2012 WSOP Champ Greg Merson – Honest About Addiction, Inspires Other To Stay Clean
New interview sheds more light on Merson's path to stardom.
Emerging poker ambassador, 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event Champ Greg Merson took some time right before he’s set to go to Las Vegas for the 2014 WSOP, to talk with Substance.com about his well-documented past battles with a myriad of drugs.
Coke, weed, booze – Merson’s used it all and it took some time for him to hit rock bottom.
I started using when I was 17, it developed very rapidly, and I was doing cocaine within six months of my first time trying marijuana. Coke was my drug of choice until I was 19 and got sober for the first time. I felt like I had hit rock bottom at the time—failing out of school, always being broke from my habit and losing touch with reality.
With the help of his friends and family, Merson fought to sober up and stay clean including a stint in rehab and a regiment of NA meetings. He also attributes a dedication to Yoga as an activity that helps him curb the cravings.
But for Merson it was poker that saved his life.
But poker is the number one reason I stay sober. I love to compete and money is just a way of keeping score. I could care less if I made $50,000 a year or $1 million. I just like to compete at a high level and I’m fortunate to be able to make a good living because of it. I love the game as much as I did when I was 16 and played for the first time. I don’t spend 70 hours a week married to the game like I used to, however. My life is much more balanced and I play about 30 hours a week during trips to Macau or Vegas. Those trips are for poker business only but can reach to the 50-to-70-hour range when I’m really fresh and the games are good. I try to push myself hard when the games call for long hours.
In the world of high-stakes poker, there’s temptation at every turn. As for if there is a good deal of drug and alcohol abuse in poker.
Tons, tons, tons. These guys have no boss, a lot of extra income and flat out just time to kill. Drugs become a much more fun way to waste time. Someone who plays poker suffering from addiction needs to use all the resources available and find out which source of recovery works best for them.
Merson goes on to talk about how families can assist with addicts in their family, things he does outside of poker and even a couple of the perks he’s spent some of his money on. It’s a very nice interview giving fans a glimpse into one of the best WSOP Champions of the past 10 years. Check it out:
Read: Greg Merson’s Rise From Rock Bottom to Poker Rock Star
Bonus: If you like what you read and have a TON of extra cash, there’s always this…
Save the Dates: PokerStars Announces SCOOP 2023
PokerStars has revealed the dates for the 2023 Spring Championship of Online Poker across all markets with .COM players still waiting for more details.
PokerStars Ontario Announces Inaugural ONSCOOP Series
The inaugural ONSCOOP at PokerStars Ontario will dish out at least CAD $1.8 million in prizes across 129 events divided into three tiers.
Don’t Miss Out on Irish Open Satellites Running on PokerStars
PokerStars is hosting Irish Poker Open satellites throughout the week, offering €1500 packages for all the winners.
Win Your Sunday Million Anniversary Seats via PokerStars Satellites
There are daily Sunday Million satellites running on PokerStars across all buy-in levels, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to play in one of the biggest tournaments of the year.
Get Busy With Some Bounty Action at PokerStars in March
With 169 individual events and $20,000,000 in guaranteed prizes, the Bounty Series on PokerStars promises plenty of great action the first half of March.
Flash or No Flash Spin & Goes at PokerStars Ontario?
PokerStars Ontario offers two variations of its popular Spin & Go format, allowing players to pick their preferred way to compete for big potential jackpots.
Don’t Miss Big Sunday Action at PokerStars Ontario
There is a rich schedule of PokerStars Ontario Bounty Builder Series events waiting for you this Sunday across all buy-in levels.
Stake & Be Staked Safely at WSOP Ontario
WSOP Ontario is the only poker site in the province offering an integrated staking platform available to all players.
PokerStars Giving Away Loads of Tournament Tickets via Mini EPT Paris
Mini EPT Paris runs on PokerStars alongside the live Main Event, featuring rich prizes and plenty of added tournament tickets.
WSOP Ontario Set to Send Players to the 2023 Main Event
Players will have ample opportunities to win dozens of WSOP Main Event seats playing various satellites hosted at WSOP Ontario.
CAD $700,000 up for Grabs in PokerStars Ontario New Series
Featuring 100 events and the popular PKO format, the PokerStars Ontario Bounty Builder Series isn’t the one you’ll want to miss out on.
Neymar Jr. Playing at Home Turf at PokerStars EPT Paris
The Brazilian superstar was in the crowd for the opening event of the inaugural EPT Paris by PokerStars.
PokerStars EPT Heads to Paris for the First Time Ever
PokerStars will be hosting the first European Poker Tour event in Paris this February, alongside the France Poker Series for those with smaller bankrolls.
PokerStars Ontario 50/50 Series Featuring $250k in Prize Money
With 50 tournaments at $50 each, PokerStars Ontario 50/50 Series promises a lot of hot action.
Tune In for the PokerStars PSPC Final Table Coverage
Live coverage will start at 19:00 CET, with players guaranteed seven figures and competing for the first place prize of $4,053,200.
Chinese New Year’s Series Another Success for PokerStars Ontario
The latest tournament series at PokerStars Ontario shattered guarantees left and right, promising great things to come.
$100,000 up for Grabs in PokerStars Ontario KO Weekend
The series features a dozen events spread over Saturday and Sunday, with the PokerStars Ontario $100 Sunday Special guaranteeing CAD $42,000 for the winners.
Mini PCA Online Series by PokerStars Brings Loads of Affordable Action
The series consists of 30 events with very affordable buy-ins, big guarantees, and added prizes that include tickets to upcoming live PokerStars tournaments.
PokerStars Reveals the Date for 17th Anniversary Sunday Million
The PokerStars flagship event will take place on March 26 and will feature the guaranteed prize pool of $7.5 million.
Vanessa Kade Receives a Surprise Platinum Pass from Poker Stars
Kade was thrilled to receive the news and pledged to share a portion of her future winnings with her Twitter followers and one of her favorite charity organizations.