WSOP Main Event: Brother of the more famous Joe
by Ali Lightman
Rosa Bennett's table was the happiest I saw on my last lap of the room. Even though she's taking their money she's making them laugh.
And she has reason to be cheerful. Australia's Poker Princess went into the break having made a beautiful read on one of her opponents.
Rosa had bet 700 with KJ in early position, and it was folded around to the big blind, who re-raised, making it 1500 to go. Rosa flat called him.
The flop came T J 6, and Rosa fired 2600 at the pot. The big blind thinks and thinks, so Rosa gives him the tip "Ace Queen is no good".
He looks down at his cards and, as he throws them into the muck in disgust, flashes the cards to the rail revealing that he is in fact holding AQ.
He might think twice before tangling with her again.
Tony Hachem seems have slipped under the radar of the other players at his table, as he hoped, and they're yet to find out he's the younger brother of resigning WSOP Champion, Joe. He's just lost a sizeable pot and is down to 16k, but is remembering Joe's advice not to get involved in big pots with marginal hands, and to be patient.
Meanwhile Joe and Tony's cousin, Billy, is progressing steadily, and has 22k.
allways look, a member of Team PokerStars from New Zealand who tells me he is a "slightly talented amateur" is on 15.5k.
We've lost one from Team PokerStars New Zealand. 26 year old sales consultant, Shaun Gray, from Auckland, just went all in for his last 2k with AQ and was called by KT, but as Shaun said, he was getting the cards but not hitting the flops. KT did. He had a ball and is in no hurry to leave as his buddy from home, allways look, another member of Team Pokerstars NZ, is still in and sitting on 16k.
And it's a family affair for the Hachem's today. As well as Joe's brother Tony Hachem, their young cousin Billy Sukkar is playing. Both are holding their own, Billy has 12.5k and Tony's stack has risen steadily to just more than 15k.
And Rosa has been up and down a bit but she has 10k and is still smiling.
If your big brother was the reigning WSOP Champion, would you want your opponents at the table to know?
Not a chance.
"None of them know who I am" whispered Tony Hachem, early in Level 1 of play today. And that's the way the 33 year old from Melbourne wants to keep it.
Tony has a game plan, hatched with Joe, and he wants to act on it without other players taking shots at him, simply because of his name.
"I just want to feel the table for the first couple of hours, and stay above par. If they're aggressive, I'll stay behind the aggressor, and if they're tight I'll start attacking the table."
Tony woke up at four am today and went for a walk, where he bumped into a group of exhausted Aussies who'd just survived Day 1B. He knows it's going to be a long hard slog.
"We're talking about 14 hours of play" he said. "I'm a runner, so I look at this as a marathon. I'm going to pace myself, and I'm going to enjoy it."
"Joe told me to play each hand on its merits, minimise what it costs me, and stay patient."
Also playing today is the girl they call "Poker Princess" back home, (although I have also heard her described as Rosa "The Destroyer" Bennett, and said it myself when she booted me out of a Ladies Event.)
27 year old Rosa, the only female member of Team PokerStars Australia, learned to play poker during a holiday in Las Vegas a couple of years ago, and hasn't looked back.
She carves up the cash tables at her home poker room in Melbourne, and every now and then thinks about quitting her job in fashion retail, to turn pro.
She reckons she's made Aud $50 000 in the short time she's been playing, and that being female is a distinct advantage.
It's also an advantage being a woman journalist, because I can ask the questions men simply can't.
She knew I wasn't hitting on her when I asked her today if being a gorgeous looking woman is an advantage at the table. She looked me in the eye and said "yes. As a girl, they think I'm tight. I've raised 4 times already and only got one caller. They think I only play good cards. They have no idea I can bluff."
And the move she just made will reinforce any view they may have that Rosa plays tight.
She just won two out of three consecutive hands, with pre-flop raises. The last time she was on the button.
"You must be so sick of me stealing your blinds" she giggled to the men on her left. "But I've always got a hand" she said, flipping her cards to show the table KQo.