Blitzed with attention for a few weeks now, London’s ride in the spotlight continued in the eyes of people Down Under as their own Joe Hachem looked to become the third player to notch the Triple Crown.
Beginning on Wednesday, London played host to the third stop of season seven of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour. And what a host it was, as a record setting 848 players took to the felt over the two day ones to see who could muscle their way into capturing the £900,000 first prize.
With the WSOP Europe finishing just the day previous, it was no surprise to see many of poker’s great stars sticking round to participate in the £5,250 Main Event, but providing a list of such stars would be as long as the St Kilda Saints AFL Premiership drought!
However one player that took his seat in the Day 1b Thursday flight was Melbourne’s own Joe Hachem. Skipping some of the local tours in preference for WSOP Europe and EPT glory, Hachem finished the day just a handful of big blinds outside the top ten with 108,400 behind the likes of Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey.
Day 2 for Hachem saw him end the day in the middle of the pack with 180,000 after seeing his stack reach a highpoint of 240,000 when his for a flopped set on a board, held up against a shorter-stack’s top pair. Not only did bagging his chips ensure another day in London for Hachem, but also that he was guaranteed a £7,500 payday as the remaining 128 players were all in the money.
Early on Day 3, Hachem would – after most likely using his famous and slightly over-used “one time!” – find a one time when he found himself up against and in a preflop confrontation for his tournament life with . Fortunately for Hachem, the one (-millionth) time was delivered as the board rolled out to see him make a flush and triple up to 350,000 – or roughly forty-four big blinds. Hachem would find another double with top pair better kicker before flopping a straight holding on a board against to send his opponent to the rail while moving to 800,000 – roughly seventy-seven big blinds – before ending the day with 855,000 to sit in 15th place out of the remaining 24 players while also being guaranteed a £21,000 collect.
Unfortunately Hachem’s fourth day in the tournament wouldn’t see him start well. His stack slipped to under half what it began the day with, before the 2005 WSOP Champion took a stand in the small blind for around twelve big blinds with . He was snapped off by John Juanda in the big holding to exit in 15th place for a £25,000 payday.
This result was just shy of his 11th place finish in the 2008 and Season 4 ending PokerStars.com EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, as the elusive Triple Crown remained just out of reach.
What exactly is the Triple Crown? Well the Triple Crown – unlike the one from the virtual felt – is poker’s holy grail of holding WSOP, WPT and EPT titles. Already hard enough to just win one of these tournament titles, to earn a place in this club means that you would have had to secure three momentous victories in three separate tours. This feat is so rare in fact that only two people can hold claim to the title.
Back in the early parts of 2008, Gavin Griffin collected a win at the WPT Borgata to see him become the first Triple Crown winner after his Pot Limit Holdem WSOP bracelet in 2004 and EPT Grand Final win in 2007. However, his glory of being the sole Triple Crown winner would only last a little over a year as Roland De Wolfe captured a Pot Limit Omaha 8-or-better WSOP Bracelet in 2009 to add to his WPT Grand Prix De Paris (2005) and EPT Dublin (2006) victories.
For Hachem, his record is public knowledge after he became the first Australian WSOP Main Event Champion in 2005 before proving victorious in the WPT Doyle Brunson North American Poker Classic just seventeen months later. Although holding an EPT preliminary event victory (£2,000 European 8 Game Championships in October, 2009 for £42,400), Hachem’s chase for the Triple Crown has now fallen agonisingly short on two occasions.
PokerNews’ own Gloria Balding managed to grab the cheerful Melbournian during Day 3 of EPT London where he detailed why he comes, and what he likes about London, as well as the quality of the field.