- The Washington Times - Friday, August 11, 2006

1:28 p.m.

LAS VEGAS — Former Hollywood talent agent Jamie Gold pulled off his best acting job ever early today, 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 that he had a weaker hand, getting Wasicka to push all his chips into the pot. The 36-year-old Gold screamed for joy to see Wasicka 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 Gold’s 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.”

By the time Gold and Wasicka were the last two players left from a field of 8,773 entrants, huge bundles of cash had been deposited on the poker felt — but most of the chips were on Gold’s side of the table.

He had eliminated six of the previous seven players himself, and his 79 million in chips covered a good corner of the table. Wasicka’s 11.2 million was badly overmatched.

Rhett Butler, a 45-year-old insurance agent from Rockville, Md., busted out in fifth for a $3.22 million payday when he moved all-in with pocket fours, but Gold called with a king and jack and got a jack on the board for a higher pair.

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