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Joseph Hachem
Arrow How Joe Hachem won the 2005 WSOP
 Joe Hachem Poker WSOP       Joseph Hachem (shown left) beat 5618 players to win the 2005 World Series of Poker (WSOP) earning him a record breaking $7.5 million dollars.

Joe Hachem is originally from Lebanon, however he and his family moved to Melbourne, Australia in 1972. He is married with four children. A chiropractor by trade, he had to give that up a few years ago after a developing a rare blood disorder in his hands. While he was considering his future, he started playing poker. He said, "I started in casinos, but in the past two years, I've been playing online a lot." When he isn't playing online or at the Crown Casino, he runs a small broking business in Pascoe Vale, Australia.

Hachem?s game has improved a lot since he learned how to control his temper. He says "I used to be a lot more excitable. I'm of Lebanese origin so my blood is at boiling temperature at rest. I'm very emotional." This probably helped him have the patience to know when to strike at the final table. He was the short stack at the table when there were five players left and then finally took a stand against Aaron Kanter who had been re-raising him non-stop.

Hachem held Q7 against Kanter's pocket nines and the flop was Q82. The turn brought no help to Kanter and Hachem never looked back after that hand.

Taking a step back this is how the final table action panned out. In the second hand Mike Matusow, with around $7.4 million in front of him found himself covering a $3 million+ all-in bet from Scott Lazar. Matusow was crushed to discover that his Kings had walked head on into pocket aces. When a miracle King hit the flop, the ?motor mouth? was virtually running round the room. Unfortunately, fate had a few more tricks to play on Mike before the hand was complete and two running hearts gave Lazar a flush on the river to scoop the pot. It was a key hand in Matusow?s life and a devastating blow for Matusow. Had he won that his aggression would probably have paid dividends at what was (apart from Ireland?s Andy Black) a comparatively passive and cagey final table, and he may well have gone on to win the whole thing.

Matusow went out in ninth place a half an hour later when his pocket tens were beaten by Daniel Bergsdorf?s A/J when a four came on the turn to give Bergsdorf a bottom straight. Matusow went home to nurse his wounds, slightly consoled by the $1,000,000 he received for ninth place.

After Brad Kondracki and Daniel Bergsdorf fell in seventh and eighth places, it was Scott Lazar?s turn to leave when Andy Black?s two Jacks were good enough to call an all-in move from Scott, holding Q/10 off-suit.

The Irish fans cheering Andy Black were only slightly over run by the Australian contingent chanting for Joseph Hachem. In the early hours of the morning Binions announced that they were completely out of Guinness and Fosters Lager to no one?s great surprise.

For many, Irishman Andy Black was now firm favourite to win the event. Having come 14th in 1997, Black was the only player left at the table with an experience of going that far in. However Black was next to go when a coin-flip 10/10 vs A/K situation went in Steve Dannenmann?s favour. Andy went out to a well deserved standing ovation and a $1.750,000 cheque which was some consolation.

With four players left and an enormous jump in money between each remaining placing it became to a bit of a deadlock. Without the bold aggression of Matusow and Black to spur it on, the game faltered in the entertainment stakes with even the smallest of pre-flop raises causing all the others to fold.

After seemingly hours of early morning cat and mouse, Aeron Kanter went out in fourth place. With only three left from the original 5,619 runners Tex Barch was the smallest stack by a short head and became the target of the other two players. Eventually when Joe Hachem?s pocket knaves stood up against Tex?s weak ace we were finally down to the final two?head to head with the world watching, would it come down to a coin flip or a lucky flop?

It didn?t take long to find out. The blinds were up to a World Series record $150,000 - $300,000 blinds with a running $50,000 ante when a suspicious flop of 6h-5d-4d was dealt into the centre of the table. Dannemann had raised a pre-flop $700,000 from the button and Ozzie Joe Hachem had called. Dannenmann put in a small bet on the flop, holding A/3 and Hachem re-raised it up to $1.7 million to see the turn card. Danenmann with an up and down straight draw and an ace kicker called.

An ace on the turn gave Dannenmann top pair and truly set the cat amongst the pigeons. Hachem immediately came out betting $2,000,000 and when Dannenmann re raised another $5,000,000. Joseph Hachem quietly announced ?All-in!?

?Call? said Dannenmann, flipping over his A/3 (top pair and up and down straight draw) only to see Joe Hacham flip over the second nut straight, holding 3/7 off-suit. To gasps from the audience, knowing it could be all over, only a seven on the river could save Dannenmann to split the pot. When a four paired the board on the river, it was all over and Australia had its first winner of the Main Event at the World Series of Poker. The crowd was filled with cheers and applause as Hacham?s followers descended onto the stage, lifting the new champion man high over their shoulders.

In one of his post-tournament interviews, he said that once he had chips, he knew that he wasn't going to give any of them back and that the title was going to be his.

After winning, Hachem's supporters and fellow countrymen chanted their final "Aussie, Aussie, Oi!, Oi!, Oi!", as they had been doing throughout the final table. Joe wrapped himself in an Australian flag and shouted, "Thank you, America." The Australians observing the final table were not the only people going crazy. Hachem said, "From what I've been told by my friends, Australia has gone mad." Non-Americans have won the World Series of Poker Main Event before, but Hachem is the first Australian.

While Hachem was unknown to most of the poker world prior to his WSOP victory, he did have a track record in Australian tournaments, as well as a tenth place finish in the$1000 rebuys No Limit Holdem event two weeks earlier during the World Series of Poker.

Unlike Chris Moneymaker and Greg Fossilman Raymer when they won their titles, Hachem did not qualify on the Internet, but instead paid the full $10,000 buy-in. He definitely got a good return on his investment. "A million dollars changes my life, let alone $7.5 million," he said. "It changes everything. I can look after my family, my mum, my kids."

Congratulations Jo Hachem, 2005 World Series of Poker Champion!!

Click here for Joe Hacham's Top 12 tips for success.


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