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Jerry Yang - A World-Class World Champion
Tuan Lam after 4 am. Now he plans to take the $8.25 million he's won and start aggressively attacking the some of the ills of society.
PokerListings.com caught up with Jerry just moments after he won the biggest poker tournament on the planet to discuss charity, his future plans and, oh by the way, a little poker.
Congratulations Jerry! How does it feel to win the 2007 WSOP Main Event?
I am very exited. I can't describe the feelings, but I had a huge adrenaline rush. It was just tremendous. I am very very happy. There are no words to describe it.
How does a guy like you make it to a place like this?
I won the seat through Pechanga for $225. When I made the money I was very excited already. When I came to the final table I was like wow - It was really a dream come true. Today I am just very, very happy.
Now that you are a World Champion, do you plan on being an ambassador for the game?
Absolutely! I think poker is a great opportunity for many people and we all should support poker. Obviously some of us do this for a living and whatever we can do to benefit the community, benefit our families we should do that. Some of us have a regular job, some of us play poker and whatever we do we should support that, support poker and promote poker as much as possible.
So will we see you playing at poker tournaments around the world in the near future?
I would like to. I will do my best. I have some other goals that I would like to accomplish and some charity work. Maybe do some missionary work also. So I will be overseas a lot and back and forth. I will still play poker. I will support poker and I would like to be a good ambassador for poker - that's my goal.
Let's talk a little poker. You came in today eighth in chips, but you were very aggressive right out of the gate. Was that a plan or just something the cards dictated?
Last night, when I sat down to meditate, I knew I was coming in as a short stack and I knew that I had to be aggressive in order to be successful and in order to pick up some pots. Thank God I was able to do that and I was able to pick up some big hands at the same time.
There were a few times that I bluffed or made some calls or reraised and my opponents folded their hands. So I was able to pick up a few pots from there. I'm very happy with the way I played today.
I did have some cards at the beginning which helped me a lot. But there were a few hands where I raised when I had the button with very little.
I believe there was one where I reraised with four-deuce and picked up a pot. At that point I knew that my opponents were playing a little tight and I could take advantage of that.
What is your experience with the game?
I have been playing poker for a couple of years - very part-time. I have read a couple of poker books and I watch a lot on TV.
What do you do for a living and will tomorrow be your last day on the job?
I am a psychologist and a social worker. I work with foster kids providing therapy and making sure they are being placed in a good home.
My plan when I go back home is to sit down with my boss, the owner of the company, and my gut feeling at this point is I think there are better purposes for me out there and I want to use the money to do some good. But I will be professional and I will give my two weeks notice. But my wife (a blackjack dealer) - no more work for her.
We've heard your plan is to donate some of the money to charity right away. Any truth to this philanthropic rumor?
I will be donating ten per cent to the following three charities: The Make A Wish Foundation, Feed The Children and The Ronald MacDonald House.
I want to donate some of this money to help families ease some of their pain while they are going through the recovery process. Children mean a lot to me. I have six children of my own. When I was a child I was in a refugee camp and so I understand what it is to suffer physically, nutritionally. I used to have a big old stomach from lack of nutrition at the refugee camp in Thailand. I think children are our future and we should do whatever we can to help them.
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An ambassador for poker? Ten percent to charity? Jerry Yang is a dream come true 2007 WSOP Main Event champ and a class act all the way. It's hard to say what the poker future will bring for the newly crowned World Champion, but the rest is certainly looking pretty rosy - for Jerry, his family and all the people he plans to help with the money and newfound freedom it brings him. Jerry thanked God a lot after the big win, but we should all be thanking God for Jerry!