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"Pass the Sugar" Review

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TitlePass the Sugar
AuthorJoe Hachem with Peter Ralph
Skill Levelany
ProsGreat telling of Hachem's 2005 WSOP Main Event victory.
ConsToo many bad beat stories from other tournaments.

Table of Contents
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7Preface (Shane Warne)
9Foreword (Greg Raymer)
12Introduction (Maurie Pears - Chairman, Australian Poker Hall of Fame)
15Glossary of Terms
21Part One: The Main Event
23Raise or Call1
24July 2005: Vegas Virgins2
38The Main Event -- Day One: A Pair of Nines3
44Vegas With the Boys?4
49The Main Event -- Day One: Dodging a Bullet5
59Pocket Aces6
69The Main Event -- Day Two: From Their Lips to God's Ears7
76Everyone Starts Somewhere8
81The Main Event -- Day Three: Life on the Line9
95The Main Event -- Day Four: Gazing into Space11
112The Main Event -- Day Five: I Only Play Big Pairs13
122Pouring on the Pressure14
126The Main Event -- Day Six: A Part of History15
135The Ultimate Good Beat16
139The Main Event -- Day Six: The Last Eighteen17
143The Final Day: The Storm Before the Storm18
147The Main Event: The Final Table19
162The Main Event: Are You Having Fun Yet?20
169A Tale of Two Beats21
173Part Two: Seeking Validation
174Lighting a Candle22
181Crown Casino: 'I've Got a Hachem'23
184The Biggest Times24
187Tony and the Pope25
190Good advice26
196Las Vegas: An Emotional Reunion27
197Knock Yourself Out28
206Heading Home29
212The Real Action30
217That's Poker31
225Jason Alexander: That's What I'm Here For32
228Antonio Esfandiari: Value for $1,00033
234WSOP 2006: Seeking Validation34
240Nice Hand35
244December 2006: Validation36
251Part Three: Fame and Family
252Cannes: Holy Shish Kebabs!37
25860 Minutes: Landing on the Moon38
264Poker After Dark39
267The World Is My Poker Table40
276A Hole in My Heart41
280Ask Your Boss for a Raise42
285Monte Carlo: Releasing the Tension43
291The Aussie Millions: A Love-Hate Relationship44
3007 February 2009: Black Saturday46
303Mentoring the Next Poker Star47
307My Seven Golden Rules
308Afterword: Peter Ralph

Note: the actual book has no table of contents.

Eight pages of mostly color photos are tucked between pages 96 and 97, and another eight pages of color photos appear between pages 224 and 225.

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Joe Hachem borrowed his catchphrase, Pass the Sugar, from an older Greek player named Michael Marcos. But he truly made it his own during the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event, when he broke it out after he won a big pot with 20 players remaining. Even more memorable were the "Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!" chants from his countrymen behind the rail. The Australian's friends and family are what made his first trip to Las Vegas happen, and they are his support crew that help him get through the week.

Even his wife Jeanie, who hasn't made the trip, is key. Having initially said, "No", she gave him permission to go half-way around the world with the family's finance's not in great shape and young kids at home when she sensed his deep disappointment at being left behind after one of his friends satellited in to the WSOP Main Event and was quickly joined by the others. From early in the tournament, she repeatedly tells him on the phone that he's either going to win or come in third.

The books is split into three sections. The first and by far the best neatly alternates between Hachem's backstory and the 2005 WSOP Main Event. He was a chiropractor and only turned to poker when a rare disorder called erythromalgia debilitated his hands and feet too much to continue his chosen career. Returning to the past adds suspense to the tournament recap. Even though you know how the tourney ends, you're probably not familiar with most of the hands, especially in the early parts of the event.

The second section, "Seeking Validation", covers the next year and a half as Hachem tries to prove that his championship run wasn't a fluke. This section mostly details his disapointments but ends with the second biggest win of his career in late 2006.

The final section, "Fame and Family", bounces around telling various unrelated stories in eleven short chapters. Various celebrities make appearances as Hachem has become one himself.

This would have been an excellent, if short, book without the last two sections, but they do share some enjoyable stories and show how well Hachem handled his fame and fortune and served as a poker ambassador.

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