WSOP Main Event Day 3: Joe Hachem updates
The World Champion has survived a grueling day battling for his place in Day 4 of the main event.
"To finish at $141 000 after the day I've had, I'm ecstatic."
While still under average ($174 000) it's a big improvement, both emotionally and in terms of his stack. Joe headed into a slump early this evening after clashing with PokerStars qualifier Vaughn Sandman, and started leaking chips.
"I had no fight left in me after that kid made a move."
As detailed in an earlier post Joe made a pre-flop raise of $22 500 and was stunned when Vaughn, the table chip leader, moved all in.
Joe folded, flipping over AK only to see Vaughn turn AQ, and take the pot.
"The sad thing is, with play like that, he's going to dump all of his chips off on someone, and it won't be me."
Ted Forrest lost a huge pot to Joe, something around $80 000, to put him firmly back into contention in the closing half hour of play.
Sadly for Ted, he then came under attack by William Thorson and lost another huge chunk, going from $245 000 to what looked like less than $100 000, in less than half an hour. William has $628 000, very close to the chip leader, PokerStars' Dmitri Nobles.
As Joe and I were chatting Scott Lazar wandered over and offered his perspective.
Of the 1159 players who started today, Scott said "there are only 50 tables left.That's how close you are."
Joe's chipstack is now adorned by a large lump of quartz. Where did it come from?
"A waiter who'd been serving me came over a little while ago. He pressed it into my hand and wished me luck."
Joe is looking a lot happier at his new table surrounded by huge stacks.
They broke his old table with one hour and seventeen minutes to go in the last level of play for the day.
It's what he wanted.
But when I asked him for a chip count a minute ago he refused to count them (with a smile.)
My guess would be in the low $90 000s, barely more than half the current average of $170 000.
He's chatting away to William Thorson on his left, who has built such towering candlesticks of chips I went cross-eyed trying to work it out.
William has an impressive tournament record over the past two years, his biggest finish being fifth place in the LA Poker Classic last year for which he took home $36 557.
Next to William, the intently focussed young Daniel Kreitzman, who has $304 000.
Further round the table is Dan Nassif from St Louis Missouri who has $475 000.
Ted Forrest in seat nine has $245 000 and Paul Sexton has $126 000.
If Joe is going to double up in the remaining half hour of play this is the table where he'll do it.
He's already demonstrated he's willing to put them all in once. He called a bet of $8 000 in the big blind. The flop was 9s Jh 9c. Joe checked, and when the button bet $10 000 Joe moved all in. The button folded and Joe took the pot.
Joe went into the break with around $98 000. He took down a couple of blinds with uncontested pre-flop raises. But he was obviously still thinking about laying down his AK to an all-in pre-flop raise from the table chip leader, PokerStars qualifer Vaughn Sandman, who was behind with AQ.
"He might have lost his mind. But I haven't lost mine mate."
That was Joe Hachem moments ago, clearly frustrated at a move made against him by PokerStars satellite winner Vaughn Sandman, which cost him $22 500 actual chips, but potentially a lot more.
It was Joe's button. There was a raise to $7 500 from late position, which Joe re-raised up to $22 500.
Vaughan Sandman in the small blind, who has Joe easily covered, re-raised all in.
"Every's got a hand this round have they?" Joe asked. "Mind if I think for a little bit?"
The World Champion rose and paced towards his wife Jeannie, and a few seconds later as he returned to his seat, tv crews had materialised out of nowhere. Joe was facing a huge decision, perhaps for his tournament life, under boom microphones and the scrutiny of cameras.
He turned to Vaughn saying "I know you're not making a play. I might just call you out of frustration. Nobody folds this hand, mate."
But fold he eventually did, flipping his cards to show AK.
Vaughn did the same, showing AQ, which seem to provoke Joe into making a warning to the table.
"Any one of you that wants to play a hand with me now, you'll be playing for all of your chips."
"Now you guys are in trouble!"
That was the warning from the World Champion, as the applause ebbed away in the tournament room and the players who've made it into the money got down to business making a bit more.
"My wife is here and she's my lucky charm" said Joe "and I'm taking off my jacket so watch out!"
Joe has $178 000.
Sitting on his left with $211 000 is Vaughn "rosebudd" Sandman, who won his seat online at PokerStars. Vaughn, 30 is from NYC, and played chess at a national level when he was at elementary school.
He now lives in LA and has been playing poker for six years. He tried to turn pro a few years ago but it didn't work out and he's now having another run at it and it's going well.
Joe and Vaughan have been keeping out of each other's way for the most part.
One of our PokerStars qualifers from Downunder, Peter Sun, is going great guns. He's just knocked out Layne Flack and has just over $200 000. Peter, 49, uses creative visualation (he imagines himself sitting in a huge pile of cash) but has also had some great luck today.
It was a three-way pot. Peter had QQ, another player had KK and Layne Flack had 88, pushing all in when the flop brought an 8. Unfortunately for Layne the turn was Q, and Peter had busted out two for the price of one.
Russell Davies, who has an impressive tournament record back home in Australia, is also going deep into the main event, with $150 000 at last count.
As we hit the money bubble, and play orbit-for-orbit until 15 people bust, Joe Hachem sits with $158,000.
Level two became frustrating for the World Champion, who went to the break with $154 000, a dip of around $20 000 from an hour ago.
He told me he'd called an all-in raise from a short stack, who pushed in for $13 000 when he found Q 10.
"I had A K and he hits a Queen on the flop."
To make matters worse Joe then doubled up the other short stack at the table.
The big blind had only played three hands all day, so Joe thought he could make a move from middle position and bet $4 000.
He never expected him to move all in.
Joe said "I've got two outs", called, and flipped 7 5o.
Woops. The big blind was holding cowboys. At least it was only $3 200 Joe more sent across the felt.
As players went for their break Joe hung around to watch a showdown between the small blind and and seat 7, then wished he hadn't.
The flop wasn't what he wanted to see.
"I folded 5 6 in the big blind. I didn't want to get involved. I would have hit two pairs and taken them both out."
Players are on break for thirty minutes.
There seem to be a few nerves at table 7, noone wanting to clash with Joe Hachem who has built his stack to $173 000 in the past hour.
"A big gun-shy are you" asked Joe of the small blind, who was looking rather worried about completing when he had Joe to act behind him. He mucked, answering the question.
A moment later Joe took the blinds from the button with a bet of $4 000.
Russell Davies, PokerStars satellite winner from Sydney, is having a good opening session.
Her's just won a pot of $23 000 and has about $150 000.
Peter Sun from Queensland is up to $130 000. Adrian Pitt isn't hitting cards yet and told me he was still hovering around $50 000.
Josh Egan, our only Kiwi PokerStars qualifier to survive Day 2, is up about $10 000 from the start of play, on $105 000.
Sam Khouiss has been up to $100 000 but is down again to $60 000 after losing three hands in a row to the player on his left.
Joe Hachem has added $40 000 to his stack in the opening level of Day 3, going into the break on $154 000.
"That was all without seeing a showdown" said Joe, "it's a good table."
I saw him clash with with PokerStars qualifer Vaughn Sandman, seated to Joe's left.
Joe was under the gun and bet $3 200, and was called by Vaughn, a player opposite, and the big blind.
The flop came 10s 6d 9c.
The big blind and Joe checked, and Vaughn bet $7 000, pushing out everyone except Joe.
The turn was Js which both players checked and when the river was 5h, Joe bet out $15 000.
"Come on mate" he said, "Pay me off".
Vaughn didn't think very long before mucking his hand.
Another PokerStars player from Australia, satellite winner Russell Davies, has also been building his stack during this level, up around $10 000 to $115 000 when the break started.
And a quick check of our other PokerStars satellite winners from Downunder revealed Peter Sun, a Gold Coast businessman, holding steady around $112 000, Adrian Pitt on $52 000, and Josh Egan, a 22 year old student from New Zealand, on around $90 000.
Sam Khouiss, who's a big PokerStars player from Sydney, has around $70 000.