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Australian Wins WSOP

18 July 2005

LAS VEGAS – (PRESS RELEASE) -- An Aussie has waltzed into Las Vegas and captured the top prize at the big dance.

Melbourne native Joseph Hachem, age 39, flopped a straight and re-raised all-in on the turn card to win the final hand in the 2005 World Series of Poker World Championship. He won $7.5 million, the largest prize in poker tournament history.

The climactic moment in the No-Limit Texas Hold' Em World Championship event came at 6:44 a.m. (PDT) today at Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, where the tournament moved for the final two days in honor of Las Vegas' centennial. Tournament play on the final day lasted a record 13 hours and 56 minutes, topping the previous longest world championship in 1983 by 18 minutes.

Hachem's straight, beat the hand of Steve Dannenmann, 38, of Severn, Md., who captured $4.25 million for second place.

Throughout the night, Hachem was surrounded by a contingent of countrymen who cheered him on chanting "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi!, Oi!, Oi!" after every big hand.

"I was on a mission not just for myself, but for them as well," Hachem said. "From what I've been told by my friends here, Australia has gone mad."

Hachem, who is married and has four children, was playing in his first World Series of Poker.

"I've been trying to get here for a long time," said Hachem, who paid $10,000 in cash to enter the main event. "To have made the final table was an honor. To win, what words?"

Throughout the final day's event, 18 ESPN television cameras captured the action. ESPN begins its coverage of the World Series of Poker on August 23 and concludes November 15, with the coverage of the World Championship final table.

The World Series of Poker World Championship event began July 7 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino with a field of 5,619 players.

The total net prize pool at the 2005 World Series of Poker reached $103 million and the gross prize pool for the World Championship event was $56,190,000, both poker tournament world records. Last year's World Series of Poker total prize money was $49 million and prize money for the World Championship event was $25,760,000. Greg Raymer, 2004 World Champion, won a top prize of $5 million.

Players from all over the globe plunked down the $10,000 it takes to compete in the World Championship event. Hundreds more won a place in the event through a variety of qualifying tournaments called satellites.

The World Series of Poker is owned by Harrah's Entertainment Inc., the world's largest provider of branded casino entertainment. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada 67 years ago, Harrah's has grown through development of new properties, expansions and acquisitions. On June 13, 2005, Harrah's Entertainment acquired Caesars Entertainment, Inc. and now owns or manages through various subsidiaries more than 40 casinos in three countries, primarily under the Harrah's, Caesars and Horseshoe brand names. With nearly 4 million square feet of casino space, more than 40,000 hotel rooms and nearly 100,000 employees, the Harrah's portfolio is the most diverse in the gaming industry. Harrah's Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its customers through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership.

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