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Joe Hachem

By Paul McGuire

Joe Hachem is the current World Series of Poker Champion after winning the 2005 WSOP main event. He will always be remembered as the last player ever to win a bracelet and championship in Benny’s Bullpen at Binion’s Horseshoe. Next year’s final table will be held at the Rio. As of today, Joe Hachem has won the most prize money in any single poker tournament ($7.5 million US) and survived the toughest and largest field (5,619 players). Both achievements make him the celebrity du jour in poker and there’s not a single poker player in the world today who does not know his name. Over the next year, everyone who sits at his table will be cowering in fear or gunning to take down a World Champion.

Joe Hachem
Joe Hachem - Source: Las Vegas & Poker

Joe Hachem is originally from Lebanon. He moved to Australia with his family when he was six years old. He was always close to his family and over the years he developed a passion for chiropracting. He studied it intensely for five years before he started a flourishing practice for 13 years. He had devoted almost 20 years of his life to being a chiropractor, but due to a rare blood illness in his hands, he had to make the difficult decision to retire. He switched careers and he found himself working in the mortgage banking sector to provide for his family. That’s what he was doing last before he flew to Las Vegas to play in a few WSOP events with his friends and a few family members. Now that he’s the World Champion, he put his job in banking aside and currently flies all over the world playing in various poker tournaments.

Joe Hachem was also recently signed by the online site Poker Stars to be a member of Team Poker Stars that also features the two other WSOP champions: Chris Moneymaker (2003) and Greg Raymer (2004). Hachem will become an ambassador of poker for Poker Stars as he plays both online and in live events representing Team Poker Stars. Joe Hachem was not an internet qualifier like the other team members, Greg Raymer and Chris Moneymaker.

Joe Hachem bought in to the $10K main event with his own money. A few days before the main event started, Hachem almost made a final table when he finished 10th in Event #37 $1K NL Hold’em with Rebuys. He cashed and won $25K. He decided to play in the main event and not return home to Australia as he originally planned. That ended up being one of the most influential decisions of his life because he ended up beating out a field of 5,619 players in the largest event in the history of the WSOP to win the coveted gold bracelet amidst the chants of "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!" from his loyal supporters, which included his brother and cousin.

Joe Hachem made the final table at the WSOP main event as one of the short stacks. The final table lasted until past sunrise and he waited patiently for some of the other players to knocked each other out. He had been getting his blinds attacked all night long, especially from Aaron Kanter. With Q-7 in the big blind, he defended his blind against Kanter’s 9-9. Hachem flopped a Queen and that hand gave him a confidence boost. He quickly went on a run after that, so that hand against Kanter ended up being crucial towards his heads-up victory against Steve Dannemann. On the winning hand of the tournament, he held 7-3o, which might become known as “The Hachem!” He flopped a straight on a board of 4-5-6. Steve Dannemann held A-3 and had a double gut-shot straight draw. He didn’t get filled in, and Hachem ended up becoming the 2005 WSOP Champion.

Joe Hachem’s previous tournament experience was limited to events at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, where he made two final tables in different Australian Poker Championship NL events. He's also made final tables in smaller buy-ins at the Australian Poker Championships in events such as Pot Limit Omaha and Pot Limit Hold'em.

In the first few weeks after he won the 2005 WSOP, Joe Hachem was on a whirlwind ride as he embraced the celebrity label that comes with being the WSOP Champion. Within the first 30 days of becoming the champion, Hachem conducted hundreds of interviews for various media outlets all over the world. He appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno where America got its first glimpse of the new champion. The rest of America would have to wait until months later to actually see Hachem in action when ESPN aired their WSOP main event. In the following months, Hachem was being courted by hundreds of different companies offering him endorsement deals with various online poker sites, casinos, clothing manufacturers, TV infomercials, and other poker related businesses. They all want the new 2005 WSOP champ as their spokesman. The Crown Casino in his native Melbourne made a big push to have Joe Hachem as their world wide ambassador. He will definitely be participating in the Crown Casino's annual Aussie Million tournament held every January.

Although Joe Hachem has become an overnight celebrity, he doesn't expect to dramatically change his lifestyle. He will still remain a devoted family man. The majority of his winnings will go to pay for his four children's education and the rest will be put aside to take care of his extended family. For now Joe Hachem is enjoying the ride and soaking up every moment that comes with being the 2005 World Series of Poker Champion. He currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with his family and can be found playing on Poker Stars.

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