Good on PokerNews for getting a reaction to the Bluff Magazine's inciting video of Joe Hachem throwing Jerry Yang and Jaimie Gold under the ambassador bus.
Here, in a follow-up interview with Brett Collson, Yang defends his record as an ambassador for poker by reminding the public of his well-documented record of giving his money away. Check out some excerpts from the interview after the jump.
On his reaction to Hachem’s comments:
I was a little shocked. I don’t know Joe very well to be honest with you. I haven’t even played with him at a table, so when I heard [his comments] I was actually shocked. Joe is a nice guy and I have the utmost respect for him. He’s a great champion and a great poker player and I’m not going to take away from him. But when I heard that I was shocked.
On his contributions to promoting the game:
As far as I know I have been the only champion that has donated $1 million of my own money to charity. I have personally raised another $800,000 on my own. I have not seen one other world champion that has done that.
Regarding the fact that he was forced to sell his bracelet:
The IRS asked me to give up my bracelet and I did. Of course it was hard. It was my bracelet. It’s once in a lifetime for someone to win a bracelet like that. It hurt me. But I learned from the lesson and learned to manage my money. Whatever happened, it happened.
Check out the full interview over on PokerNews.
Everyone knew that Yang sang to a bit of a different tune with his hyper-aggressive overbetting and very vocal pleas with his God at the final table. That being said, from the interview is seems that Yang feels he did what he thought he could do to be the best WSOP Champ he could be, all while raising a family and running a business.
Besides, Yang and his sleeve-wearing religious beliefs, in some ways, made him a polarizing figure in poker from this time he claimed the crown. Even if he embraced the role, how receptive the public would have been to accepting him as the face of the game?