WSOP Main Event: An Aussie Family Affair

by Ali Lightman

** 12:00 am **

Billy Sukkar just went out. It was a clash of the blinds. Billy, in the small blind had 22 and the big blind 10 10.

They both flopped a set.

Rosa Bennett was down to 9k and feeling frustrated after being moved 3 times in Level 4, and again just minutes into Level 5. She had lost two massive pots. "I just can't get a read on the table, moving all the time."

Tony Hachem had dropped down to 7.5k but is back up to 11k after taking down two consecutive pots with pre-flop raises.

Joe Hachem's mobile phone will be beeping about now with an incoming text message.

"I've got 27k, cuz!" it reads.

It's from cousin Billy, 31, who along with Joe's younger brother Tony sat down to play in his first WSOP Main Event today.

The two men are seated too far apart even to wave, and have been anxious for news of each other every time I check in with them.

They went into a huddle together on their break a few minutes ago, Tony frustrated with swings in his stack tonight. He'd just lost 12k on the last hand before the break, when he'd been holding KhQh and the flop came 7 T J with two hearts. He had plenty of outs but none of them came, and his opponent called him down to the river, to take the pot with QJo.

So, Tony is back down to 10k but ready to start grinding again.

Whenever they can, given Joe's hectic schedule, the men sit down with friends for a home game in Melbourne. Sit and go's at the kitchen table and on PokerStars are where they've both honed the skills that have got them through the first four levels of play.

Billy entered his first tournament this year, the Aussie Millions, and everyone sat up and noticed when he finished in 27th place. In his second tournament, the Melbourne Championships, he finished 22nd.

Joe had a few words with Tony about survival through this round, so has he been staying in touch with Billy today too?

"Yeah" he said. "He's been talking to me. But I play my own game, I rely on my own instincts" he said, before they headed back in to tackle Level 5.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker