He swore off poker until he got his mind and body back into optimal poker shape.
"I've been just trying to focus on getting my discipline back," Mueller says in a new exclusive video with PokerListings.
"it's tough sometimes in the poker world when you're travelling all the time and away from home, gaining weight ...
"You know, losing track of what got you to being successful... in professional poker discipline is key so I decided that I wasn't going to return to the poker world until I lost 45 pounds.
"I’ve had some opportunities to do some TV shows, tournaments and I’ve turned them all down as tough as it was.” he said.
However long it took, Mueller said, he was willing to take. Now, with the 2014 WSOP around the corner, he's just five pounds off his goal and back in prime fighting shape to add to his career bracelet total.
His last bit of fine-tuning? Renting out Rogers Arena, the NHL's Vancouver Canucks home ice, for some rec hockey with his pals.
Mueller Set to Return from Self-Imposed Exile
A Vancouver native Mueller used to play professional ice hockey in Europe but eventually switched to professional poker.
It clearly wasn’t a bad decision. Mueller has over $2.6 million in lifetime tournament earnings including two gold World Series of Poker bracelets.
Still, after a lean year and some poor decisions in the pits, he says, Mueller bit the bullet for some major lifestyle changes over the last eight months starting with getting in better shape.
One of the key ways that Mueller trains, or at least the most fun, is by renting out the Vancouver Canuck’s NHL arena to play recreational hockey with a group of friends including fellow bracelet winner Dan Idema.
The full-time residents of Rogers Arena could likely learn something from Mueller’s rebuilding process as they went 36-35-11 to miss the playoffs this year.
PokerListings tagged along with Mueller, Idema and friends for an exclusive look at their WSOP prep: