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Jamie Gold WSOP winner 2006

An exhausted but jubilant world champ throws some light on his route to glory.

What was your strategy coming in with those chips?

Basically, just to play the way I'd been playing. I sat down at every table with the same strategy every time: figure out what the others were doing and catch them making a mistake in some way or another. I did it pretty consistently.

You went toe-to-toe several times with Allen Cunningham. You got the best of him and must have been happy when he finally went out?

I was happy but I was lucky at the end. We were 50-50, but I felt that that was the way I had to take him out.. He's a much more accomplished, much more experienced player than I am. I was getting 2/1, and it was the right call. I was very confident that I at least had live cards.

It seems that sometimes you would tell people you were bluffing and sometimes you would tell people you had the best hand, and they would call you. How did this work?

I don't know. I was in a zone where I thought I could manipulate people. Who knows if it will ever happen again? I was on a good run and had people confused.

You've done well in minor tournaments -  your friends used to call you the 'King of the minor leagues'. Now they've got to call you World Champion. How does that sound?

I just have to thank each and every one of them. There's no doubt this would not have happened without these amazing people with me, who love and care for me. They got me massages and water and food, including my blueberries. They kept me sane, happy and focused.

What's the deal with the blueberries?

They're brain food. They're the best. I've loved them since I could eat. My mother will tell you that all I've ever wanted are blueberries. They're probably the reason I won!

Does it feel like you've just beaten 8,772 others?

I can't even remember the rest of the tournament. We played 14 hours today. I'm spent.

What do you say to $12 million?

It will help my Dad a lot, which is great ( Gold's father suffers from Motor Neurone Disease). He's at home and couldn't be there with us. There have been a lot of people around me who have believed in me for a long time - who put up the money when I was learning how to play. They deserve this money too, so I am going to share it.

People kept expecting you to flame out as the main event went on but you never did.

There was no way I was going to flame out. I'd built up this stack that people would have to get really lucky on me to take me out. And lucky enough they didn't.

How did Johnny Chan help you out during this whole thing?

He kept telling me, 'Everything you're doing is perfect.' We would meet after each night and I would tell him what my strategy was, and he'd say, 'Well. there's nothing else I can tell you.' He doesn't realise how much he helped me. He'll sat it was me, but it wasn't. He's been behind me, he inspires me. He's the greatest there's ever been in my mind, that I've seen. that I've ever played with. If I could aspire to be half as great as he is I'd be really lucky.


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