In 2006, Jamie Gold outlasted the largest World Series of Poker Main Event field in history. Gold bested 8,773 players to win $12 million and while he navigated his way through the record-breaking field, Gold became one of the game’s most colorful and entertaining champions.
Gold’s journey to the career-defining victory was captured for ESPN broadcasts, and then shown on television months later, but plenty has changed in terms of content consumption since. In the social age, there is a desire for live, instant access to information, results and, in the case of poker, streams of the World Series of Poker Main Event.
The wait is finally over. The World Series of Poker Main Event will be live streamed from start to finish on both PokerGO and ESPN, something that Gold sees as a bridge to bringing the back to where it was during his run to the Main Event title.
“I think it would have been amazing, not just about me, meaning just everything that was going on at that time.” Gold said when asked about what a live broadcast would have done for poker back in 2006. “There is such a great market for it and I believe there are so many people that are excited for poker on television but they’ve always been fed the same crap.”
To Gold, the characters, personality and entertainment that used to dominate televised poker, have become a thing of the past. The former champion mentioned, “There used to be heroes, there used to be villains and you know, people loved me, people hated me but people cared.”
Gold may not travel the tournament circuit non-stop like some past Main Event champions, he certainly cares about the growth of the game. While he is proud of being one of the World Series’ biggest winners, he also believes some records are meant to be broken.
“I want there to be a bigger one!” Gold said with some passion earlier today, “I want there to be more people, I want poker to grow. I’m proud of that but I don’t want to keep that record.”
Gold cites a few ways the Main Event can grow and beat the mark set in 2006, including the legalization and regulation of online poker in the United States. Gold believes that if online poker was available to American players, the Main Event could even approach the 20,000 player mark.
Aside from online poker, live streaming the Main Event and the elimination of the November Nine from the Main Event structure are both huge positives according to Gold.
“I think the November Nine was a brilliant idea but it just didn’t work.” He said, before mentioning that the November Nine turned the Main Event’s final table into someone completely different compared to what he and his competitors dealt with in 2006.
“It’s crazy that you should be able to train for a one-table satellite after you go through a marathon.” Gold said, before referencing how grueling the Main Event actually is. “The whole point is that it is a mental, physical and emotional marathon to win this thing.”
Early figures from today’s Day 1B flight suggest that by the end of registration tomorrow, close to 7,000 players will be competing in the 2017 Main Event. The field will be made up of a collection of amateurs and professionals with major tournament titles and incredible resumes but only a select few have ever won the marathon that is the WSOP Main Event.
Jamie Gold is one of them and while he wants someone to break his record, he wouldn’t mind breaking it himself.