If you’re a longtime fan of poker than last night’s final table at the World Series of Poker Circuit stop at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles was like a trip down memory lane; about 10 years down memory lane to be precise.
Even with a field of 756 entrants, the final table of the tournament included a bunch of well-known names including Bryn Kenney, the team manager of the Global Poker League’s New York Rounders.
However, it was the presence of some “old school” players that captured the attention of poker fans, as the final table lineup included the likes of Antonio Esfandiari, who rose to prominence during the early days of the World Poker Tour; 2006 WSOP Champion Jamie Gold; and even Ray Henson, whose name you may remember thanks to his 12th place finish in the 2007 WSOP Main Event – which, despite over $2 million in tournament earnings, is still his largest cash to date.
With 12 players remaining entering the third and final day of the tournament it probably felt like déjà vu for the players in the tournament and anyone tuning in to watch the live stream, as Jamie Gold came into the final day with a huge chip lead, much like he did at the 2006 WSOP final table.
As the rest of the field fell by the wayside the poker world got its storybook ending, as Esfandiari and Gold survived, and eventually battled heads-up for the title and WSOPC ring. Only unlike the 2006 WSOP Main Event final table that Gold led wire-to-wire, this time around he couldn’t seal the deal and it was Esfandiari who came out on top.
The duo of Gold and Esfandiari, two of the most talkative poker players you’ll ever come across, demonstrated that even though people are playing for piles of money, the game of poker can still be fun and social, and you’re not giving away too much information by interacting with your tablemates.
As Esfandiari noted after his win, “Jamie’s a really fun guy. He’s one of the guys who makes the table enjoyable, and those are the guys you want to play with. I hate sitting there with these wizards that stare you down and tank for five minutes before every decision. It’s so tilting.”
This type of banter has been sorely lacking in the poker world in recent years, and even if the level of play isn’t as high as the “wizards” Antonio references, the table talk between Gold and Esfandiari (and the rest of the table) made the proceedings far more entertaining to watch.
Following his 2006 WSOP victory, where he pocketed $12 million, Jamie Gold landed sponsorship deals, appeared on a number of poker TV shows, and played in exclusive invitational events. But eventually his lack of results caught up to him, and his poker opportunities started to dry up.
But Gold has been on a decent run over the last year, booking the second and third biggest scores of his career.
In the summer of 2015 he final tabled a WSOP tournament, finishing 5th in 1 $1,500 No Limit Holdem tournament for $120k – his largest payday (by far) since his $12 million score nearly a decade before.
And now Gold has added another $140k to his career tournament earnings with his runner-up finish at The Bike last night.
Perhaps Jamie Gold is poised for a return to the poker spotlight?
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