Friday, December 2, 2005

US calls as poker king cashes in

Just months after winning $10 million, the former chiropractor is now even richer after finishing fifth in a world series event at Bally's Paris casino.

"It was nice to know that the other win was not a fluke," Mr Hachem said.

"It's given me another boost of confidence."

Flushed by his poker success at last week's tournament, Mr Hachem says he plans to move to the US and buy a home in Beverly Hills so he can play more US tournaments.

The 39-year-old father of four said he and his family planned to live about six months of the year in the US and six months in Melbourne.

"I love Melbourne and I love Australia but America is the centre of the poker universe and that's it for me," Mr Hachem said from Las Vegas.

"It's taken me three months to come to grips with the fact that I have to come over here.

"And as long as the family is here with me, that's all that matters."

Mr Hachem said he had applied for a US visa given to those with "extraordinary ability" and high salary potential.

"Hopefully I will get the visa and it will give me three years here," Mr Hachem said.

Since winning the $10 million in July at the Poker World Championship in Las Vegas, Mr Hachem has become a poker celebrity in the US and he and his family are now being flown business class for free to every tournament and put up in the best hotels.

"I'm really blessed," Mr Hachem said. "When I think it wasn't too long ago that me and my mates were playing home games of poker - and now all this.

"This is the biggest dream I could have. It's my time."