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Everything about Josef Hachem PROFILE

Josef Hachem alias "Diamond"

Last Update: 8. April 2014


Pokerstars
“Playing Poker quickly makes you come down to earth."
Joe about the ups and downs in poker
11.03.1966
Libanon, LB
Aries
Married
Anthony, Justine, David, James
Melbourne, AU
Australia
Chiropractor
His family, golf, eating out, good cigars, home improvement, going to the movies
Catch me if you can, Loaded pistols, Rounders
Calls his family and Jesus his greatest heroes
...at the age of 18
Hold'em
Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer
“Poker can bring out the worst in people, but when you see somebody who's winning with grace and class and dignity, it's nice“ (Matt Damon), "I like Hachem. His game is interesting and he has a good personality. AND he is a very handsome guy!" (a fan)
Acts in the Australian movie "Prey", is friends with Hollywoodstar Matt Damon

From hobby to passion

Hachem worked as a chiropractor for 13 years, a profession he was very passionate about, but in 2001, completely out of the blue, he was diagnosed with a rare blood disease and had to quit his job. For the two following years he worked as an estate agent to keep his finances in order. When the real estate market started to go through a crisis, things became difficult for him.

Besides working for a living, he continued to improve his poker skills and soon his hobby turned into a passion. He usually played at the Crown Casino in Melbourne and by the time the World Series of Poker was carried out in 2005, he described himself as a semi-professional player, who soon preferred online tournaments over live ones.
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A dream comes true

Like every other poker player, Joe Hachem always dreamed of taking part in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, but was too much of a realist to believe this would ever really happen. He did not want to leave his family for such a long time. Eventually, he did manage to attend this important event, though: one of his friends, who had won a PokerStars tournament and had received the buy in for the WSOP, asked Hachem to join him on his trip to Las Vegas. In the summer of 2005 he departed from his family to take part in the World Series of Poker.

Before the tournament, he had already entered a $ 1,000 no-limit Texas Hold‘em rebuy-event. At the time - still a completely unknown poker player - Joe finished 10th, winning $ 25,850. This check made it possible for him to pay the $ 10,000 entrance fee for the main event of the WSOP 2005.

He nearly got knocked out of the event, as he called an all in holding a pair of threes. Thanks to a 3 on the flop, this hand won him enough chips to move to the final table, still being a complete unknown to most of the other players. In the end, he found himself heads-up with Steve Dannenmann.

Despite holding a 7♣ and 3♠, a very weak hand, Hachem called Dannenmann’s (A and 3♣) pre flop raise. The flop came 4, 5 and 6, which gave Hachem a straight. The turn brought an A♠ and Joe Hachem bet. Dannenmann now felt very secure with his top pair and raised, which lead Hachem to move all in. Dannenmann called and was shocked when he realised Hachem must be holding a straight; he had to hope for a 7 on the river to achieve a tie. The 4♣ appeared, and Joe Hachem beat Steve Dannenmann with his flopped straight. Basking in his triumph he cited Steve Hegyi’s phrase “Pass the sugar!” turning it into a future catch phrase.

Joe Hachem was the winner of the World Series of Poker and walked away with an incredible $ 7.5 million. No poker player had ever won that much money on a tournament before and, on top of that, no one until then had ever outlasted so many players. Now Hachem was offered a generous contract by the online poker giant PokerStars, who he still represents today. 

A natural born winner

Hachem’s fans were celebrating and cheering him as he waved the Australian flag and continually called out: “Thank you, America!” By winning this tournament Joe Hachem set off a real poker boom in Australia, especially because he was only the fourth person from outside the U.S. to win the famous World Series of Poker Bracelet.
His WSOP victory started a huge debate over taxes, because it was not clear if Hachem was a professional Poker player or not. By Australian law, professional poker players have to pay taxes, if gambling is the player’s main source of income, but it does not apply for normal poker players, whose existence is not dependant on poker. Since Hachem had earned money as an estate agent before he won the WSOP, he never saw himself as a professional player. Excited about his triumph he told the public how serious he was about playing poker. When he became aware of the tax consequences playing professionally would have entailed, Hachem returned to referring to poker as a hobby.

The Australian tax office decided that Hachem did not have to pay any taxes after all, because he was not a professional when he first took part in the World Series of Poker. A regulation that might be changed in the future due to the fact that he keeps playing in big tournaments and has signed the aforementioned contract.

A lot of the people, who believed Hachem’s success at the WSOP 2005 was sheer luck, were astonished to see him winning one tournament after the other. Joe impressed both, admirers as well as doubters.
At the 2005 World Series Circuit Tournament in Paris/Bally’s in Las Vegas, Hachem finished fifth. At the WSOP 2006 he made it to the winning ranks four times (twice more than in 2005). He reached the final table twice, finished second at the $ 2,500 short-handed no-limit Texas Hold’em event and won a “consolation prize” worth $ 256,800. Just a couple of days later he finished fourth in the $ 2,500 pot-limit Texas Hold’em event and received another $ 43,882.

A few months later Hachem came first in the WPT Doyle Brunson North American Poker Classic and won $ 2,207,575. He became the fourth out of the five people (Doyle Brunson, Carlos Mortensen, Scotty Nguyen and Dan Harrington) ever to win the WSOP as well as the WPT title.

By now, Hachem has built up a reputation of being a natural at playing poker. His aggressive and strategic way of playing is very successful in international tournaments. All in all, he likes to keep things in perspective, though:

“Playing Poker quickly makes you come down to earth. One day you are a champ and it seems like no one and nothing can bring you down, but the very next day you can find yourself right at the bottom again.”

Hachem also describes himself as a very ambitious person:

“If you aren’t ambitious enough and only play poker for fun, then good luck to you. Call me selfish if you like, but I really want to win every tournament I play. That’s just my extremely ambitious nature.”

Family - Joe's number one priority

On his MySpace profile, Hachem lists his heroes: Jesus, his wife and kids, Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer. About Greg Raymer, an American poker pro from North Dakota, who won the 2004 WSOP, he once said:

"If I can be half the champion Greg Raymer was, I'll be happy. Greg's a good guy and a consummate professional. He's smart, always a gentleman, he has both his feet on the ground and has his priorities all worked out, and that’s just the kind of men the poker community needs."

In 2007 Joe Hachem played a small part in the Australian film “Prey”. The story is about two Americans, who disappear on the West Coast of Australia while on holiday. Their car and supplies are found untouched in a sand dune near a sacred Aboriginal place. Exactly two years later the corpses of the missing holidaymakers are found in North America. The film “Prey” tells the story of three couples, who decide to spend their holiday at the exact same place twenty years later.

Hachem says he is not superstitious, yet he confirms he will never again wear a certain shirt he was wearing for one of his unsuccessful tournaments, even if he considers himself slightly crazy for even thinking about things like that.

Joe Hachem loves his family and spends most of his time with his closest relatives. He once mentioned that life in Australia taught him one thing: Nothing in life is more important than family. Therefore, he considers caring for them one of his hobbies. His major aim in life is to support and cherish his family.

After his triumph at the WSOP in 2005 he said about his wife: “My wife gets all the credit for my win. She supported me before I left, and I spoke to her on the phone every night during the tournament. She knew how much I wanted to play in the big one. When I first mentioned that I'd like to go, she said, ‘Go for it, honey. Follow your dreams. The kids and I will be fine. I'll hold the fort while you're gone.’ As soon as she said that, I immediately went out and got my plane ticket. You know women, they can change their minds. I knew if I had a ticket, she wouldn't."

Apart from his family, Joe Hachem’s hobbies include playing golf, DIY home improvement, good food and cigars and watching good films. His favourite movies are “Catch me if you can”, “Loaded pistols” and the poker film “Rounders”, in which his friend and actor Matt Damon plays the leading part. Damon on Hachem in an interview:

“Poker can bring out the worst in people, but when you see somebody who's winning with grace and class and dignity, it's nice“

His statement is backed up by a story that happened in a major poker tournament: At a $ 2,000 pot-limit Texas Hold’em event, Hachem was one of the chip leaders, when a man pushed his way through to the table and tapped on his shoulder. The man pointed at a couple, who were huge fans of Joe’s and were watching from outside the barrier. Joe nodded his head and the man left the poker area. He turned around and asked for a short time out. He had another look at his cards, got up and moved towards the barrier right in the middle of the tournament. He smiled at the couple, said hello and posed for a photograph with them. Then he thanked them for coming and returned to his table just in time to prevent his next hand from being killed.

One can see that Joe Hachem is not only an enormously talented poker player, but most importantly he is a very pleasant person, who has managed to stay down-to-earth.

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