5th Annual Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament –

11.30pm: Glen McGregor is Vegas bound!

Glen McGregor (pictured below) is the winner of the fifth annual Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament, and will be jetting to Las Vegas to contest the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event as part of his first prize.

McGregor defeated Alain Boratuad for the title after two pivotal hands. He acquired the majority of Borataud’s chips after his pocket queens prevailed against Kd-Jh on an eight-high board. It was then Jd-3h for McGregor and Borataud’s 10h-3s for the title. On a board of Kd-6s-Qs-Ah-9d, McGregor’s jack played and the victory was his.

McGregor is a 36-year-old forklift driver (leading hand) from Melton in Melbourne’s western suburbs. A mate asked him to come along and play today and shouted his buy-in. In just his second tournament ever (he won the other one, worth $600), McGregor has achieved what he happily described as “the biggest thing ever”. A worthy winner of a worthy event.

Joe Hachem (far left) and Shane Warne (far right) with winner Glen McGregor (second from right) and runner-up Alain Borataud (second from left)

On behalf of PMA (with thanks to Stephen Doig and Ben Bliss) we’d like to congratulate Crown, The Shane Warne Foundation and everyone involved in making today’s event such a massive success, and the players and spectators for ensuring another healthy payday for the Foundation.

11.15pm: … and we’re heads-up

Kris McKenzie (pictured below) has won a seat to the 2012 Aussie Millions $1650 No Limit Hold’em Feature Event after bowing out in fourth spot. McKenzie’s Jh-6h started in bad shape against the Ad-Qs of Joe Hachem and, just to run salt into the wounds, the board flowed Ah-8d-4s-As-Qd to make Hachem a full-house.

Shortly after, Hachem himself hit the rail after running Qs-Jd into the Jd-10c of Boratuad. The flop of 8d-9d-7s made straight draws for both, the turn was the As but the river Js made Boratuad’s straight to eliminate Hachem. That leaves Alain Boratuad battling Glen McGregor for the 2012 WSOP High Roller Package, with their stacks almost even.

11.10pm: Schloeffel and Baker depart

Two more players have been KOed, leaving just four players in the hunt for the fifth annual Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament title.

Craig Schloeffel had nursed his short stack into the top six but was sent to the rail after three-way action against Baker and Alain Boratuad in which the latter’s Ad-6d held up.

Baker’s last stand came on the next hand with Glen McGregor and Hachem along for the ride. McGregor’s Q-8 took it all on the board of Kc-5c-2d-Qc-3h. Baker bowed out in fifth.

11pm: Warne walks, Hachem flushed

It’s been a mixed few minutes for the tournament hosts with Shane Warne (pictured below with his brother Jason) eliminated while Joe Hachem has just sent John Millar to the rail.

Glen McGregor was all-in for 16,000 when Warne called and showed A-6 but McGregor revealed A-K, which held up. Warne then sent his pocket sixes to battle against the A-Q of Kris McKenzie, but he lost the flip and was out in eighth.

Hachem declared all-in with John Millar making the call and showing As-9c. Hachem led with Ah-Qd and sealed the deal when the board flowed 8h-9h-3h-3c-Qh for the nut flush. Millar departs in seventh.

10.45pm: Blues for Hamill as he departs in ninth

Aaron Hamill was sent to the canvas by Joe Hachem before Glen McGregor delivered the KO blow to send the former St Kilda and Carlton AFL star to the rail in ninth.

It was Hachem’s pocket fives against the Ks-Qc of Hamill but the board ran paint-free to leave him with just 800 in chips. He limped out a few hands later with a dominated 10-8 against the A-10 of McGregor. And Merv’s latest? “Showing one card is a bit like being half pregnant.”

10.30pm: Rettenmaier retired in 10th

In lieu of much to report (aside from double throughs for Hamill and Warne), Merv Hughes continues to deliver the gold. Speaking to a group of Germans following the fortunes of Marvin Rettenmaier (pictured below), Merv attempted to explain that he is to Tasmanian cricket what Michael Jordan is to basketball. His 13 seasons as a fast bowler with Victoria seem to have slipped his mind.

The bizarre conversation may have temporarily sent Rettenmaier on tilt, as he found his 10d-8h up against the Ac-7c of Glen McGregor. Ace-high was good and the German was out in 10th, but at least he has a good story to tell his mates when he arrives home.

10.15pm: All over for Obrestad

We started with 11 and there are still 11 players, scratch that, make it 10 after Annette Obrestad (pictured below) shoved under-the-gun and received a call from John Millar. The Scandinavian superstar showed A-10 to trail Millar’s A-K, and the board brought no help to send her out in 11th. Frank Bianco has just announced the blinds are up to 1000/2000 – seems everyone’s keen to head up to Club 23 for the after-party!

10.05pm: Baker back on top

The blinds have just popped up from 300/600 to 500/100 meaning it’s game on for the 11 players at the Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament final table.

Steven Baker is the chip leader after taking down a big pot from Shane Warne with pocket 10s on a board of Qd-Qs-6d-7s-2h. Craig Schloeffel is the short stack.

A couple of more gems from Merv Hughes – “call him, Warney – I’ve seen his cards, they’re not that good” closely followed by some words of wisdom for the new dealer: “I have four words of advice for you – don’t f**k it up”.

9.50pm: Hachem finds aces but no action

With former Test cricketer Merv Hughes leading the cheer squad (he just ordered 500 beers and a bottle of champagne) and Crown Poker’s own clown prince Frank Bianco on the microphone, the cards are in the air at the final table with Aaron Hamill (pictured below) the early aggressor.

After Warne won his first pot, Hughes demanded to see his cards. Hachem stepped in and suggested players show one card if they take down an uncontested pot. Sure enough, the action folded to the 2005 WSOP champ the next hand, and duly showed one ace, then a second ace!

9.40pm: Final table decided

The final table for Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament has been decided. All players will start the final table with 20,000 in chips, and the blinds will start at 100/200. Rettenmaier is a definite “smoky” – the German pro enjoyed a highly successful 2011 including victory in the France Poker Series finale. In contrast, former St Kilda teammates Hamill and Baker have been reunited on a competitive field of play for the first time since 2007.

Seat 1: Marvin Rettenmaier
Seat 2: Kris McKenzie
Seat 3: Shane Warne
Seat 4: Aaron Hamill
Seat 5: John Millar
Seat 6:  Annette Obrestad
Seat 7: Alain Borataud
Seat 8: Glen McGregor
Seat 9: Joe Hachem
Seat 10: Steven Baker
Seat 11 Craig Schloeffel

9.15pm: Hamill delivers the hammer

Aaron Hamill has come from the clouds to be one of the main challengers for the fifth annual Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament. Hamill found pocket aces twice in four hands and KOed two players as a result, leaving Michael Chow as the final table bubble and deciding the 11 players who’ll battle it out for the magnificent 2012 WSOP High Roller Package.

9.10pm: Palavos lives to tell the tale

This may be a charity tournament, but there’s plenty of feeling at the final table with Steven Baker and George Palavos sharing some stern words. But they were quickly set straight by the rail: “it’s for the kids, you blokes”. Baker is one of the more feared players in recent AFL history!

The rate of all-ins and eliminations means we’re just three spots short of the final table, remembering that Shane Warne and Joe Hachem will join the final seven players in addition of the winner of the Last Chance tournament earlier this evening.

Former Carlton and St Kilda player Aaron Hamill looks poised to reach the final table after his Ad-10s improved to two-pair against the A-7 to improve his stack to 180,000.

9pm: Obrestad sends Rogers down the river

It’s been great to see some of the world’s best poker pros here today, but it’s safe to say none has enjoyed him or herself as much as Annette Obrestad. She’s been happy sipping on her champagne for much of the day but a round of bourbon and coke has just been ordered for the table so things could be warming up!

She even kept her smile after Shannon Rogers rivered a 7 for top pair against Obrestad’s pocket sixes but soon gained revenge when she rivered a J for a full house against the trip sixes of Rogers.

8.45pm: So who’s the queen of the castle?

The bragging rights in the Hachem household will be with Joe’s wife Jeannie (pictured below) tonight after she outlasted her husband, son, brother-in-law and his wife here today!

Well into the final two tables, Hachem made her last stand with A-Q. Steven Baker called with the same hand but both trailled the Ad-Kd of John Millar. Two diamonds on the flop combined with the 2d on the river to make Millar’s flush, eliminating Hachem and slashing Baker’s stack. Millar is the new chip leader with almost 500,000.

8.30pm: Baker cookin’ up a storm

Late last year, Crown hosted the first ShaneWarne.com Super Stack tournament. The winner was a guy by the name of Steven Baker. Coincidentally, it’s another Steven Baker (pictured below) – this one the former St Kilda hardman – who has skipped to the top of the chip count on 280,000 with just 25 players remaining in the Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament.

But Baker faces some stern competition before reaching the final table, with Star Poker Summer Series Main Event winner Andy Lee (225,000) and former WSOP Europe Main Event champion Annette Obrestad (220,000) looming ominously not far behind.

8.15pm: The Shane Warne Foundation – how it works

“Our mission at The Shane Warne Foundation is to raise funds to help “enrich the lives of seriously ill and underprivileged children and teenagers in Australia”. As an Umbrella organisation, The Shane Warne Foundation achieves this by supporting a diverse cross section of charities that work ‘hands on’ and so effectively handle the day-to-day needs of these brave children.

We accept submissions each year from charities in dire need facilities, services and the myriad of other requirements that are a constant need for the care of seriously ill and underprivileged children – the list is endless. Our board selects the beneficiaries annually, making a collective decision based on how the funds we have available can best be utilised to make an explicit difference.

Over the past six years we have raised the majority of our funds through our own events and great partnerships with entities such as Channel Nine, 888,  BGC, DWS, SEL, Parragon Publishing and Gillette.

We manage two distinct funds that allow us the flexibility to help charities and individuals. These are The Public Fund  (provides funding for established charities that work hands on with seriously ill and underprivileged children and teenagers in Australia); and The Necessitous Circumstances Fund (allows us the capacity to directly help children under 18 years of age who are in financially necessitous circumstances).

We know we can do more and we know we have built a structure that can benefit others that want to help the same demographic that we do.”

8pm: How to chop down a (full) house

The rail has packed around the five remaining tables in the Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament as the field has been cut to barely 40 players. The big mover in the past few minutes has been Craig Schloeffel, who looked in a world of hurt after his opponent turned over pocket kings for a full-house. But Schloeffel knew better and showed Ad-10d for a royal flush!

7.30pm: Top pair for Palavos

OK, we’re getting down to the point where some meaningful stacks are starting to emerge in the Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament. Crown Poker regular George Palavos appears to be the chip leader on 120,000 with other big stacks in the possession of Luke Tunnecliffe (100,000), Peter Moylan (90,000, pictured below with Tony Hachem), Robert Williamson III (85,000) and Luke Hodge (80,000). And as if the day isn’t running sweet enough for Palavos, he’s just taken out the Lucky Card draw, winning a fully catered private game with Hachem and Warne for himself and three mates at Club 23. Runnin’ good George!

7pm: One more shot at glory

Just when we thought the main tournament floor might be starting to thin out, MC Robert Williamson III has just announced that a $22 buy-in Last Chance tournament will start soon, with the winner earning a spot at the Hachem/Warne Charity Poker Tournament final table.

The field has been reduced to less than 100 players with those still in contention including poker pros Annette Obrestad, the reigning Aussie Millions Main Event champ David Gorr, Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle along with celeb players Steven Baker, Aaron Hamill, Luke Hodge (pictured above) and Dermott Brereton.

6.30pm: All in the family

It’s been a big day for the Hachem family with five members of the family featuring here today. Ironically, it’s one of the two poker pros in the family, two-time ANZPT Player of the Year Tony Hachem, who’s been sent to the rail.

Tony looked in good shape when he shoved with A-Q on a queen-high flop but former Atlanta Braves pitcher Peter Moylan made the call with a gutshot straight draw. Sure enough, Moylan’s curveball struck out Hachem when he nailed a 9 on the turn.

Tony’s wife Jessica is still in the field as are Joe’s wife Jeannie and his son Anthony – and they’re currently seated at the same table! That’s not something you see everyday in a poker tournament.

5.30pm: Opening Event down to 34 players

Tables are quickly being cleared as the field in the Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament is tumbling towards the final table. However, that’s not the only focus here at Crown today with the Aussie Millions Opening Event down to the last 34 players after the bubble burst at 81st position. Resplendent in a brand new Star Poker logo, Brendon Rubie (pictured below) holds the chip lead on 900,000.

Others still in contention for the title include Manny Stavropoulos, Jimmy Siu, Sam Youssef, Jackie Glazier, Martin Comer, Aussie Hold’em Poker’s Rhys Gregson, Tino Lechich, Octavian Voegele, Sherif Derias and Kenna James. The winner will take home an even AUD $200,000.

5pm: Cards are (back) in the air

Our celebrity contingent looks to have survived almost in tact for the race to the final table this afternoon. After a relaxed structure to start the event, things heat up now with the levels slashed to 20 minutes.

Those still in contention include popular TV personalities Glenn Robbins (pictured above) and Trevor Marmalade, Essendon footballers Cale Hooker and Angus Monfries and former Test cricketer Merv Hughes. We’ve also spotted a few lesser-known poker pros trying to sneak under the radar to snare an Aussie Millions seat. At least their money is going to a good cause!

4.30pm: Now for the serious stuff

The rebuy period has concluded in the Joe Hachem and Shane Warne so it’s almost time for the serious stuff with the levels slashed to 20 minutes for the rest of the day. In the meantime, players are taking a break and have just enjoyed a performance from Crown’s own “Elvis” Mark Anthony.

It’s now auction time with the fantastic items up for grabs including a Lamborghini drive day at Phillip Island, an Ultimate Football Package (with thanks to Triple M and the Essendon Football Club), an Ultimate Dining Package) including 150-year-old dining table and dinner for 10 at Nobu) and a business lunch with The Shane Warne Foundation board.

4pm: Wandering the floor

Two of Melbourne’s greatest sporting sons, Shane Warne with former Hawthorn champ and media personality Dermott Brereton

Geelong premiership player and former Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel looks tanned and relaxed heading into the 2012 AFL season

Former world boxing champ Jeff Fenech has been a great supporter of the Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament in recent years

TV and radio personality Fifi Box … is that your stubbie?

3.30pm: Spectators also receiving the VIP treatment

In the spirit of the day, no-one’s left the room so far with the rebuys flying thick and fast after ticking into the third level of the Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament.

Most players seem to have accumulated chips via their Second Chance card or a rebuy or two, although Queenslander Josh Rimmington, who operates the popular website pokergear.com.au looks to be handing out a few poker lessons to his tablemates to be among the early chip leaders.

Not only are the players whooping it up in Studio 3, the spectators who’ve made a donation to follow the action are also receiving the VIP treatment with massages and manicures being offered, while a photographer is doing a roaring trade taking novelty shots.

3pm: What’s up for grabs?

Today’s event may be all about raising funds for The Shane Warne Foundation, but that’s not to say the players haven’t big incentive to still to be here at the business end of proceedings later this evening.

First prize is a magnificent 2012 WSOP High Rollers Package, with the winner joining Shane Warne and the 888poker team at the 2012 WSOP including Main Event entry, return business class airfares, 12 nights’ accommodation plus $500 cash. The winner will also receive a Tissot PRS516 watch and a Shane Warne signed cricket ball.

Tonight’s runner-up will win a 2012 Aussie Millions Main Event package, featuring a 2012 Main Event seat, tickets to the Aussie Millions Welcome and VIP Parties, a Scenic CBD Helicopter flight for three, a Shane Warne signed cricket bat and a $200 restaurant voucher.

Third prize is a 2012 Aussie Millions Main Event seat, fourth prize a seat in the 2012 Aussie Millions $1650 Feature Event while those who finish from fifth to 10th win seats in the Aussie Millions Supershot satellite. These eight placegetters will also win cricket balls signed by Warney. Positions 11-15 win seats in an 888 satellite to the 2012 WSOP.

2pm: Stars out in force

It might be a bright sunny afternoon outside – the first for a while – but Studio 3 at Crown is part-nightclub and part- poker room for the fifth annual Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament. The room is heaving to the DJ’s beat and the click-clack of poker chips as the mix of poker’s biggest names rubs shoulders with an A-list of sporting personalities and celebrities.

Joe Hachem and Shane Warne speak with tennis champ Andy Roddick, who issued the order to “shuffle up and deal”

So far we’ve spotted at least four Hachems (Joe, Jeannie, Tony and Anthony), two members of the Antonius household (Patrik and his wife Maya), two Aussie Poker Hall of Famers (Tony G and Marsha Waggoner), Annette Obrestad, Robert Williamson III, Maria Ho, Clonie Villani, Daniel Cates and Tiffany Michelle.

The AFL ranks are well represented by Luke Hodge (Hawthorn), Brendon Goddard (St Kilda), Leigh Montagna (St Kilda) and Gold Coast skipper Gary Ablett jnr, while former AFL star turned media presenter Dermott Brereton is also here today.

12.30pm: What’s in store today

The red carpet has been rolled out for the arrival of today’s celebrity line-up in the Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament. Our coverage will be a bit different today from that of a pro or major pub event, as it’s really about the players more than the actual play!

That said, here’s the structure for today’s event – it’s No Limit Hold’em using a Second Chance format (players start with 5000 and can take an extra 5000 at any time in the rebuy period comprising the first four levels).

Rebuys cost $500 for an additional 5000 in chips anytime a player’s stack drops below 10,000. Another single rebuy or double add-on ($1000 for 10,000 in chips) is permitted at the end of the rebuy period.

The structure is 30-minute levels for the rebuy period, then 20 minutes for the remainder of the event. In a bonus for the players who reach the final table, they’ll be joined by the tournament hosts Joe Hachem and Shane Warne.

Doin’ it for the kids

The Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament is among the best known charity poker events anywhere in the world. Such is the status of the event that, for the first time, it carries official Aussie Millions status.

With thanks to The Shane Warne Foundation, PokerMedia Australia is honoured to be here today in the official film studio of the Aussie Millions, Studio 3, for the highest profile poker fundraising event in the country.

First of all, why are we here? During 2002-3, Shane Warne had been doing a lot of charity work but didn’t feel the amount of time he was putting in was reflected by the benefits gained by the charities he was supporting. He felt he was spreading himself too much and wanted to be able to make a bigger contribution. He thought that this may be possible through starting his own foundation.

The idea gathered momentum in 2003 when Shane went on a trip that changed his life in many ways. He accompanied a group of children on the Challenge Trip of a Lifetime to the USA and was genuinely moved by the experience. He returned home determined to start his own foundation and call on his friends and contacts to unite in the common cause of enriching the lives of seriously ill and underprivileged children and teenagers in Australia.

Once he began his search for other like-minded individuals who were equally motivated about genuinely making a difference, he was amazed by the response. People such as Lloyd Williams, the late John Ilhan, James Packer and David Coe shared Shane’s vision and donated a considerable amount of money each to start the foundation. Ann Peacock, Garry Lyon, Rob Sitch and Ray Martin also believed in the concept and put themselves forward to join Shane on the board. In 2004, The Shane Warne Foundation was officially launched.

Joe Hachem, the 2005 World Series of Poker champion, shared a similar vision as Warne and in 2008, the pair combined for the first Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament. Over the past four years, the tournament has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for The Shane Warne Foundation.

Already, more than 200 players have registered for today’s event, and they’ll be playing for a slice of a prizepool valued at more than $65,000 with WSOP and Aussie Millions packages up for grabs.

And for the first time, members of the public are invited to run shoulders with the A-list crowd by purchasing a non-playing ticket for $200. Our coverage kicks-off later today with the red carpet arrivals followed by all the action from Studio 3 from 2pm.

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