History maker!

Dec 25, 2006 2:58 AM

Fresh on the heels of his big win in last week’s World Poker Tour event, Joe Hachem is set to host his own tournament at the Venetian.

The event is (oddly enough) called the Joe Hachem Poker Tournament, and it kicks off at the Venetian on Saturday, December 30.

The tourney will start with a meet and greet with Joe on Saturday morning, who last week captured the Doyle Brunson North American Poker Classic (a WPT event) at the Bellagio.

You may recall that Joe is also the 2005 World Series of Poker champion.

Having played side-by-side with Joe, I can say unequivocally that he is a true gentleman, always open and honest and willing to talk with anyone.

And the Venetian is a great venue to hold a tournament. They’ve got a huge room with dozens of tables and a terrific staff and supervisors.

In capturing the Five Diamond Poker Classic event at Bellagio, Joe became only the fourth person in history to win the WSOP championship and a World Poker Tour title.

Hachem celebrated by hugging his wife and friends, and then shaking the hand of his heads up opponent.

"I’m floating, I can’t even feel the ground," Joe said after his win. "When I won the World Series I wasn’t this excited. And a lot of it has to do with validation"

Along with the $2,182,075 first place cash prize, the gold bracelet, and the $25,000 entry into the WPT Championship, Joe joined Juan Carlos Mortensen, Scotty Nguyen, and Doyle Brunson, as the only players in history to win both a WPT title and a WSOP main event.

"How cool do you reckon it is to belong to a club that only has four members?" Joe said.

Of course, winning the Classic wasn’t easy. There were 583 entries, each of whom bought in for $15,000.

The final table featured Joe and five other top players — Daniel Negreanu, Mads Andersen, Edward Jordan, David Redlin and Jim Hanna.

When the action went head-to-head, Joe squared off against Jim Hanna, a former NFL football player and highly-ranked amateur poker player.

Their chip counts were as follows:

1. Jim Hanna - $9,520,000

2. Joe Hachem - $7,985,000

But it only took Joe a couple of key hands to take the chip lead and begin to control the match. First, Joe raked in over $1,000,000 in chips from Hanna after a $1.5 million raise on a K¨ 10§ 6¨ board got Hanna to fold.

The next key hand saw Joe raise $450,000, followed by Hanna re-raising an additional $900,000. Joe’s call, and 9ª 6¨ 5¨ flop, lead to a $3,000,000 Hanna bet.

But when Joe moved all in, Hanna went into the tank for several minutes before mucking his cards.

When play ended it wasn’t exactly a catastrophe for Hanna, who earned $1,099,430 for his runner-up finish.