Las Vegas Former Hollywood talent agent Jamie Gold pulled off his best acting job ever early Friday morning, bluffing his way to victory at the World Series of Poker and taking home the grand prize of $12 million.
Gold, of Malibu, Calif., somehow convinced Paul Wasicka he had a weaker hand, getting him to push all his chips in the pot. The 36-year-old Gold screamed for joy to see Wasicka's pocket 10s to his pair of queens.
It was the last bit of overacting for the former agent to the stars, who had bluffed and cajoled his way to the chip lead during the last four days of play.
"I knew that he was weak, but he had a hand. And then I knew it was my chance," Gold said. "I went all in, and then I just went into my act. I actually talked him into calling with the worst of it, and that won the whole tournament."
Wasicka said he felt he could tell when Gold was bluffing even after he fell into his trap.
"I felt like I had a perfect read on him all day, whenever he would show his bluff, I thought he was bluffing," said Wasicka, a 25-year-old former restaurant manager from Westminster, Colo. "But against a player like that it makes it really difficult. You kind of just have to go with your gut. That's what I did, and it was wrong."
Still, the second-place finish earned Wasicka $6,102,499.
The nine players at the final table - four pros, a former talent agent, an insurance broker, an ad salesman, a recent college grad and a retired businessman - were guaranteed at least $1.5 million in winnings.
By the time Gold and Wasicka were the last two players left from a field of 8,773 entrants, huge bundles of cash were deposited on the poker felt. But most of the chips were on Gold's side of the table.
He eliminated six of the previous seven players himself, and Gold's 79 million in chips covered a good corner of the table. Wasicka's 11.2 million was badly overmatched.