie Gold Bracelet for Auction

wsop-06-braceletThe recent stretch of run-bad for prior winners of the World Series of Poker main event continued recently with the revelation that 2006 champion Jamie Gold’s downturn has resulted in the upcoming auction of his WSOP champion’s bracelet, along with the auction of a Corum watch that Gold received in the same Series for being the chip leader at the final table.

The twin auctions, offered as part of a two-day sports collectibles show run by auction giant Muvico, will be knocked down in early August to the highest bidders.  Gold’s $12 million victory back in 2006 was the largest until Antonio Esfandiari’s $18.3 million prize in the OneDrop tourney, but when you consider that Gold’s career winnings since then are $136,196 in nearly seven years, he’s one of poker’s ultimate one-hit wonders.

Some of the promotional material seems to claim that Gold’s bracelet is the first WSOP main event bracelet up for auction, but that’s not even close to being true; Gold’s bracelet isn’t even the first one offered this year.  Jerry Yang’s 2007 bracelet was seized and auctioned by the IRS in April to help satisfy a $570,000 tax lien, and Brad Daugherty’s 1991 bracelet was offered on eBay in 2010, but bidding didn’t reach the reserve price.

That any of these bracelets would sell for much more than their melt and gem value remains something of a mystery; the Yang bracelet, for example, had a minimum bid just north of $6,000.

jamie-gold-watchGold’s bracelet, per the description, includes 120 grams of white and yellow gold, at 14K, roughly 60%.  That puts the melt value of the gold alone at $3,000 or so, meaning that with all the little diamonds, this might be another $5,000 or $6,000 bracelet.  And the watch (shown at right) — well, that ought to fetch another $1.49 or so.

But Gold’s financial struggles are more the story here, beginning with him being forced to surrender several millions from his initial $12 million prize to Crispin Leyser, with whom he’d agreed to split the original winnings.  Then came a failed reality-TV concept and the dismal non-performance of Gold’s “BuzzNation concept agency, and Gold’s own oh-fer-two showing with endorsement deals with online poker rooms (Bodog and Aced).

Toss in the extremely short-lived Jamie Gold Poker Room at the Tropicana, and it was actually oh-fer-three.  A Midas touch, this Gold hasn’t had.

The overlying theme, though, is that this is not at all unusual for WSOP main event winners.  Yang, the anonymous former refugee who won just a year after Gold, seems to have spent most of his money on charity and on a Sacramento-area business venture while neglecting to pay taxes on his big win which is why the IRS auction above happened.

Yet a quick look at the main event champion’s list shows that Gold and Yang aren’t the only recent winners to find trouble.  Greg Raymer was the victim of an attempted robbery at the Bellagio before getting himself into trouble in a North Carolina prostitution sting earlier this year, and Canadian Jonathan Duhamel went home to find a former girlfriend setting him up for a home-invasion robbery, with his bracelet coming out of it even worse for wear than Duhamel.

Then there’s the 1994 WSOP winner, some guy named Russell Hamilton.  And his long time assistant / partner in UltimateBet crime, 1990 winner Mansour Matloubi.

Stuey Ungar, Hal Fowler, Chris Ferguson… the list goes on.  It’s amazing to see just how many of the main event winners have gone on to have major life difficulties, whether or not they’ve enjoyed continued success at the table.  Just as winning the lottery is often seen as a mixed blessing, the same thing might just hold true for the WSOP main event.


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