WSOP champion Joe Hachem: ‘Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang have destroyed the legacy of the world champion’

In a controversial video posted this week 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem went on the rampage with his views on why ‘poker is dying’. The main targets of the outspoken Aussie were 2006 and 2007 world champions Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang, who Hachem said, ‘have destroyed the legacy of the world champion.’

Hachem notes that since Yang’s victory all the world champions have been under the age of 25 and perhaps not ready to take on the role of ‘poker ambassador’, like himself, Greg Raymer and Chris Moneymaker in years past successfully did. Out of all the recent champions Hachem calls 2010 Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel his favourite, noting that, ‘the kid was honoured to have won. It meant a lot to him to win the world championship, not just to win the money.’ It’s a theme that Hachem repeats when talking about his own victory: ‘People go oh you won all that money [Hachem won $7.5m] but I’ve said a million times that the money [was important] but bloody hell to be called world champion for the rest of your life, to have that privilege and to be able to spread the word and reputation of a game that you love is still an honour and will be to the day I die.’

Hachem finishes his rant by saying, ‘it saddens me to see what is happening in poker today.’ Too many young players care only about money and not the game of poker and, ‘the reason poker is dying is because it’s no longer fun to play. There are all these young geniuses at the table who don’t say a word and just bumhunt the fish.’ According to Hachem, the fun has been taken out of poker.

You can watch the full video here and judge for yourself on what Joe Hachem is saying: 

Hachem’s words echo those of 2004 WSOP Main Event runner-up David Williams who revealed to us in an exclusive interview that, ‘people don’t want to come and play with all these sharks and kids that just stare at them and make them uncomfortable.’ He clearly has a very similar view on the way that poker is going to Hachem. (You can read the rest of that brilliant interview with David Williams here.)

But is this just an outdated way of thinking from older pros who wish the game was as soft as it used to be? Or is there merit to their arguments? 

If you agree with Williams and Hachem – or think they are talking rubbish – let us know on Twitter @PokerPlayerUK or at

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