WSOP Event #29: Hachem and Premier make final table

Three weeks.

Three weeks ago, 2005 WSOP champion Joe Hachem was sitting in a pool of validation. Less than one year after winning the WSOP main event bracelet for $7.5 million, Hachem was back at a WSOP final table. Under the glare of television lights, he nearly grabbed a second WSOP bracelet. It was a moment that proved to the world that Hachem was no flash-in-the-pan quirk of poker odds. A three-outer ended his chances at grasping a bracelet that day.

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Joe Hachem on the cusp of another televised table

Three weeks ago, a fresh-faced Maros "Premier" Lechman celebrated his 21st birthday. When the 2006 World Series of Poker began, Premiere was still a pup, too young to buy into the first several events of the WSOP. Now, Premier is on the ground in Las Vegas. At the last minute, he used some FPPs to buy into the $2,500 PL Hold'em event.

Photo copyright IMPDI
Premier, just old enough to make his first WSOP final table

Just a little while ago, the event consolidated to one table. One elimination meant Hachem and Premier found themselves next to each-other ten-handed. Fifteen minutes later it happened. Hachem and Premier made the ESPN televised final table of Event #29.

Photo copyright IMPDI

Hachem no longer needs to prove himself on the world stage. He's now made four major final tables in the past year. Premier, who is living in a house here with a bunch of other PokerStars' Supernova players, has no need to prove his poker ability. Anyone who plays at PokerStars knows who he is. In the live game, however, Premier was untested until now. Now, he, too, has proven he has the stuff to make it in a major live tournament.

I met Premier just a few months ago in Dallas. Then, he was still too young to use his FPPs for live poker. Instead, he used them to get the opportunity to play a game of HORSE with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. (Read about the Premier vs Mark Cuban basketball match). There, Cuban got the best of the young poker phenom. Here, Premier plans to use his FPPs to win something much bigger than pride.

Mark Cuban and Premier

As I stepped in to write this, Premier had grabbed his phone. With a fresh, red face, he said into the receiver, "I just made the final table. I'm going to be on friggin' ESPN."

In relation to the blinds ($4000/$8000), both Hachem and Premier have some work to do to make their stacks work for them. Here's how they stack up against the rest of the field.

Lee Markholt $128,000
Maros "Premier" Lechman $101,000
Joe Hachem $64,000

Jeffrey Roberson $24,000
John Gale $134,000
Lee Grove $66,000
Alex Jacob $524,000
Kevin Ho $287,000
Greg Alston $80,000

Nolan Dalla also just informed me that, should Premier prevail tomorrow, he would break the record for the youngest person to ever win a WSOP bracelet.

Final table play begins at 2pm Friday. We'll be here to cover it and root on our guys as they fight for a gold WSOP bracelet.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker