Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Leyser Sues WSOP Main Event Champ Gold, Injunction Freezes $12M Payout

Pokernews.com broke the news early today that Crispin Leyser has filed suit against 2006 WSOP Main Event Winner Jamie Gold, alleging that Gold had made a verbal agreement with Leyser, prior to the start of the tournament, to split any of Gold's WSOP ME winnings 50/50. The alleged agreement was made as return compensation for Leyser's assisting in the procurement of at least one celeb (actor Matthew Lillard) to play under the Bodog.net banner at the WSOP.

According to other reports, Gold's reputed Hollywood connections turned out to be just that --- reputed, largely --- and it was because of Leyser's greater connections in both Hollywood and poker that Gold's promise to Bodog was fulfilled, and this allowed Gold to keep his own Bodog-paid Main Event seat. As part of the suit, Leyser has even presented a phone message alledgedly left by Gold on Leyser's machine on the morning of the ME final table, assuring Leyser that the 50/50 deal was still in place. (Photo source: www.bodog.com.)

Leyser, a UK film producer who is most widely known in poker circles as one of the WPT Boot Camp instructors, stands to collect $6 million (before taxes), if his suit is successful, and he was at least successful in having an injunction placed against Gold, preventing Gold from collecting his winnings from Harrah's until the matter has been heard.

The curious saga surrounding Gold does nothing but deepen. First came his curious statements and oft-putting manners at the table during the WSOP; the came the revelations that much of his agent-y claims were, well, the thin-air stuff of a lot of agent's claims the world over; and now comes the alledged reneging of a deal that was widely discussed behind the scenes during the WSOP. (Such deals are considered virtually sacrosanct among the biggest pros, whose word is tantamount to... platinum, I guess.)

It's about as bad a precedent for a new champion as could be imagined. While Leyser's claim has just been filed, one thing already seems clear: Jamie Gold has a head start on becoming the most reviled WSOP champ ever.

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