Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

Hand History Time Capsule -- Joe Hachem

The Australian uses Good Timing for his Tough Decisions at the Final Table on the Way to a World Title


Joe HachemIn this new series, “Hand History Time Capsule,” Card Player digs up memorable hands to help you relive, or perhaps discover for the first time, pivotal situations from some of poker’s most exciting moments.

The World Series of Poker continued to grow in 2005 and it marked the last time that at least some if was played at the place that started it all, Binion’s Horseshoe in Downtown Las Vegas. The tournament field featured 5,619 players, which was almost unthinkable considering that the main event drew 631 players just three years before in 2002.

An amiable Australian won the world title that year and his name was Joe Hachem. Like Greg Raymer (Who made a strong title defense run, busting in 25th place) a year before Hachem took a 2-1 chip advantage into the heads-up final. As long as luck didn’t completely turn against him Hachem had won the tournament much earlier than when he faced off against Steve Dannenmann. Let’s take a look at how he won the world title at the final table.

Hachem Makes Solid Laydowns and then Doubles Up

Hachem came into the final table in sixth chip-position amongst the final nine with 5,420,000. He was active early and grew his stack 6.8 million but then he had to make a few tough folds, which brought him back down to where he started and then even further diminished his stack. The first tough decision came when Dannenmann raised to 450,000 on the button preflop and Scott Lazar made the call. Hachem then reraised to 2 million. Dannenmann quickly made the call and Lazar folded just as quickly. Hachem was up against a raise of 3,570,000 on top of his 2 million and he decided to concede the pot worth 4.5 million.

A few hands later Hachem got involved in a big pot once again but he decided to turn back before the river. Aaron Kanter raised to 400,000 preflop and Hachem made the call from the big blind. The flop fell 10Club Suit 5Heart Suit 4Spade Suit and Hachem bet 500,000. Kanter made the call and the turn fell JDiamond Suit. Hachem bet 1 million and Kanter reraised all in. Hachem spent a good amount of time in the tank but he ultimately folded, conceding the 3.7 million pot over to Kanter.

After those hits the situation got to the point where Hachem had to get all of his chips (2.1 million at a low point) into the middle and double up while he could still make it worthwhile. He found the opportunity to do so against Lazar on the 69th hand at the final table. Lazar raised to 500,000 preflop from the small blind and Hachem reraised all in for about 2 million more from the big blind. Lazar held KSpade Suit 9Spade Suit and Hachem was well out in front with ASpade Suit QSpade Suit.

The flop came AHeart Suit 10Spade Suit 4Spade Suit, which was a very powerful flop for Hachem, who picked up top pair with the nut flush draw. Lazar needed to catch a runner-runner to win the pot at that point but after the turn card fell 5Club Suit Lazar was drawing dead. The meaningless river card was the JClub Suit. Hachem doubled up to 5,000,000 after the hand to get a new lease on life when just six remained.

Hachem puts himself in a Position to Win

Once Hachem had some chips to work with he was able to put his opponents on tough decisions. He picked up a million more chips uncontested when he moved all in for 3.25 million against Kanter and Dannenmann preflop to keep his chip stack at a manageable level. On hand 147 he doubled up once again, this time through Dannenmann with pocket sevens, winning a race against A-J to keep pace with the rising blinds and antes. A few hands earlier Tex Barch won what was then the largest pot in WSOP history when he doubled up for 22 million through Kanter.

Kanter returned the favor and doubled up through Barch a short time later. While all of this in-fighting was taking place Hachem was climbing the leader board. He doubled up a third time when he raised to 240,000 preflop and Kanter reraised an additional million. Hachem then reraised all in and Kanter made the call for the nearly 5 million more. Hachem held Q-7 and Kanter had pocket nines. Hachem flopped a queen and the hand held to take him past the 13-million mark. Kanter was last in chips after the hand and the setback ultimately led to his demise in fourth place.

Hachem became the chip leader on the 206th hand of play with 20 million, but Dannenmann took back the lead. That meant it was crucial for Hachem to score the third-place knockout punch of Barch when he decided to shove on hand 226. Barch decided to make his last stand by raising all in for 5.65 million after Dannenmann raised to 750,000 and Hachem had made the call of the initial raise. Dannenmann and Hachem then both decided to call the all-in bet of Barch, and they checked down the side pot on a board of 10Club Suit 3Diamond Suit 2Diamond Suit QHeart Suit 9Club Suit. Hachem turned up pocket jacks, Dannenmann showed pocket sevens, and Barch mucked A-6. He was eliminated in third place.

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!

The 16 million that Hachem had won on the elimination hand of Barch grew his stack to almost 40 million, which gave him a solid lead over the amateur Dannenmann, who held just over 16 million and was loving every minute of the exciting final table. The heads-up match proved to be the shortest stretch that took place before an elimination occurred, when just 15 minutes after things started heads-up, a world champion was crowned.

Dannenmann raised to 700,000, and Hachem made the call. The flop was dealt 6Heart Suit 5Diamond Suit 4Diamond Suit, and Hachem checked. Dannenmann bet 700,000, and Hachem raised an additional million. Dannenmann made the call, and the turn fell ASpade Suit. Hachem bet 2 million, and Dannenmann raised to 5 million. Hachem reraised all in, and Dannenmann made the all-in call. Hachem turned over 7Club Suit 3Spade Suit for a flopped straight, while Dannenmann held little hope with ADiamond Suit 3Club Suit in the hole. The river brought the 4Club Suit, and Hachem was crowned the world champion. The jovial Dannenmann was eliminated in second place, and he won $4.5 million. Shouts of, “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oy! Oy! Oy!” spread throughout the Horseshoe as the sun rose outside over Las Vegas.

How the Hand Histories Look Now

The win by Hachem established him as an international poker star and made him the Godfather of Australian poker. He went on to vindicate the victory by winning multiples tournament titles, including the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 2006 and he now holds $11,261,576 in career earnings after he was awarded $7.5 million as the world champion in 2005.

Hachem hung back at the final table early, and avoided some possible catastrophic pots with timely lay downs. He put the two times he doubled up to good use to survive deep into the final table and then he grew his stack when he would need it. He also won a timely pot three handed to give himself the chip lead before the heads-up final. Did Hachem get lucky to double up when he needed to at the final table? Or did he know exactly when it was wise to risk all of his chips and when it was smart to stay out of a major pot?

The answers to these questions are for you to decide.



10 years ago

Another just awfully written article..."The answers to these questions are for you to decide,"...pathetically jr highish...