Monday, Feb. 20, 2012 | 5:02 p.m.
Before his poker stardom, Jamie Gold was known in Hollywood circles as a talent agent for names like Jimmy Fallon and Lucy Liu and the president of production for an entertainment company. Poker was mostly a recreational activity, though he had taken some instruction from two-time World Series of Poker Main Event champ Johnny Chan.
Then, in 2006, Gold won $12 million and the WSOP Main Event. This weekend, he celebrated another win: the grand opening of the Jamie Gold Poker Room at the newly renovated Tropicana.
In 2011, Gold began working with the Trop to build a poker room that would match the remodeling efforts of the property as a whole, and the partnership has been building a steady stream of regular players for the poker space. Not only is Gold always willing to play and socialize, but the room’s ambiance is welcoming and comfortable.
“I believe there needs to be a venue that allows poker players to play their way,” says Gold. “They should be treated properly, and the poker room should serve the players, accommodating them with whatever games they want to play or rules they want to use as long as the table agrees. We have a private, intimate space that welcomes all players, which is the way it should be.”
Gold also comments on his reputation for playing high stakes games. “I actually love the game of poker and believe in the smallest games as the natural, organic way of playing poker. Sure, we have the best action games in Vegas on Wednesdays and Saturdays, where we regularly play with $25,000 on the table and much bigger pots after midnight. But we treat everyone with class, whether they’re playing for $1 or $50,000. I’m really proud of our space; it’s pretty extraordinary here.”
To kick off a year of more big changes for the Tropicana, celebrities and poker pros attended a red carpet reception and party at RPM nightclub on Friday night, followed by a tournament on Saturday. Television star Ricki Lake was one of many who helped Gold celebrate, and poker pro and World Poker Tour on-air analyst Tony Dunst noted his own excitement, “Sometimes poker can be very dry and repetitive, so the idea that they bring people from several walks of life to promote the room is good for poker. And the Jamie Gold Poker Room getting creative with game rules makes Tropicana stand out from other poker rooms.”
Gold hopes to see a live high stakes poker game streamed on the Internet from the Tropicana this year. And with his penchant for philanthropy, charitable endeavors will likely become a larger part of the golden opportunity that awaits players and poker fans at the Tropicana.