The 2019 World Series of Poker is set to get underway on May 28th, with Aussie players gearing up for this summer’s iconic poker tournament series. They will also be looking forward to the chance of immortalising themselves in World Series of Poker history.
Aussie WSOP Love Affair
Poker has been a much-loved game in Australia for centuries, but its popularity has grown immensely in the past two decades.
Both live and online poker were popular in the early 2000s. However, the poker boom began in 2003 when Chris Moneymaker, an American accountant, won an online poker satellite into the World Series of Poker Main Event and then took down the whole tournament in Las Vegas for $2.5 million.
Poker began booming everywhere in the world, as players learned they could play that favourite pastime by simply logging on to a poker or casino website and learning some of the skills of the game. Online poker grew, as did live tournaments around the globe.
Australia was one of those countries that felt the power of poker. Nonetheless, there was one person who took the Australian poker connection to an all new level.
Joe Hachem, a poker player from Melbourne, won the 2005 WSOP Main Event for $7.5 million.
That event set off an Aussie poker boom all on its own. And even though online poker is not as prevalent for Australians as it once was due to new laws, players still take their poker tournaments very seriously. And during the summers, if at all possible, they travel to Las Vegas in the US to play in some tournaments at the World Series of Poker.
The Hachem Effect
Hachem worked as a chiropractor in Melbourne but had to find a new line of work due to a blood disorder that affected his ability to work with his hands. He started a brokerage business but played a great deal of poker in his leisure time.
By 2000, he had become a regular in the Crown Casino poker room, and as he became a better player, he began traveling to more tournaments around Australia. And then he took his game to America in 2005, playing in Los Angeles and then heading to Las Vegas for the summer WSOP series.
First, Hachem finished 10th out of nearly 900 players in a $1K buy-in No Limit Hold’em event for $25,850.
Next, he played the $10K buy-in NLHE World Championship, what is most often referred to as the WSOP Main Event. And he won the tournament for $7.5 million.
Further, Hachem did it while putting his full Australian pride on full display. Supporters in the audience chanted, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi!” When he won, he subsequently wrapped himself in the Australian flag.
Aussie Poker Boom
Hachem continued winning poker tournaments around the world, showing he was no one-hit wonder and boosting his gambling winnings – over time – to more than $12.4 million.
Meanwhile, he put Australia in the spotlight while also highlighting other talented Aussie poker pros. He hosted special tournament series at Crown, his home casino, and others around Melbourne. He sponsored charity events to raise funds for a variety of causes.
When his WSOP victory led to a PokerStars sponsorship, Hachem encouraged the site – the largest in the world – to host tournament series that focused on Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. This led to the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (APPT) and others.
Players came to Australia’s poker rooms in record numbers in the years following Hachem’s win, and Australia became a hub for players wanting to play as live and online poker pros.
Australian WSOP Stars
Going into the 2019 World Series of Poker, Hachem remains the biggest Australian money earner in WSOP history. But many other names – some known around the world for their poker skills – are on the list.
1. Joe Hachem
2. Jeffrey Lisandro
3. Michael Addamo
4. Alexander Lynskey
5. James Obst
6. Mel Judah
7. Martin Kozlov
8. Mark Vox
9. Jackie Glazier
10. Daniel Marton
People may also recognise famous Aussies like David Steicke, Gary Benson, Billy Argyros, Jonathan Karamalikis, Aaron Lim, and none other than Tony Hachem, Joe’s brother.
2019 World Series of Poker to Kick Off Next Week
It is likely that Hachem and many other Aussies will again be travelling to Las Vegas for the summer to participate in parts of the 50th Annual World Series of Poker.
The action kicks off next week, on May 29, and continues through the middle of July. There will be 89 official 2019 World Series of Poker tournaments that will award gold bracelets to the winners. But there will also be daily tournaments alongside them at the Rio, as well as other events that celebrate the 50th anniversary of the series. And all over town, casino poker rooms will be offering live tournaments to compete with the WSOP.
Some like Hachem may play other events, but the WSOP is the focus. And the one he and thousands of others will subsequently go to play this year, without fail, is the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event.
- Event: No Limit Hold’em World Championship (Main Event)
- Buy-in: $10,000
- Starting days: July 3rd, 4th, and 5th
- Final table days: July 14th, 15th, and 16th