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Poker News: August 1, 2006

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Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

HEADLINE: Poker: Defending champ plays aggressively

Defending champion Joseph Hachem of Australia turned the poker table into his bully pulpit Monday, aggressively raising players he considered out of line and increasing his own stack at the main event in the World Series of Poker.

Hachem more than doubled his opening stake to 22,000 chips after six hours of play, knocking out an opponent along the way.

"It's just going smoothly," Hachem said during a break. "I don't play too many hands, so they don't think I'm getting out of line a lot. And if I think they're getting out of line, then I make them move all-in. If I'm right, I'm right, and if I'm wrong, then I've got to shut up shop."

The World Series of Poker entered the fourth and final opening-round day Monday as a field of 2,284 sat down to play Texas Hold'em for a top purse that will exceed $11.5 million.

The total number of entrants hit about 8,725 — so many that organizers had to create four starting days of about 2,200 players each. It was the last day for alternates to buy in for $10,000 per seat.

Hachem is a former chiropractor and mortgage broker.

Others still in the hunt include 2003 main-event winner Chris Moneymaker, Johnny Chan, Cyndy Violette, Marcel "The Flying Dutchman" Luske, Robert Varkonyi, Kathy Liebert, Freddy Deeb, Ted Forrest and Huck Seed.

Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was knocked out of the event.

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