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30 October 2012

Europe, Charity and Business

I’ve just returned home after my first trip to Europe in 12 months during which I played WSOP Europe and EPT San Remo. I had never played poker in Cannes, France. It’s an amazing place. The first event I played was the €5300 Pot Limit Omaha, in which I ended up finishing sixth.
I chipped right down to 2000 on day one in a hand after being crippled in a big pot. I somehow clawed my way back and reached the final table with a decent amount of chips, around the average. I was really hoping that it would be time for a second bracelet but I just couldn’t get anything going.
I don’t think I won a pot on the final table. I finally got it in with middle set against top set and basically busted. So the final table was a non-event for me. I’m still happy with the result.
I then played a charity event, which I happened to win. There were about 40 pros in the field with a €500 entry and €500 add-on. I picked up another watch for the collection, a trophy and some cash.
Then came the WSOPE Main Event. I just scraped through day one then busted early on day two after being coolered in a hand with A-J against A-Q. I was out in about five minutes!
I was planning to head straight home but my travel agent couldn’t get me out any earlier so I decided to play EPT San Remo, and combine that with a visit to my cousin in Brussels. It was my first trip to San Remo. It’s a very cool place in a very scenic part of the world.
Unfortunately the Main Event was a non-event. I just couldn’t get any traction. I started off really well but then I lost a big pot with pocket queens against pocket fours that flopped a set. I lost the minimum but it was still a lot of chips and I never recovered from there. I ended up busting out just before the end of day one, which was a bit frustrating. Sometimes it’s incredibly hard to make something happen. You want to take an aggressive stance and then find an opportunity to get some chips, but 9-4 is not an opportunity to get some chips! I think I shipped it with Q-10 of clubs and continuing the tone of the day, the guy woke up with AQ, so I busted!

After returning home, I had a week before my first Shooting Star Invitational Poker Challenge at Crown Melbourne to raise funds for Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect). I’d been organising the event for six months and the effort was worth it as it proved to be a really great event. I was very happy with the format, the participation and people’s generosity, which was beyond my expectations. We raised more than $150,000 for Aspect.
Most people don’t know that I have a cousin with autism. His father was my Uncle, my mentor and my best friend. He passed away a few years ago, so it felt good to be able to give back to something that was close to his heart as well. Hopefully we’ll be able to make this an annual event.
I’m now home for a little while. I’ll probably play the ANZPT event at Crown this week but mainly just chill out with the family and catching up on life before I head off to Vegas to the WPT Five Diamond in December. I’ve missed this event the last couple of years so I’m looking forward to going back to play. When you’ve won a particular event you can’t help but feel good about going back to play that event every year.
After that it’s the Aussie Millions, so very exciting times ahead. The Aussie Millions has pushed back the schedule a little for 2013 but it really doesn’t bother me any more because I’m not travelling to the Bahamas every January now.
I think it opens it up to give people a chance to come to the Aussie Millions, as it doesn’t clash with anything else that’s going on. It should be a great series as usual – Melbourne will turn on some beautiful weather and we’ll look after our guests like we do every year.

We’re about to go into production for my educational poker videos, which we hope to launch during the Aussie Millions. I’m very excited about this project. What we’re doing no-one else has done and I hope to touch a lot of poker players and poker fans who want to play without the practical BS that goes along with some poker play these days.
I want to bring back some of the enjoyment that has been missing in the game for a while. I think the game has gotten a bit sad at the moment actually. I recently read a good article by Donnie Peters of PokerNews and it reflects what I’ve been feeling for the past few years. Poker has become so analytical that people aren’t enjoying themselves playing any more.
You may as well sit at the table with a motorbike helmet on and play – no-one talks, no-one has fun and no-one has a chat. How do we
expect to attract new players to the game when we can’t portray it as fun any more?
It’s all about hand ranges, VPIPs and all that BS – that’s all fine but we need to remember that poker is a social game, it’s a game for the public, and if we don’t have a constant flow of people of coming into the game the game will die.
I don’t think people are enjoying poker as much as they used to. So I hope that it changes again and goes back to being more fun and part of my strategy with my educational videos is to make it more fun. It’s not just to talk about the straight track and strategies of poker.
We’re also about to launch our merchandise range as mentioned in my last blog, we’re just waiting on a couple of very small technical things and we’ll be good to go. We also hope to have some more exciting news for poker in Australia which will definitely be announced before the end of the year, so exciting times ahead, watch this space!

Until next time, Pass the Sugar

Joe Hachem

 

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