No Joe Shmoe

HachemwinsThere is a new world champion of poker.  And chances are, you’ve never heard of him.

But you will soon come to know Joseph Hachem.  His all ins will be all over your television in October, when ESPN begins airing the WSOP Main Event. 

It was the longest final table in the history of the WSOP (something Mike Matusow hinted would be the case after he was knocked out in 9th).  Play began shortly after 4pm (PST) and last waaaaaaaaaay into the morning.  Finally, at 6:44am, Joseph Hachem won Texas Hold’ems biggest prize. 

So, who is Joseph Hachem?

Name: Joseph Hachem
Age: 39
Born: Lebanon, but lives in Australia now
Profession: Ex-chiropractor, now a professional poker player
Family: Married with four kids

Hachem has been playing poker professionally for years now, mostly in Europe and Australia.  He waited until his children grew up some before coming out to Las Vegas from Australia and entering the WSOP.  His "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!  Oi!  Oi!  Oi!" rooting section wasn’t just contained to the confines of Binion’s.  "I was on a mission not just for myself, but for them as well," Hachem said. "From what I’ve been told by my friends here, Australia has gone mad."

Hachem had a strong lead-in game to the WSOP Main Event.  He finished 10th in Event #37 ($1,000 NLH) right before starting the Main Event.  A confidence carry-over coupled with a clear strategy to pick his spots and not make mistakes eventually shot Hachem to the chip lead in the Main Event.  Very eventually.  Over 11 hours into the final table, eventually.

The longest ever final table in WSOP history proceeded at a freaking grueling pace.  Doyle Brunson wasn’t kidding when he said NLH can be prolonged periods of "sheer boredom."  But as is the case with NLH, out of nowhere, with one flop or turn of a card, everything changes. 

And so it was for Joseph Hachem. 

On Hand 232 of the final table, Steven Dannenmann had the button and raised.  Hachem called.  Dannenmann held Ad-3c.  Hachem a dominated 7c-3s.  But the flop produced a 6h-5d-4d, giving Hachem a straight.  Dannenmann bet, Hachem raised, and Dannenmann called.  The turn was an Ace.  And it was all over.  Exchanging raises and re-raises, both Hachem and Dannenmann end up with all of their chips in the pot.  Only a 7 on the river (splitting the pot) could save Dannenmann.  The river was unkind…a 4…and Hachem wins it all. 

Hachem paid the $10,000 entry fee himself to enter the event.  Best 10 grand he’s ever spent?  "I’ve been trying to get here for a long time," said Hachem. "To have made the final table was an honor. To win, what words [could do it justice]?" 

With that 1 in 76 chance of flopping a made straight, this 1,000 to one shot of winning the WSOP did just that.  Hachem outlasted the likes of Ivey, Watkinson, Matusow, and Raymer to win the Main Event bracelet.  His picture now will line the Binion’s wall of champions with Brunson, Ungar, Chan, and Hellmuth–or in other words, the who’s who of poker. 

So who is Joseph Hachem?  Who cares?  He’ll always be the 2005 WSOP champion.  Among poker players, that’s all that really matters. 

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One Response

  1. john

    October 6, 2005 12:00 am, Reply

    Your blog is very concise yet substantially informative. What is impressive is that from what I have read, Hachem will do to Australian Poker what Moneymaker just did for the American Virtual Poker. Kudos to you for this!

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