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Hachem Falls Short at The Big Event

Posted at 23:32 2011-03-11

From WSOP Main Event gold to a WPT title, Joe Hachem fell agonisingly close to his third major tournament win in the USA when he finished runner-up today to Victor Ramdin at the Bicycle Casino in California.

Although his family and plenty of local poker keep him based in Australia these days, Joe Hachem headed over to the USA to partake in the invite-only NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship held at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas.

Hachem drew the highly skilled Phil ‘OMGClayAiken’ Galfond as his opponent in the first round. Unfortunately for Hachem he would be unable to progress after his final hand would see his {Qh}{5h} unable to best Galfond’s {Ah}{8c}. Not calling it quits on the poker front for this trip, Hachem ventured down to the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California to tackle The Big Event.

Originally scheduled as an NAPT event, 417 players anted up US$5,000 over the two day one flights to battle it out for a piece of the US$1,921,327 prizepool and US$500,000 first prize. Although a late arrival, Hachem took his seat alongside Ty Reiman and Amnon Filippi and had a fairly quiet day before bagging his chips to survive for a day two berth along with roughly 230 remaining players.

Starting the day by folding to an opponent who flopped a set, Hachem chipped back up when his {Ac}{As} saw him win a multi-way pot, before he shipped from the small blind holding {Ks}{8s}. The big blind looked him up with {Ad}{Jd}, but when the board ran out {5h}{Th}{9h}{7s}{Js}, Hachem happily scooped the double as he was one of the 68 players moving onwards to day three.

Beginning play with 74,000 in chips (under 19-big blinds) and having a last longer turned down against fellow Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, Hachem found a double with {As}{9c} against {Kd}{Qs} before eliminating Pat Pezzin to climb to over 300,000. Not trusting his instincts cost Hachem a potentially sizeable pot when his opponent flashed a semi-bluff before Hachem would double through Josh ‘JJProdigy’ Field to just shy of 800,000 before ending the day on 610,000.

The penultimate day of play saw just 22 players return – all guaranteed a US$11,500 payday – with Hachem moving up the leaderboard when his {Ac}{Ah} won a nice pot off Alex Kamberis. Hachem then rocketed to nearly 1.5 million when his top pair held against David Paredes’ pair and straight draw as just thirteen players remained. Hachem then moved upwards of 1.7 million several hands later with a flopped set against Paredes before the final table of eight was set with Hachem sitting in fourth place overall.

Seat 1: Govert Metaal (149,000)
Seat 2: Taylor von Kriegenbergh (1,810,000)
Seat 3: Santiago Nadal (943,000)
Seat 4: Jeremy Ausmus (4,008,000)
Seat 5: Bryan Leskowitz (1,087,000)
Seat 6: Joe Hachem (1,666,000)
Seat 7: Jose De Noronha (568,000)
Seat 8: Victor Ramdin (2,279,000)

With a US$35,327 payday in the pocket, Hachem – along with the rest of the table – were all gunning for the US$500,000 first prize and title of The Big Event Champion.

Hachem’s 70-big blind stack quickly pushed upwards as Santiago Nadal hit the rail before it increased further when his {Kh}{Jh} outdrew Jose De Noronha’s {7c}{7h} to send him to the rail in seventh. Hachem then dispatched of Govert Metaal in sixth when he again won a race holding {Ac}{Qc} against Metaal’s {5d}{5h} as the final five players reached the break with Hachem in second place with an amassed 3,447,000 in chips.

Doubling Taylor von Kriegenbergh up with a dominated ace, Hachem was then greeted by a birthday cake celebrating his 45th birthday, which hadn’t actually occurred yet in the USA, but was being celebrated by family and friends at home as he hit the second break of the day with only 1,620,000 chips. Bryan Leskowitz exited in fifth before Hachem managed to send von Kriegenbergh to the rail in fourth when his {Ah}{Qd} held true against von Kriegenbergh’s {Kh}{Ts}.

With another break in the bank, Hachem returned to second chip position with 2,835,000 as the 2005 World Champion began motoring on moving to over 3 million before doubling into the lead against Jeremy Ausmus when his {Ad}{Kd} spiked on the flop against Ausmus’ pocket eights. Ausmus then fell shortly after as Hachem entered heads up play with the chip advantage against fellow Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin.

Joe Hachem – 7,090,000
Victor Ramdin – 5,420,000

Over 125-big blinds were in play, and many expected this heads up duel to be a long one, but although Hachem took the first few pots, it would be Ramdin capturing the first major pot when on a flop of {7d}{8c}{5h} he doubled when his {9d}{6c} held against Hachem’s {8d}{6d} as the board filled out with the {Ah} and {6s}.

As Hachem sat on roughly 5 million, he slipped to around the 3 million-chip mark before finding a double with {Td}{7c} against Ramdin’s {Th}{8h} on a board of {9h}{8c}{6h} {5c}. Hachem faded when the river landed the {6d} as the chips were virtually split evenly. Ramdin however would edge back into the lead before the final hand saw his {Ad}{Jh} squared up against Hachem’s {Ac}{Kc} in a preflop clash. Unfortunately for Hachem, the dealer would spread a {Ah}{8h}{Jc}{Ts}{2h} board to end his run in second place for a US$300,000 payday.

1st – Victor Ramdin (US$500,000)
2nd – Joe Hachem (US$300,000)
3rd – Jeremy Ausmas (US$190,000)
4th – Taylor von Kriegenbergh (US$140,000)
5th – Bryan Leskowitz (US$100,000)
6th – Govet Metaal (US$75,000)
7th – Jose De Noronha (US$55,000)
8th – Santiago Nadal (US$35,327)

Although Victor Ramdin was a well-deserved winner, it is equally hard to look past Hachem’s commitment to the game since his name-making victory at the WSOP in 2005. With a WSOP Main Event title and a WPT title under his sleeve, Hachem has been working hard at his game to become the next player to join the elusive Triple Crown club.

Several close calls with an APPT final table and deep runs in several EPT events, and although this may not qualify for the official Triple Crown, Hachem would have no doubt wanted to add his fourth career title to his poker CV following his EPT London Eight Game win (and previously mentioned titles) in 2009.

With a few local tournaments upcoming before the final few EPTs and APPT gets underway, Hachem without doubt has a chance to capitalise on his good form and finally join the likes of Gavin Griffin and Roland de Wolfe as the only live Triple Crown winners.

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Joe Hachem will have to be content with 2nd place at The Big Event Joe Hachem will have to be content with 2nd place at The Big Event

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