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The Other Hachem: Life In Joe's Shadow
As a World Champion, a World Poker Tour title holder and the biggest name in Australian poker, Joe Hachem casts quite a shadow.
Yet thanks to a huge year on the PokerStars Australia New Zealand Poker Tour, where he cashed in four of five events on the way to winning Player of the Year honors, Hachem's brother Tony seems to have found a way out from under it.
“People would say I was just Joe’s brother, that I can’t play,” Tony said. “But now I’ve made a number of final tables and cashes. In my mind, poker is all about consistency and I think I’ve proved I have that.
“People say that it’s tough playing in Joe’s shadow, but I try to be positive about it and use it to my advantage. I was given an opportunity, I took it by the horns and I’m running with it.”
There’s always been a lot more to Tony Hachem than just being the brother of the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event champion.
He cashed in the 2007 WSOP Main Event, made a final table at the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza in Las Vegas that same year and found a career best score of NZ$54,000 when he finished runner-up at the 2008 New Zealand Poker Championship.
Plus, PokerStars has always seen him as a marketable character with great networking skills, a socialite with celebrities Down Under and a popular figure amongst the ever growing community of poker players in the region.
As a result, Tony was sponsored by PokerStars for a number of tournaments, a move that immediately garnered its fair share of criticism regardless of Tony's track record.
“People have said to me, ‘What does it take to be a PokerStars pro? Can I just change my name to Hachem,’” explained Joe.
“I’ve heard it all before and a lot worse,” added Tony. “It’s like, ‘You are Joe’s brother, so you got a sponsorship,’ but that’s not how it is.
“All I can say is when people are given opportunities, they either let them pass or they make the most of them and I made sure I made the most of this one.”
Wearing the PokerStars patch, Tony made 15th at ANZPT Adelaide for AUD$5,870, 17th at ANZPT Sydney for AUD$8,874, 16th at the ANZPT’s 2009 Melbourne Texas Hold'em Championship for AUD$5,450, and 18th ANZPT Queenstown for NZ$3,015.
As a result, 43-year-old Joe couldn’t be more proud of his 36-year-old little brother.
“He was just consistent and honestly pretty unfortunate not to have a major score,” Joe said. “The thing is, I’m really happy he did something in his own right. He deserves it.”
Tony’s name is rarely written, by the mainstream or poker press, without mention of Joe.
But the ever-humble younger Hachem grew up idolizing his big brother and says he doesn’t mind.
“Honestly, being Joe’s brother isn’t a bad thing,” he said. “He’s always going to be my brother.
“The game of poker is growing around the world and Joe is a big part of that, here and abroad. I guess people are just going to have to get used to the idea that Joe’s got a younger brother who loves the game, loves interacting with the people and can play a little too.”
While he had the sponsorship before, the spoils of winning the ANZPT Player of the Year title includes a cheque for AUD$60,000 and a spot on the Team PokerStars Australia roster.
What that means is Tony will be playing in the second season of the ANZPT kicking off in Adelaide next month, several stops on the upcoming fourth season of the PokerStars Asia Pacific Poker Tour and the 2010 Aussie Millions, where he has already made 11th in a prelim for AUD$9,144 and started play on the final day one flight of the main event Tuesday, just a few tables over from Joe.
“There are some things in poker that I want to achieve this year,” added Tony. “I really want to win a tournament or at least maintain the consistency I had last year and I think the Aussie Millions will be a good start.”
To follow the progress of the Hachem brothers, and the entire 2010 Aussie Millions main event, tune in to PokerListings’ Live Updates through January 30.