Joe Hachem was born in 1966 in Lebanon. Even as a child, he exhibited an uncanny ability in different gambling-oriented games. He moved to Australia with his family in 1972, where – according to his own words – the most important thing he learned was that family had to be the most important thing in a man’s life.
He has 4 children and has been happily married for 17 years.
In Australia, he has spent 13 years as a chiropractor, a business in which he was quite successful, that is until fate gave him a good hard nudge towards poker. In 2002 he was forced to give up his job due to an extremely rare disease that made it impossible for him to use his hands the way his job demanded.
I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it seems like many of poker’s greats have been pushed towards becoming full time professionals by some freak accidents (see Doyle Brunson). I’m not trying to preach that it was a higher power that shaped these guys into what they are today, I’m just taking note of a weird coincidence.
Anyway, turning a pro seemed like a straightforward choice for Joe Hachem. He had been playing poker and online poker for a while before his big break came. He used to dream about the WSOP and made it an objective of his to take part in a WSOP event someday.
That day came in 2005, when he – sure enough – finished 10th in one of the smaller events and earned $28,000. With that much money at hand, Joe promptly pocketed $18,000 and used the remaining $10,000 to buy into the main event. To say that the investment was a longshot, would probably be the understatement of the year. There were 5,618 other players in the main event, all of whom he had to beat to eventually take home the $7,500,000 prize. He was lucky too, as the poker and online poker craze had just struck the previous year (2004), and participation (and thus the prize-pool) in the WSOP had increased dramatically.
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His final table heads-up opponent, Steve Dannemann had been very much in control of the proceedings up until he ran into Joe and the divine force protecting him. We all know how such giant-blinds final tables give the luck aspect a much bigger than usual role, and the final hand that these two played was a classic illustration of this idea.
Joe called Steve’s raise on a 73o (the suits are not important) and flopped a straight. His all-in was then promptly called by Dannenmann, who had all reasons to believe he was in the lead with a pair of aces. The rest, as they say, is history.
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Other than his 2005 WSOP championship, Joe Hachem has finished 7 more times ITM in WSOP events. He also has one WPT title, one final table and 2 money finishes to boast. His total career earnings exceed $10,000,000 making him the second richest poker player in the world after Jamie Gold.
Having made his dream come true, Joe travels the world nowadays in search of high-stakes tournaments and cash games.