Secrets of a Poker Star: Video Interview with Joe Hachem, WSOP 2005 Winner

Joe Hachem video interview

Liz Hurley can keep Shane Warne with his perma-tan, gleaming teeth and dodgy sexual history. I’m not into him at all.

As far as I’m concerned there are only two male stars in Melbourne. One the bald, bespectacled preacher and blogging professional called Darren Rowse but better know as Problogger. The other, professional poker playing and world champion Joe Hachem.

You probably couldn’t find a more diverse pair but they both appeal to me because they’re family men who’ve worked hard and deservedly make a big name for themselves in their field.

So imagine my delight when I got to see both of them on a recent trip to Melbourne.

I’ll leave all the adulation for Darren Rowse over at Successful Blogging but I wanted to share Joe Hachem with you here. His story is both exciting and inspiring with the rags to riches element of a modern fairy tale.

If you want to find out more about Joe and his winning mindset I recommend his book Pass the Sugar but here’s a potted history to whet your appetite.

If you have no idea who Liz Hurley or Shane Warne are then good for you. But if  you want to fill that gap in your knowledge there’s a good shot of them here.

The Joe Hachem Story

Annabel Candy and Joe Hachem

Gratuitous shot of me and Joe - better looking and better dressed than Liz and Shane don't you think?

Born in Lebanon, Joe Hachem was six years old when his family moved to Australia to start a new life.

As new immigrants the odds were stacked against them but Joe worked hard to fit in and succeed.

By 2005 Joe was just another Melbourne family man with a wife, four kids and a big mortgage.

Unfortunately Joe had been forced to end his dream career as a chiropractor due to health problems. So now he spent more and more of his time playing poker, mostly at home in his garage with friends and later in tournaments at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.

In 2005 Joe shouldn’t have gone to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker. He nearly didn’t due to the expense. But in a last minute turn of events he ended up going along to try his luck.

There were 5,619 entrants to the main event that year.

Each player had paid $10,000 to enter what was the largest poker tournament ever played in a brick and mortar casino at the time. Many entrants had won their seat in online poker tournaments and all of them were keen to win, not just for the coveted title, but for the prizes which totaled over US$50 million.

On the first day of the tournament Joe’s chances of winning were equal to the other 5,618 players but by day seven, the last day of the tournament his chances were looking better.

The odds were still stacked against him but Joe showed incredible focus and determination to win the series and take home US$7.5 million in prize money.

Today, despite this life-changing event Joe is still your average family guy in many ways. He’s still married to his childhood sweet heart and still lives in Melbourne with his four kids.

I was thrilled Joe agreed to be interviewed by me and loved seeing him on his home ground at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.

I wanted to get tips from Joe on focus, determination and following your passion to help us achieve our goals. I also wanted to find out what makes Melbourne so special that, when you could live anywhere in the world, you stay right there.

These are some of the questions I asked Joe:

  • How do you focus for long enough to achieve your goals?
  • How do you maintain your passion for something when it becomes your job?
  • What’s so good about Melbourne?

I hope you enjoy the interview.

Reading by email? Please hop over to the blog to watch the interview.

Thank Yous All Round

Many thanks to Joe Hachem for kindly agreeing to be interviewed by me after I sent him a cheeky tweet and for following through on his promise. What a gent.

Thank you also to the kind staff at the Crown Casino for welcoming me and making the interview possible.

Finally a big thank you to my readers for following my diverse interests. I hope you find Joe as inspiring as I do. If so, don’t forget to check out his book Pass the Sugar.

My Splendid Sponsor

I was thrilled to be sponsored by The Tailor for my trip to Melbourne. The Tailor is a luxury travel company that creates and organizes Australian and African travel experiences for discerning travelers.

Thanks to the Tailor I spent four nights at The Lyall Hotel in Melbourne and toured the city. It was utterly excellent.

What do you think about Joe’s story, poker or succeeding against the odds?

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!


  1. Dave Doolin November 9, 2011 at 4:31 am - Reply

    Annabel, I really like how you’re working with The Tailor as a sponsor. It’s a good model, and worthy of writing up as a subscription-inducing giveaway.

    • Annabel Candy November 9, 2011 at 8:13 am - Reply

      Hi Dave, nice idea, thank you! I’m loving working with them:)

  2. mary newman November 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Did you play poker while you were in Melbourne and if so how much did you win?
    Does your husband know you wear sexy black dresses and red painted finger nails when you go away for 4 nights to interview a handsome card player?


    • Annabel Candy November 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm - Reply

      Hi Mary, lol, you are naughty… but nice:)

      No, I didn’t play poker but I would have liked to. I think Joe was too scared to play me though;)

      Yes, the hubby is very understanding and maybe a bit jealous – of me for meeting Joe, not of Joe for hanging out with me!

      And although I am happily married and ever-faithful to my hubby I couldn’t help noticing that Joe is quite easy on the eye. And isn’t it wonderful when men dress up and wear suits. They look doubly handsome.

      PS. I hope the hubby is reading this:)

  3. Seana Smith November 11, 2011 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel,

    Good to see some video, a very interesting bloke and subject too. And not too long, I think that’s important. And a link black dress, you both look very glam. Look forward to nattering about video with you one day.

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