Joe Hachem made a name for himself on the poker circuit when he won the WSOP Main Event in 2005 and in doing so also won the biggest ever poker prize up until that time. Since then Hachem has done reasonably well and his name is known throughout the poker community.
The Australian took part at the recent Aussie Millions which was held at the Crowne Casino in Melbourne and rubbed shoulders with quite a few celebrities.
Right after this, Hachem went on record to make some strong comments where he stated that he was sad to see the state of poker today and that most of the youngsters have not been proper brand ambassadors. He also went on record to say that former world champions Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang should have done more in maintaining the legacy of being a world champ.
Gold won the WSOP Main Event in 2006 and Jerry Yang won the 2007 event and both those prizes were a lot higher than the $7.5 million that Hachem won back in 2005. Yang was aware of the comments that Hachem made and defended himself by saying
I honestly don’t know why Joe said this. As far as I know I have been the only champion that has donated $1 million of my own money to charity. I have personally raised another $800,000 on my own. I have not seen one other world champion that has done that.
Joe Hachem also directed criticism to the younger generation of poker players. He said he was disappointed at the way they have conducted themselves and felt that they should have done more to promote poker in a positive light.
In a statement, Hachem said
Past Jerry Yang every world champ has been under 25 so they are young men who are still at the height of their passion to play and live it up. They are not ready to be that ambassador that me Greg Raymer and Chris Moneymaker have been. To be called world champion for the rest of your life, and to carry that around and spread the word and reputation of the game you love … I am still honoured and I will do it to the day I die.
The game of poker has become a lot more competitive because there are higher payouts and a lot more players on the circuit. Daniel Negreanu, 2013 Card Player of the Year and a two time World Series of Poker winner tended to agree with some of Hachem’s views. Negreanu said
We need to get more fun in the game. Poker has to be fun for everyone. If it gets too serious it alienates the recreational players that we need to make the game grow