Dozens of past World Series of Poker Main Event champions returned this year, trying to have lightning strike twice in the year’s biggest event. Most have hit the rail but Australia’s Joe Hachem, who won the Main Event in 2005 and has since become one of the game’s best ambassadors, both Down Under and at the WSOP, is still in contention over a decade after his career-defining victory.

Hachem and an international lineup started Day 3 at the PokerGO and ESPN feature table and for the 2005 champ, Day 3 is the day where the tournament starts to build.

“It starts to build today,” Hachem said of how Day 3 differs from the opening few sessions of the Main Event. “Personally, I have been, I don’t want to use the word nervous, I don’t want to use the word excited, somewhere between nervous and excited, about being in the event.”

Watching on the PokerGO stream, Hachem looks extremely relaxed at the table. One reason, Hachem is one of few players in the remaining field that have ever experienced the emotions of the Main Event from start to finish. Another, because the feelings associated with WSOP Main Event success seem to return every year.

“It never goes away,” Hachem said of the memories from 2005. “Every time I’m in McCarran Airport, I remember in 2006, when I got off the airplane and went down the escalators, there was a billboard, like a hundred feet high with my name on it, my face. That vision never goes out of your mind, how exceptionally special it is to have been in that situation.”

There are plenty of specific moments Hachem remembers from that situation over a decade ago. All of them and more were captured for ESPN and broadcast after the fact but this year, the Main Event is live streamed, which Hachem believes has changed the way people will watch poker.

“I tweeted about it yesterday, the production is the best thing that has happened to the World Series of Poker in a hundred years.” Hachem said, adding, “I watched ESPN for a couple hours last night and it felt like I was watching a sports broadcast. It’s beautiful how they’ve done it and with the collaboration with PokerGO, everyone has got whatever they want from poker.”

When asked about poker’s premier on-demand streaming service, Hachem said, “It’s with you when you are on the run, on the move, at home watching television…I think it’s amazing. This could be what finally helps us get to the next level in the public eye.”

The public will have plenty of opportunities to watch the Main Event as it happens in real time over the next few days, with PokerGO and ESPN splitting live coverage until a champion is crowned on July 22. Today, they’ll watch Joe Hachem compete on the feature table and if his Day 3 session continues to go well, he could be well on his way to another billboard in McCarran Airport and another banner at the World Series of Poker.  

Disclaimer: Poker Central is the parent company of PokerGO.