Hachem Blames Young Players for Dwindling Popularity of Poker
Speaking at an interview, professional poker player Joe Hachem has said that “poker is dying” and has blamed the younger generation of poker players for it.
Hachem’s statements have been considered outrageous especially as he has accused Jerry Yang and Jamie Gold, former world poker champions, of “destroying the legacy of the world champ.” He has also stated that it “saddens him to see the attitude of today’s youngsters,” adding that “poker is dying.”
Hachem, a professional poker player who hails from Australia, won a large prize of $7.5 million when he became the champion of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2005, which was the biggest poker prize in the game’s history in those days.
In 2006, it was Jamie Gold who beat Paul Wasicka in a heads-up match to win $12 million, which remains the biggest WSOP Main Event prize ever won in the history of the game to this day. The following year, it was Jerry Yang who won the WSOP championship title and won $8,250,000. Both Yang and Gold have been attacked by Hachem.
Yang, in particular, is confused about Hachem’s statements. Responding to Hachem’s comments, Yang said: “I honestly don’t know why Joe said this. As far as I know, I have been the only champion that has donated $1 million of my own money to charity. I have personally raised another$800,000 on my own. I have not seen one other world champion that has done that.”
Hachem has also accused younger poker players who have won WSOP championship titles after Gold and Yang. He told Bluff Magazine, “Past Jerry Yang every world champ has been under 25 so they are young men who are still at the height of their passion to play and live it up. They are not ready to be that ambassador that me Greg Raymer and Chris Moneymaker have been. To be called world champion for the rest of your life, and to carry that around and spread the word and reputation of the game you love … I am still honored and I will do it to the day I die.”
Hachem said that “poker is dying” because of younger poker players. Explaining his statement, he said it saddens him to see “young brilliant kids who are only in it for the money and couldn’t care less about anything else.” The reason poker is dying, according to Hachem, is that it is no longer fun to play poker as the young geniuses hardly strike up a conversation with the fish and this turns them away from the table. He said, “Watching them is like watching paint dry.”
Daniel Negreanu, twice WSOP champion, agrees with part of what Hachem says. He says that the game needs to be promoted so that it continues to be popular in the future. Negreanu says, “We need to get more fun in the game. Poker has to be fun for everyone. If it gets too serious, it alienates the recreational players that we need to make the game grow.”