IS JAMIE GOLD MISUNDERSTOOD?
“I feel I’m doing as much as I can possibly do to try to make the world a better place.” `Jamie Gold
Some of you may recognize the name, Jamie Gold, as the 2006 World Series of Poker Champion. His first place prize of $12M was the largest in the history of the ‘sport’ and didn’t come without controversy. Controversy that led this curious writer to follow the career of the ‘Poker Philanthropist’, on and off the felt, for the last few years.
Is Jamie Gold misunderstood? Greatly so. Many have been asking where the poker champ has been for the last few years, and from my perspective, he’s been lying low on the pro-poker circuit for a very good reason. Humanity.
Gold was kind enough to allow me to pick his brain about philanthropy, poker, stereotypes, humanity, the misconception surrounding the gambling industry and his love for helping others. (The full interview will be posted on Look to the Stars later this week and linked up HERE.)
Gold recently attended the ‘Get Lucky for Lupus’ celebrity Poker event in Los Angeles where he admittedly was a bit star-struck when meeting rocker Slash.
“I’ve always wanted to meet him and I couldn’t believe he said he was a fan of mine,” Gold told me, “I don’t think about myself other than how I am, so I don’t see myself in that way (as a celebrity). When you respect and admire someone so much and they’re interested in meeting you, it’s incredible.”
The incredible thing is, while most poker players don’t see themselves as celebrities, most celebrities are the ones star-stuck when meeting pro-poker players. As they should, Gold has co-hosted, emceed or played in over 100 celebrity charity poker events which have raised over $170M.
And he’s just getting started. In addition to his non-stop support towards making this world a better place, he has just launched his own free legal on-line poker site-(FreeGoldPoker) with a twist. Using a platform created by Zen Entertainment, donations are garnered through profits.
“What we are in the process of doing now with my free poker site, we are pledging ten-percent of all of our profits to charity. This new aspect of site allows us to be more productive for the causes that need my help the most and those that are more personal to me.”
One personal pet project Gold had been heavily involved with is the Global Creative Forum, an involvement that aims to help effect positive change in the world.
“We can all raise as much money as possible but to effect real change, I think its important to do what we’re doing,” he said about the Global Creative Forum, “Which is taking this large number of superstars, people who can really get something done when there’s a problem in the world and then bring together some of the smartest people, the best scientists, and put them together with the wealthiest people we know and really try to create and effect change in the world.”
In fact, Gold was the first to successfully host a fundraiser for the Global Creative Forum- the Global Creative Forum Fundraiser for United Nations-which marked the first time ever that the UN Nations has allowed a poker event to be associated with the organization.
“What I find beautiful and wonderful about the poker community, that doesn’t exist in all communities-it would be great if it did but it doesn’t-you can be the wealthiest person in the world, a homeless person, any race or religion and you can all be equals and sit down at a poker table together. There is no where else where you could have that kind of group working together like that.”
A partial list of what Gold has been up to for the last few years (as emcee, host or participant): Big Slick Charity Tournament; Dallas Superbowl Charity Event for Troops; The Global Creative Forum Fundraiser for United Nations; 4th Annual Monte Carlo Night; Foundation Charity Event at Poker in the Park; Sunflower Children Charity Poker Night at Cannes Film Festival; Children Uniting Nations: Oscars After-Party; Ante Up For Africa; Michael J. Fox Foundation Celebrity Poker Tournament; Montel Williams MS Foundation Pro-Celebrity Poker Challenge; Operation: All-In, Randy Couture Charity Poker Tournament; and many others.
Gold spoke at length about his professional poker career, when and if he will return to the tour, what inspires him and what was important about the 2006 WSOP win, all to be posted in my interview on Look to the Stars.
Cue music: Jamie Gold’s perceived theme song when asked, and of course my chosen theme song for him.
As always, thanks for reading~