Joe Hachem, the real poker star

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Joseph Hachem seemed to come out of nowhere as he survived round after round of his very first World Series of Poker Main Event, going on to win the $7.5 million grand prize in 2005. He became an instant poker celebrity, but his rise to fame was actually more gradual than it appears.

Joe Hachem was born in Lebanon on 11 March 1966. In 1972, at age six, Hachem and his family moved to Melbourne, Australia. He worked as a chiropractor for 13 years before giving up the career after developing a rare blood disorder that affected the blood vessels in his hands. Around 1995, while taking time off to consider his future, Hachem started to play poker with greater frequency, mostly in casinos, as well as on the Internet. He also ran a small brokerage business in Pascoe Vale, Victoria. Hachem said he was too temperamental when he first started playing poker and had to learn to control his temper.Around 2000, after years of casual playing, Hachem started playing regularly in tournaments at the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex in Melbourne, where he often ended in the money.Hachem spent another five years playing regularly on the Melbourne tournament circuit before setting his sights on the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Joe Hachem defeated 5618 players,, including the second place finisher Steve Dannenmann, to win the main event at the 2005 World Series of Poker. His victory earned him a record breaking $7.5 million dollars.

Just prior to entering the 2005 World Series of Poker, Hachem visited the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California to play in a no limit Texas hold ’em game. One of the players made a joke that Hachem was stopping in before being crowned the new “Australian champion”. Hachem entered the World Series of Poker a relatively unknown poker player. Two weeks prior to the main event, Hachem finished 10th in the $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em World Series event, winning $25,850.

At WSOP Main Event 2005, Hachem ended the first day of the tournament with 67,000 in chips, about twice the average, and he said the strong start gave him confidence going into the rest of the tournament. Hachem’s chip stack stayed at the tournament average for most of the tournament until he reached the final table, which lasted a record 13 hours and 54 minutes.

Hachem and his World Series main event win have been credited with starting a boom in popularity for poker in Australia. Hachem continued playing home games with his friends after his main event victory. In 2008, it was announced a documentary film focusing on Hachem’s 2005 World Series of Poker victory, as well as the eight other players at the main event final table, is under production. The film “Pass the Sugar”, is set to be directed by Gil Cates Jr., who previously directed the 2008 poker-themed film, Deal.

In December 2006, Hachem won $2,207,575 and his first World Poker Tour title at the Bellagio Casino’s Five Diamonds Poker Classic. The victory made Hachem one of only five poker players to win both a World Series of Poker main event and a World Poker Tour championship, along with Doyle Brunson, Carlos Mortensen, Scotty Nguyen and Dan Harrington.

Hachem said he believes his discipline and control helps him make good decisions at the right time. He credited his success at the 2005 World Series of Poker in part to his ability to make difficult laydowns. Hachem has also advised amateur players against bluffing too often or without any outs. Hachem said he rarely bluffs without any outs, and only does so when “you’re confident the other guy can’t stand the heat of a raise.”

Hachem said he tries to maintain the same poker face for each hand. During intense hands, he focuses on a point on the table, keeps his breathing under control and tries not to give away any information. Hachem has said he likes playing at featured tables in televised poker tournaments because, “Everyone wants to be on TV, and they are afraid to do anything silly so they don’t get ridiculed. I try and take advantage of that.”

Hachem’s talent and personality has drawn him a large fanbase, and people often surround his table to watch him during tournaments. Hachem is widely regarded as one of the best high stakes cash game players in Australia.

Now a millionaire many times over and a sponsored player, the devoted family man to whom “nothing is more important than family” has the resources to travel to international tournaments with his wife and four children in pursuit of the best poker the world has to offer.

Poker doesn’t dominate Hachem’s life though. His newfound wealth has also given him the time to enjoy his other favorite activities: playing golf, eating a nice meal in a good restaurant and smoking a quality cigar in a nice bar.

Joe Hachem‘s most important results:

Place Winnings Tournament
17 $3,460 WSOP APAC 2013, Event 2 – $1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha
12 $18,018 WSOP 2011, Event 39 – $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha
50 $7,143 WSOP 2011, Event 31 – $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha
4 $25,000 WSOP 2010, 2010 Tournament of Champions
103 $40,288 2009 WSOP, Event 57 – $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship
23 $6,686 2008 WSOP, Event 51, H.O.R.S.E.
35 $4,619 2008 WSOP, Event 43, Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight-or-Better
11 €101,000 EPT Season 4, EPT Grand Final
20 $20,000 WPT Season 6, Bay 101 Shooting Star
8 $24,288 2007 Special, APPT Macau Main Event
98 $4,840 2007 WSOP, Event 52, No-Limit Hold’em w/Re-Buys
1 $2,182,075 WPT Season 5, Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic
238 $42,882 2006 WSOP, Event 39, No-Limit Texas Hold’em World Championship Event
4 $90,482 2006 WSOP, Event 29, Pot-Limit Hold’em
15 $9,664 2006 WSOP, Event 18, Pot-Limit Hold’em
2 $256,800 2006 WSOP, Event 5, No-limit Hold’em Short Handed, 6/table
1 $7,500,000 2005 WSOP, WSOP 2005 $10,000 World Championship Event
10 $25,850 2005 WSOP, Event 37, $1,000 No-limit Hold’em w/re-buys

Author: Editor

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