"Sometimes in life a person can feel lost and wake up one morning not recognizing who he is. Last summer that was how I felt. Prior to winning the WSOP in 2008, my life was very much a good solid routine of playing online poker and hanging out with my friends and family. Winning the WSOP changed that. I relocated to London and started a new life, the life of a high profile poker pro. For almost 2 years I was in a constant spotlight, travelling from poker tournament to poker tournament, doing thousands of interviews and never had a chance to catch my breath. In the whirlwind that followed winning the WSOP I lost track of the most importing thing in my life, myself.
Last summer I decided that I wanted to stop playing poker and catch my breath and find out who I am and what I want to do with my life. Over the last 8 months I have had a chance to reconnect with my friends and most important, my family. I have spent quality time with my family and really had an opportunity to figure out who I am and what I want to do with the rest of my life. When there is no financial pressure it can sometimes be hard to get motivated to move forward as a person.
I truly enjoy playing poker. I love the competitive element and the mental challenges of tournament poker. I feel it is important to constantly grow as a person and for a while I didn't feel I was moving in the right direction. Having had time to think about my life and future I feel I have figured out how I can combine playing poker with a healthy life outside of poker.
I do not consider this a comeback, as I always knew there was a good chance I would play poker again. During my hiatus from poker, PokerStars have been very supportive. Therefore, I am pleased that I will start out with playing two events where I will be sponsored by PokerStars. First, I will be playing the PokerStars.com EPT Copenhagen which of course means a lot to me, since it is on my home ground. Then I will play the NBC Heads Up Championship. I am fortunate that PokerStars have the best online tournaments, so I have an opportunity to get back in tournament shape.
There have been some questions about the sale of my WSOP bracelet. I was not trying to devaluate the WSOP name. It was not sold to make any kind of statement. It was sold to raise money for UNICEF and I am very proud and thankful that the sale raised £100,000 to UNICEF."