For most poker players the WSOP Main Event is the dream. In 2005 Joe Hachem travelled from Australia to Las Vegas to chase the dream and ended up winning the WSOP Main Event and $7.5 million. Saturday he gave words of wisdom to the Day 1A field before kicking things off with the “Shuffle Up and Deal” announcement.
“The reality is to me that personally it’s been an honor and a privilege to be world champ of WSOP and represent the game,” Hachem told the fans and players gathered in the Amazon Room, while also giving a not so subtle plug to WSOP APAC this October. “WSOP coming to Australia was one of the highlights of my career.”
Hachem’s win is significant in WSOP history as the 2005 WSOP was the first held at the Rio following the purchase of the Series by Harrahs Entertainment (now Caesars).
In 2013 Day 1A, which was also a Saturday, drew 943 players and tournament organizers expect a similar size field this year. Players will play five two-hour levels with a 90-minute dinner break after the third level.
Easily the most interesting starting table was the one featuring reigning WSOP Main Event champ Ryan Riess, 2012 WSOP Main Event champ Greg Merson and businessman Bill Perkins. The pair ended seated at the table that will be used as the ESPN feature table. Unfortunately for poker fans at home though ESPN coverage begins on Day 4 this year.
Hachem, Riess and Merson weren’t the only former Main Event champions in the field when play got underway though. Johnny Chan, who won back-to-back titles in 1987 and 1988, and Tom McEvoy, 1983 winner, were also in action.
Other notable names spotted in the field include Phil Laak, Ted Forrest, Justin Young, Mike Matusow, Mike Sexton, 2013 Main Event runner-up Jay Farber, $50,000 Poker Players Championship winner John Hennigan, Antonio Esfandiari, Annette Obrestad and reigning WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja. German wunderkind Ole Schemion is set to make his WSOP Main Event debut as well.
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