WSOP Final Table – a Dream or a Nightmare?

For most poker players around the world, making the final table at the World Series of Poker Main Event is like waking up to find out they really can fly; in other words, a dream come true. For some, however, the attention the media and poker press puts on them can become very uncomfortable, especially if they have a few skeletons hanging out in their closet. For two of the final table finishers from this year’s main event, including the winner, Jamie Gold, the question of whether or not the success at the WSOP was worth it has been hard to answer.

For the winner, Jamie Gold, the $12 million cash prize wasn’t distributed right away, due to a discrepancy between Gold and a reported business partner, who claimed he had a verbal agreement with Gold to split any winnings fifty/fifty. As fifty percent of Gold’s prize was a healthy $6 million, it is no wonder Gold balked at the deal, if there indeed was a deal. In the media melee that came about, even Gold’s bio was challenged, with people wondering if the former Hollywood agent had ever repped the big stars he claimed. In the end, his work history was validated and half the money released, with the other half still in limbo while courts decided if it was Deal or No Deal.

For Richard Lee, things might be even worse. While losing $6 million is no picnic, Lee could be facing arrest and jail time for his alleged participation in a high level gambling ring in San Antonio, Texas. While authorities admitted he had been under investigation for months, one can’t help but wonder if his home would have been raided or the media spotlight on him shone so brightly if he had not made the final table at the WSOP.

Both Lee and Gold have stories that are still unfolding, but one impact they have made that is immediate on the poker world is the question every potential final table finisher will have to ask him or herself – is the money worth the attention?

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