WSOP Main Event: Day1D: Hachem at feature table updates.
(All updates just below the photo)
The World Champion has busted out yet another player during Level 5, which saw action at the feature table get a lot livelier.
Joe raised under the gun and it was folded around to Seth Entwisle in the big blind. Seth looked down, found AsQs, and re-raised all in for his last $5 000.
"You are joking" said Joe, staring him down.
And that's when Seth got that sinking feeling.
"As soon as I heard him say that, I knew he had kings."
His read was right, though too late. Joe flipped over red Kings and 33 year old Seth was heading back to his organic lawncare business in Springfield, Missouri.
Allyn Jaffrey Shulman, the only woman at the table, has been playing a short stack brilliantly for most of the day. She and William Deadwyler are the only two survivors to start the day on Joe's table.
She's been hitting cards, and hard, in the past hour. She's pushed all in five times during the last level, inducing near hysterics in her son Julian, who's watching in the bleachers.
At one point she tangled with Joe, calling his pre-flop raise. When the flop came 6h 8s Qc, he fired at the pot again, and Allyn called to her son, "any advice?"
As Julian shrugged helplessly Joe answered for him, "Allyn, don't call!"
She's built her stack to more than $30 000 and Julian has stopped hyperventilating.
I was hanging out on the bleachers with William Deadwyler's roomie from George Washington University in DC, and heard the extraordinary tale of how he came to be facing the World Champion across the table.
William and Dustin Beruta, also 21, met in freshman year over poker games in their dorm.
This year they decided to try their luck in Vegas over the summer with no intentions of playing in the WSOP. After a 27 hour driving stint, from Philadelphia to Denver, in May, they collapsed in their room.
William wasn't tired so he logged onto PokerStars and won a satellite to the Main Event.
His energy is flagging but his game is not and he is level pegging with Joe on chips.
Dustin's been promised that if William wins any serious cash, they're going to freight the car home and fly back to school.
Spectators in the bleachers are getting a little restive tonight, or the men are at least. The tv crew has been shooting reaction shots, and that's what we've been seeing on the monitors during Level 4. It makes it hard to follow the table action, but it is fascinating to see the nuances of emotion and decision flickering across the players' faces.
After about fifteen minutes of big close-ups on Joe there was a sigh from behind me.
"My oh my, but the scenery is pretty."
I turned around to agree and met Beverley Hoff. She's part of a Mum cheer squad, barracking for one of the three original players remaining who sat down with Joe at the start of the day.
Beverley plays a girls' home game in Dallas with Linda Johnson, who has come to Vegas with her girlfriends to support her 34 year old banker son, Zach.
And so they should, as the ladies taught Zach to play poker in the first place.
Sadly, Zach busted out a little later, another victim of PokerStars player William Deadwyler who is amassing a monster stack. Zach was all in with AQ against William's pocket 5s, which seem to be the student's lucky hand today. The board came 7 A 5 8 10 giving him a another set of 5s and sending Zach home.
Joe took down a big pot just at the end of Level 4. The under the gun player called, and was followed in by three more limpers.
It was Joe's button.
"I had 84 offsuit"
He raised, closed his eyes, stuck his fingers in his ears and hoped for the best.
He got callers and the flop came 6 6 4. It was checked around to Joe, who bet out again. They all folded and he showed his cards to the table.
Joe has $27 000.
Young William thinks he might have double that amount but wasn't keeping count as he went on his break.
"I still feel sick. I think I'll be nauseous until I bust out or win."
Joe has been chilling through Level 3, shoes off, feet up, 50 Cent on his iPod.
"I haven't seen any hands this round, I'm not getting involved."
So he's been doing something else he does very well, entertaining the table.
"Everyone's having fun, it's Joe, he's keeping it light" said feature table dealer Jason Bouslaugh, (whose alter ego is dealer floor coordinator).
While he didn't get cards, Joe did get away with a couple of moves to increase his stack by $1 000. He's headed up to his room to relax over the dinner break, with $20 500.
William Deadwyler has taken the table chip lead, with more than $27 500, but his nerves haven't calmed down since the start of play. Didn't the sandwich Joe bought for him help?
"It was nice", he said "but I'm so nervous I could hardly eat it".
William has gone searching the Convention Centre for chicken noodle soup but fears that may still be too much of a challenge for his tender young stomach.
Even so, the Economics Major from George Washington University, who won his seat on PokerStars, has cranked things up a gear in this level, attacking the blinds and winning a huge pot in an all-in showdown. He had pocket 8s against Qh3h, and made a set on the river.
Has he come with any supporters? Perhaps a girl?
"I'm single right now. It sucks. If you could find me a girl that would be sweet."
If he continues to play as well as he has so far, I suspect the girls will come find him.
Joe Hachem has almost doubled his starting stack and went into the last break with $19 500.
There's another new face at the feature table as 24 year old Cody Hutchings, from Turlock, California, has busted out. His QQ was no good against AA on a board of 8 J 4 2 J.
So how did he feel playing against Joe? "Intimidated" he said, before wandering dejectedly from centre stage.
The father in Joe came out during this level. He got up during play and strolled away, I presumed to stretch his legs, given the stampede of leg-stretchers bolting for the nearest facility on every break.
He came back with a bag of sandwiches, tossing one across the table to William Deadwyler.
"The kid said he was hungry. I wanted some gum, and I can't eat while others are hungry, it's a culture thing." (Thanks for the tuna salad Joe. Blogging and breakfast, and for that matter, lunch, don't mix.)
There were a couple of big hands that got Joe's stack up. He called a bet from his right on a flop of 5s 8c Jh, and when his opponent checked the turn, 7h, moved all in.
"But I can't tell you what I had."
A little later a player in middle position made a pre-flop bet of 600, which Joe raised up to 1 600, and got called. The flop came Q J rag, and the other player folded to Joe's bet of 3 500.
He says the complexion of the table hasn't changed despite the new players. William Deadwyler, our PokerStars qualifier from Philadelphia, is used to a little macho head-butting as he's on his University Rugby team. He's the other big stack at the table, and in one hand shortly before the break wanted to know if Joe had him covered.
Joe Hachem has claimed his first scalp in the closing moments of Level 1 and now has $15 500 in chips.
Joe bet out from early position, got one call and was then raised by the Small Blind. Joe looked at him, smiling, and raised it up again, forcing one player out and sending the original raiser into the tank. 26 year old Nick Voyatzis, from Los Angeles, looked at his cards and remaining $4 700 chips and pushed them all in, getting an instant call.
Joe turns over black Aces and the table sees Nick flip QQ. The flop comes Ace-high and Nick is going home.
Was it any consolation, being busted out by the World Champion?
"No" said Nick. "I feel terrible. Doesn't matter who it was."
Earlier William Deadwyler, the 21 year old who'd only vaguely heard of Joe until he sat down opposite him, took down his first big pot. He flopped a set of 5s against AK on a King-high board. As he gathered in his chips, laughter rippled around the table.
"What was the joke?" I asked Joe going into his break.
"The kid stopped breathing" he replied. "He got called by the tightest guy on the table. Even when he knew he was home he didn't breathe. I reminded him to start again, asked if he wanted a Valium."
Joe, fruit-box in hand, water bottle in the other, then went straight to wife Jeannie, sitting in the bleachers behind him with two of her cousins, Marlene and Samantha.
"It's nerve-wracking" Jeannie said, "I'm chatting to everyone so I don't watch him play. I know he's a big star, but to me he's just my husband. He's my baby."
A 21-year-old PokerStars qualifier was first to find his seat today at Table 155 and looked a bit stunned that it was centre stage, surrounded by cameras and bleachers full of people.
"Do you know who's on your table?" I asked William Deadwyler, from Philadelphia. "No ma'am".
"Joe Hachem" I said. "Oh yeah" replied William, "I heard he was some kind of celebrity."
You could say that. Everyone else looks petrified of the World Champion, who has a touch of Zorro about him today in black clothing and dark shades.
In the first 15 minutes of play Joe had won a pot, stealing the blinds with a pre-flop raise, and lost one when his bets from middle position were called down to the river by the button.
There was a bit of kerfuffle ten minutes later when a player acted out of turn, but the excitement was ended before it really began, by the floor supervisor.
There'd been an empty chair for 40 minutes, and it was a slightly sheepish looking young man who was led eventually to his seat. It didn't appear to me that he was doing a Hellmuth, but rather just got a bit lost when he found the real Table 155 empty.
Joe's taken down a couple more pots with pre-flop raises and generally play is tight, early on.