‘Pass the Sugar’ by Joe Hachem and Peter Ralph

This autobiographical book tells the story of the Lebanese born Australian  poker professional Joe Hachem. He became the 2005 WSOP champion and the title of his book relates to his catchphrase he had used throughout his career but became most poignant and significant during his victory run in Vegas that year.
The book begins as he is seated opposite Steven Dannenmann heads up at the final table and he then uses flashbacks and forwards to develop the characters of the people who are the focus in his life.
Hachem very nearly didn’t enter the competition and it was his wife, Jeanie, altering her holiday schedule which allowed him to take off with some friends who had already decided to go to Vegas. He tells of how he was encouraged and inspired to win the tournament not only by his cheering friends, which included his brother and cousin but also by Jeanie who was convinced he would finish in the top three.
WSOP 2005 was progressing unremarkably for Joe, and he was only ever an average stack for most of the first four days, but things began to change for him later in the competition, as he became short stacked. Near the bubble he began receiving good pocket pairs which held up, won some races as well as choosing good positions from which to gamble.Eventually he ended heads up against Steven Dannenmann whom, with 7-3 in his hand and a flopped straight, he was able to trap in order to secure the title 2005 WSOP Main Event Champion.
We learn a lot about the man himself and his personal life, from his emigration to Australia from Lebanon, his strong work ethic which saw him working various jobs from the age of 7 and helping to support his family up until becoming a chiropractor as a career choice. Unfortunately this career came to an end after Hachem developed a  rare condition erythromelalgia which meant active use of his hands and feet were impractical.
His life took a different turn and after becoming interested in poker and after getting good results in both cash and tournaments he was able to bankroll his trip to Vegas in 2005 and the rest, they say, is history.
‘Pass the Sugar’ is a captivating book and gives a real personal glimpse into the life and experiences of a truly professional poker player and human being.

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