2008 World Series: Snap! Hachem takes his leave
Take a deep breath and stick with this next sentence; it makes sense, I promise. If events like the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha hi-low split eight or better put the "series" into "World Series", then players like Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem are responsible for representing the "world" part.
As pretty much everyone who has ever riffled a chip is well aware, Hachem was born in Lebanon but now represents his adopted home of Australia. When he charged to the world title in 2005, he did so to the raucous soundtrack of "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!" from an enthusiastic rail. And when major result after major result followed, Hachem emerged as far more than a one-hit wonder: his bank and air miles account ticked ever upward as he became a global ambassador for the game.
But while Joe may be miles away from his childhood home when he visits Las Vegas, he is clearly wholly comfortable strolling around the Rio, whatever event is underway. And no one was surprised yesterday when Joe moved into the money in that mouthful of a tournament mentioned up there. He didn't take it all the way to the final table today -- Joe just busted in 35th for $4,619 -- but it's another impressive result for the former world champ and further proof of his pedigree.
And his presence did not gone unnoticed by his table-mates. I watched the final couple of orbits of Joe's tournament, including the moment when he was moved to a new table, checked his big blind to one limper, then folded when the limper bet. Pretty standard, until the limper - a young guy in the one seat - looked at Joe and said: "Can I take your picture?" even as he was restacking his chips.
Joe smiled, sensing a curious rub-down perhaps. But the guy said: "I'm just a tourist. I didn't plan on playing the tournament. Can I have a photo?" With that, he reached into his back-pack beneath the table and took out a camera. "Not while I'm in a hand, but sure. Of course you can." With small blind folded, Joe looked across, smiled again, and CLICK: "The day I took the big blind of a world champion" was captured for ever.
It was only a few hands later that Hachem departed. His Kh-Kc-5s-4h losing both ends of the pot, all in pre-flop, to his his opponent's Ad-4c-2c-7d when the board ran out 3c-Qc-7c-4s-As. Composed and polite, Joe took his leave. But he'll be back. And there'll be plenty more opportunities for photos as this series reaches its business end.
Hachem gave an in-depth interview with our video blog team this week. Check out the piece below in which Hachem talks about how to be successful, money management, pacing, and stepping down when necessary.
Watch WSOP 08: Joe Hachem On Poker Success on PokerStars.tv