Hachem Hunts Aussie Millions Glory

Joe Hachem
'I’d love to win an EPT, but to win the Aussie Millions; it would be unbelievable.'

His face may be plastered all over the walls of Melbourne’s Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex offering you the chance to win millions.

But make no mistake about it, when the main event begins Sunday, 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Joe Hachem would rather keep the Aussie Millions for himself.

“I look forward to it ever year,” the Team PokerStars Pro and Crown Casino Ambassador told PokerListings. “But it’s like a love-hate relationship. I’d love to win it and I’ve been close three or four years now, but I just haven’t been able to get there. Maybe it’s because I would love to win it so much.”

An Australian poker icon and worldwide superstar, Hachem’s $10,856,216 in career live tournament earnings puts him sixth on poker’s all-time leading money winners list.

Of course, he has the WSOP main event bracelet and his December 2006 win at the World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic gave Hachem a WPT title, making him one of only five players to have both.

But earning a third jewel in his very own triple crown is what Hachem truly desires.

“That would really seal the deal for me,” he said. “I mean, I’d love to win an EPT, but to win the Aussie Millions; it would be unbelievable.”

In fact, the Lebanese-born, Melbourne-raised Hachem wants to win on his home soil so badly, he can almost taste it.

“I have to make a final table there, I just do, and if I do, I promise you if I make the final table there, I will win it,” he said.

A chiropractor in Melbourne for more than a decade before a rare blood disorder affecting his hands forced him to give up his career, Hachem actually started taking poker seriously playing tournaments at Crown a decade ago.

The Aussie Millions itself began when the Crown Australian Poker Championship moved to January in 2001 with just 40 entrants putting up the AUD$5,000 buy-in.

The event, along with the game of poker in Australia, has grown infinitely since, attracting a truly international field and peaking in 2008 when 780 players ponied up the now AUD$10,000 buy-in.

His 2005 WSOP win was a major catalyst for the poker boom in Australia, but Hachem believes the game itself has always been a perfect fit for Aussie culture.

“I think Australians really have that competitive nature and poker, especially tournament poker, it brings that out in you,” he said.

In 2009, the Aussie Millions title was kept on home soil for the first time when Adelaide chef-turned-poker player Stewart Scott beat a field of 681.

This year, with poker as popular as ever Down Under, organizers are estimating the field could reach as many as 800 players.

To follow all the action, tune into PokerListings’ Live Updates beginning at 12:30 p.m. Melbourne time Sunday.

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