Everything You Need to Know About Joe

A good writer will use as few words or images as possible to tell you everything you need to know about a character. It's more of a challenge than you'd think, because we writers tend to fall in love with our oh-so-clever words, and can't resist using an additional sixty or seventy of them, when fifteen is all we really need.

I don't know Joe Hachem very well. I certainly don't feel comfortable calling him a friend the way I can call Lee Jones a friend, but we met at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure earlier this year, and I instantly liked Joe the same way I instantly liked Greg Raymer, or Isabelle Mercier (without the paralyzing 8th grade crush, natch.) If you've seen Joe on TV, you know almost as much as I do about him, but I saw something a couple of nights ago that tells us everything we need to know about Joe, and what kind of person he is . . .

I stood on the rail just outside the tournament area, and noticed that Joe was one of the chip leaders in event #19, $2000 pot-limit hold'em. While I tried to get a chip estimate (and watched my respect for Jen and her crew at Pokerwire grow,) a man walked under the rope, and went over to Joe's table. He tapped Joe on the shoulder, and pointed at a man and a woman who were about fifteen feet down the rail from me. Joe nodded, and the man walked away.

Joe then turned to the man and woman, held up one finger in the universal "just a second" gesture, checked his hole cards, and mucked them. He stood up from the table and walked over to the rail, where he smiled, greeted them, and posed for a picture. He thanked them for coming by, and returned to his table just in time to prevent his next hand from getting killed.

The man and woman were deliriously happy, and though I initially thought they must have been friends of Joe's, it became clear that they were fans. I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see them; you can't drop a hammer in here without hitting a Joe Hachem fan, but what was truly amazing to me was that Joe got up, in the middle of a tournament, to walk to the rail and pose for a picture with a fan, between hands no less.

While that tells you everything you need to know about what kid of person Team PokerStars' Joe Hachem is, I am a writer and can't resist just a few more words, so bear with me and consider this: if a quarterback was on his way from the huddle to the line of scrimmage, would he stop and take a picture with a fan? If a pitcher had tossed one into the dirt, and the umpire was waiting for new baseballs, would he step off the mound and sign an autograph for a fan? Would an actor walk off the set between takes to pose for pictures with a fan? (I can tell you that the answer, for me at least, is an emphatic no.) There was another bracelet on the line in event 19 for Joe, and he had been playing for at least ten hours by the time I saw this. But he's not only a world champion, he's an incredibly kind and nice and generous man . . . but you already knew that.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker