I think they're pretty dead on with that. But you could see me bracelet chasing for awhile to represent myself and Team Ivey. I have a chance to put myself in some pretty rare company, so there's some excitement that goes with that.

You had already won a lot of money playing poker, but did the $8.5 million number still blow your hair back? Do you see it as life-altering?

It's almost not even fair. There's only one tournament like this, that pays four times as much as the second biggest. It's almost like cheating in a way. But this type of money, I feel I would have gotten there at some point in my career anyway. I just want to be smart with it. I think a lot of the stuff I went through early in my career prepared me to deal with this kind of money. I came up playing on the Internet, and a lot of us learned the hard way.

And given your battles with addiction, you've already been up and down the roller coaster money-wise, right?

Yeah, I had reached a certain level, so when I relapsed, I was still playing against the best guys in the world. And if you're playing the best guys in the world when you're not in the right mindset, you're going to lose a lot of money. I lost probably half my net worth.

Do you worry about letting your guard down with addiction given that everything is going so well?

If anything, I just want to live as normal a life as possible. I want to be an ambassador for the game of poker and do anything possible in that role. I think it's really unfair that online poker is banned in this country. It just doesn't make sense that you can go to a casino and play, but you can't play on your computer at home. So hopefully, a change is coming soon with that. That will be one of my focuses. And then I want to share my story with anyone who might have questions about sobriety.

Do you feel a particular allegiance to online poker because that's your background?

Yeah, ideally, I'd be sitting at home, playing five days a week on the computer and then picking and choosing the tournaments I travel to.

If you had to guess, what will the next year be like?

I'll spend the holidays at home and then go to the Bahamas in January. I'm going to Australia after that to play the Aussie Millions and also, because I've never been to Australia. Then, I'll probably go to Macau to check out some of the high-stakes games there and I'll try to get over to Thailand while I'm there. The spring? I haven't gotten that far yet. But next summer, I'll be back in Vegas and stay out here through the whole World Series.

Thanks for calling, Greg. You definitely made fans here, especially by wearing the Orioles jerseys.

Yeah, I really wanted to represent for the people there.

childs.walker@baltsun.com

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