Greg Merson Achieves 10 Years of Sobriety

4 weeks ago
Greg Merson Achieves 10 Years of Sobriety
09:19
21 Dec

Vices come in all shapes and sizes. For some, their favorite chocolates or sodas serve as their vice. For others, drugs and alcohol are what help them get through life a little easier. For 2012 WSOP Main Event Champion Greg Merson, it as the latter.

However, the Maryland native just recently celebrated 10 years of sobriety. Here’s a look at Merson’s journey with sobriety over the last decade.

Merson tweeted when he reached the ten year mark and received praise from numerous fans and fellow poker players.

Poker streamer and ambassador Jeff Gross replied and congratulated Merson for this important milestone in life and sobriety.


Merson’s battle with drug and alcohol addiction began when he was just a teenager, and he was using a little bit of everything back then.

“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,” Merson said in an interview a few years back. “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.”
Merson began his poker career battling his way through the local home game scene and eventually became a regular online. It was during one of his downswings in 2011 that Merson realized he needed to get sober.

In 2011, Merson, with the help of friends, detoxed in a Las Vegas hotel room. He did a short stay in rehab and was a regular at Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Yoga is also something that has helped him rewire his brain and stay sober.

Above all else, Merson said it is poker that has allowed him to maintain his sobriety and capitalize on his new lease on life.

“But poker is the number one reason I stay sober,” Merson said. “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.”
Merson has also regulated his poker schedule so he can be at the top of his game at all times.

“I don’t spend 70 hours a week married to the game like I used to, however,” Merson said. “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.”
From detoxing in a hotel room in 2011 to winning the World Series of Poker Main Event less than one year later, Merson is a prime example of how sobriety can grant a new lease on life.

From us at PokerTube, congratulations, Greg.


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Nikk from Western New York is a part-time journalist, a successful tournament poker player, and an avid fly fisherman.Read more

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