Melbourne native Joseph Hachem, age 39, flopped a straight and re-raised all-in on the turn card to win the final hand in the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event.
He won $7.5 million, the largest prize in poker tournament history.
The climactic moment in the No-Limit Texas Hold'em World Championship event came at 6:44 a.m. (PST) today at Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, where the tournament moved for the final two days in honor of Las Vegas' centennial. Tournament play on the final day lasted a record 13 hours and 56 minutes, topping the previous longest world championship in 1983 by 18 minutes.
Hachem's straight, beat the hand of Steve Dannenmann, 38, of Severn, Md., who captured $4.25 million for second place.
Throughout the night, Hachem was surrounded by a contingent of countrymen who cheered him on chanting "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi!, Oi!, Oi!" after every big hand.
"I was on a mission not just for myself, but for them as well," Hachem said. "From what I've been told by my friends here, Australia has gone mad."
Hachem, who is married and has four children, was playing in his first World Series of Poker.
"I've been trying to get here for a long time," said Hachem, who paid $10,000 in cash to enter the main event. "To have made the final table was an honor. To win, what words?"
Throughout the final day's event, 18 ESPN television cameras captured the action. ESPN begins its coverage of the World Series of Poker on August 23 and concludes November 15, with the coverage of the World Championship final table.
The World Series of Poker World Championship event began July 7 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino with a field of 5,619 players.
The total net prize pool at the 2005 World Series of Poker reached $103 million and the gross prize pool for the World Championship event was $56,190,000, both poker tournament world records. Last year's World Series of Poker total prize money was $49 million and prize money for the World Championship event was $25,760,000. Greg Raymer, 2004 World Champion, won a top prize of $5 million.
Players from all over the globe plunked down the $10,000 it takes to compete in the World Championship event. Hundreds more won a place in the event through a variety of qualifying satellites.
The top nine places at the 2005 World Series of Poker were as follows:
|1st||Joseph Hachem||Australia||$7.5 million|
|2nd||Steve Dannenmann||U.S.A.||$4.25 million|
|3rd||John Derick||U.S.A.||$2.5 million|
|4th||Aaron Kanter||U.S.A.||$2 million|
|5th||Andrew Black||Ireland||$1.75 million|
|6th||Scott Lazar||U.S.A||$1.5 million|
|7th||Daniel Bergsdorf||Sweden||$1.3 million|
|8th||Brad Kondracki||U.S.A||$1.15 million|
|9th||Mike Matusow||U.S.A||$1 million|
The World Series of Poker is owned by Harrah's Entertainment Inc., the world's largest provider of branded casino entertainment.# # #