It's been almost three weeks since Joe Hachem won the $10K buy in main event at the 2005 World Series of Poker. He won $7.5 million or about $10 million in Australian Dollars. He had to pay 30% of his winnings to the U.S. Government but the remainder of his winnings may or may not be taxed according to Australian tax laws. Since he was not a professional gambler at the time, his winnings were not technically taxable. However, the Australian Taxation Office is currently looking into how much of a cut they are going to take.
Joe Hachem moved to Australia from Lebanon when he was six years old. His original passion for almost twenty years was chiropracting. He studied it for five years and had a flourishing practice for 13 years before he had to retire due to a sudden and rare blood illness in his hands. He switched over to mortgage banking to pay the bills. He is now putting that occupation aside to focus on playing in several tournaments all over the world during the next twelve months.
Joe Hachem was not an internet qualifier like the previous world champions, Greg Raymer and Chris Moneymaker. Hachem bought in to the main event with $10K of his own money. He beat out a field of 5619 players in the largest event in the history of the WSOP to win the coveted gold bracelet amidst the chants of "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!" from his loyal supporters, which included his brother and cousin.
Joe Hashem cashed twice in the 2005 WSOP. He took 10th in Event #37 $1K NL with Rebuys and missed the final table by one spot. He's made two final tables in different Australian Poker Championships NL events. He's also made final tables in smaller buy at the Australian Poker Championships in events in both Pot Limit Omaha and Pot Limit Hold'em.
In the last three weeks, Joe Hachem conducted hundreds of interviews for various media outlets all over the world. He even appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. And he's currently being courted by hundreds of different companies offering him endorsement deals. He's been taking two or three meetings a day with various online poker sites, casinos, clothing manufacturers, TV infomercials, and other poker related businesses. They all want the new 2005 WSOP champ as their spokesman.
The Crown Casino in his native Melbourne is making a big push to have Joe Hachem as their world wide ambassador. He will definitely be participating in the Crown Casino's annual Aussie Million tournament held every January.
Joe Hachem has become an overnight celebrity. By the time ESPN airs the main event, he'll become one of the biggest names in poker. His biggest challenge is sorting out the legitimate business deals from those trying to rip him off. He doesn't expect to dramatically change his lifestyle. The majority of his winnings will go to pay for his four children's education and the rest will be put aside to take care of his extended family.
For now Joe Hachem is enjoying the ride and soaking up every moment that comes with being the 2005 World Series of Poker Champion.