JOE HACHEM: The start of a new era

Welcome to what, I promise, will be the first of my regular blogs for 2012!
I’m really excited to be partnering with AsianLogic and the Asian Poker Tour (APT), which we announced at the Aussie Millions last week. It’s going to be a great year as we roll out our plans step by step.

I love helping poker grow in popularity and this partnership is going to be a great opportunity to do that in Australia and Asia. I want to try to make poker more acceptable in the mainstream.

AsianLogic are industry leaders – they’re well respected and with their connections and experience in land-based and online gaming, we have plans to launch several projects over the next 12 months in both Australia and Asia.

In a time where players are scrounging for sponsorship, I was offered two great deals and I was able to choose which one I wanted. I had a great time with PokerStars, there are no complaints, but it was time to move on and I couldn’t have made a better decision.

It was really opportune to make the announcement on the morning of the High Roller event and the start of the Aussie Millions. I played great (and ran better!) to be near the chip leader at the end of day one. I was exhausted by the end of the day but the adrenaline keeps you going.

At the start of day two, I was second in chips just behind Gus Hansen but everything just went downhill from the start. I don’t think I won a pot for the first three and a half hours. I then found myself on the bubble five-handed as the short stack. This is where my patience and discipline really kicked in because I could have easily lost the plot.

Once the blinds were 5000/10,000 and I had 71k, what helped me was that play was pot limit pre-flop. Because there wasn’t an ante it’s a lot easier to not commit your whole stack and it’s a lot harder for your competitors to call because there’s not that much dead money in the pot.

I was waiting, biding my time until I picked up a hand or waited for one of the guys to have a brain explosion which is exactly what happened when Gus Hansen decided to bet a heap with A-J and he walked into the Russian Mikhail Smirnov’s pocket 10s.

If I’d bubbled I wouldn’t have forgiven myself for a long time – I reckon I would not have even played the Aussie Millions Main Event. So at the time I was very happy to have reached the final four and still in the hunt for the title.

Tony G busted out and suddenly there are three left. I’m still short stack of the three, about half that of Dan Smith in second, but after one double up we were almost even. With the blinds at 8000/16,000 I opened up from the button with Ac-9c for 45,000 or so and Smith he made it 120,000.

I felt A-9 was good enough at that point to shove. He snap called with As-10s so he had me dominated. The flop came J-9-7 with one spade, the turn was the 7s and the river 3s to make his flush. My chance of winning was over.

The sick thing was that I had a really strong read on Smirnov and Tony G but I hadn’t had a chance to use them. If I had have won that pot against Dan he would have been crippled to about 30k which means he would have been all-in soon after. I would have had a great shot.

Overall, I’m really happy and content with my result and hopefully the form continues through the rest of the Aussie Millions.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that I wanted my son Anthony to play his first Aussie Millions Main Event as part of his 21st birthday present. He made it through to day two (better than his old man). He may need his own section on the website!

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