Daniel Aran Wins Latest Tournament at Lake Tahoe

Automotive Specialist Drives Away with WSOP Circuit Gold Ring
WSOP Circuit at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Runs through November 21st

Stateline, NV (November 14, 2011) – Daniel Aran knew he was destined for a strong run on the first day of the most recent tournament held at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, in Northern Nevada. 

During the first few hours of play, Aran was dealt pocket aces three times.  On each occasion, his aces held up and he was able to accumulate chips.  Aran’s good fortunate continued during the second day as well, as he was able to catapult himself from second place when final table began up to the chip lead about midway through the finale.  A few hours later, he scooped the final pot of the night and ended up as the winner of Event #5, which was his first WSOP-related title.  

For his victory, Aran collected $13,874 in prize money.  He was presented with the coveted gold ring, which is the ultimate token of achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit tournament.

Aran is a 26-year-old automotive specialist from San Jose, CA.  He works for a business that repairs and sells cars.  This marked only his second time occasion to cash in a major poker tournament.  He took 24th place in the first event played at this year’s Lake Tahoe series.  Now with two cashes, he is currently in second place in the race for “Best All Around Player” for this WSOP Circuit stop.

The 188-player field wrapped up a very busy weekend of poker action at the Harvey’s Resort and Casino.  The previous tournament which had completed the day before was the biggest turnout for any poker tournament held at Lake Tahoe in the last six years.  The all-time high mark for attendance at Lake Tahoe was set on April 27, 2005 -- when 542 players showed up for the inaugural WSOP Circuit series held at Harvey’s. 

This was the fifth of 12 gold ring tournaments scheduled for the Lake Tahoe series.  The two-day $300 (+45) No-Limit Hold’em event generated a total prize pool amounting to $54,708.  The top 21 players were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

Among those who cashed was Howard “Tahoe” Andrew, from Walnut Creek, CA.  He won two WSOP gold bracelets, both in 1976.  The elder statesman of poker now plays in many WSOP Circuit events around the country.  A full list of all players that cashed in Event #5 can be seen here.

The first playing sessions (Day One) began on November 13th.  There were only 14 survivors from the first session.  Day Two resumed on Monday, November 14th and played down to the final table – which took about two hours.  The nine final survivors were determined as follows:

SEAT 1:  Stephen Knapp (Rancho Cordova, CA) – 108,000 in chips 
SEAT 2:  Ziv Fromovich (Sunnyvale, CA) – 222,000 in chips
SEAT 3:  Sean Drake (Folsom, CA) – 82,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  Chris Simone (San Jose, CA) – 127,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  Vince Fucillo (Merced, CA) – 203,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  Daniel Aran (San Jose, CA) – 267,000 in chips
SEAT 7:  Greg Derov (Reno, NV) – 206,000 in chips
SEAT 8:  Dan Natarelli (Simi Valley, CA) – 467,000 in chips 
SEAT 9:  J. Davis (Tucson, AZ) – 208,000 in chips

Final table play began at 4 pm.  Play ended at 8:30 pm local time.  The duration of play was 4.5 hours.

9th Place – Sean Drake, a part-time poker player and dealer from Folsom, CA finished in ninth place.  He was the winner of the Casino Employees Championship at the 2011 WSOP in Las Vegas.  The former gold bracelet winner has eight major tournament cashes this year, including a win at the Fall Pot of Gold series in Reno.  This was Drake’s first time to cash in a WSOP Circuit tournament.

8th Place – J. Davis, an unemployed man from Tucson, AZ enjoyed a nice cash in this event.  It is uncertain what he will do with his $1,565 in prize money. 

7th Place – Chris Simone, a 41-year-old real estate broker from San Jose, CA made a nice commission in this tournament, with a seventh-place showing.  He collected $1,993.  Simone made a WSOP final table in 2010.

6th Place – Vince Fucillo a 57-year-old concrete contractor from Merced, CA cemented down a sixth place finish.  This marked his first time to cash in a WSOP-related tournament.

5th Place – Greg Derov, a 41-year-old mailman from Reno, didn’t have quite enough postage in his stack to finish above fifth place.  He was cancelled out from the final table, but did to C.O.D. $3,395 in prize money.  UP to this point, Derov had one previous in-the-money finished, at the Hollywood Casino in Indiana, making this his best tournament finish.

4th Place – Stephen Knapp, a 59-year-old construction project manager from Rancho Cordova, CA made a strong run in the finale, but ended up in fourth place.  Knapp’s previous poker accomplishments include more than a dozen major cashes, including several final table appearances.  He won a major event three years ago at the Nevada State Poker Championships.  Knapp also took fourth place at the WSOP Circuit event held at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, in 2008.  This time, his fourth-place finish paid $4,545.

3rd Place – Ziv Fromovich, a 38-year-old banker from Sunnyvale, CA added to a nice deposit to his balance.  He collected $6,188 for third place.  This was Fromovich’s best tournament performance, to date.  His previous record shows two min-cashes.

2nd Place – Dan Natarelli arrived at the final table as chip leader.  For a while, it looked as though he would win his first gold ring.  But Natarelli suffered some misfortune late and lost the heads-up duel against Daniel Aran.  This marked Natarelli’s fourth time to cash on the WSOP Circuit.  He also has three WSOP in-the-money finishes in Las Vegas.  The 43-year-old IT professional from Simi Valley, CA has 31 major tournament cashes on his impressive poker resume.  Second place paid $8,570.

The final hand was dealt as follows:


Aran had his opponent covered.  He flopped top pair, with a weak kicker.  Natarelli flopped a straight draw and also had outs to his ace.  But two blanks hit on the turn and river, locking up the win for Aran.

1st Place – Daniel Aran, a 26-year-old auto tech from San Jose, CA won his first career WSOP Circuit gold ring.  He collected $13,874.  His victory was shown on a live streaming broadcast at WSOP.com.

With his victory, Aran joins four previous champions who now have gold rings at the 2011 Lake Tahoe series:

Event #1:  David Clark (Dallas, TX) defeated 260 players and won $18,208
Event #2:  Josh Roberts (Jackson, CA) defeated 521 players and won $32,300
Event #3:  Mark Bonsack (Maple Valley, CA) defeated 85 players and won $7,484
Event #4:  Michael Rosenbach (San Francisco, CA) defeated 101 players and won $13,874
Event #5:  Daniel Aran (San Jose, CA) defeated 188 players and won $13,874

Through the first five events, Michael Rosenbach (San Francisco, CA) still leads in the WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings for Lake Tahoe.  His lead stems from two final table appearances, so far – including a fifth and a first-place showing.  However, Daniel Aran now ranks in second place. 

The player who accumulates the most overall points in Lake Tahoe’s twelve combined gold ring tournaments receives a pre-paid entry into the $1 million 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit National Championship, to be held in Las Vegas, next May.  At least two players from this tournament series will qualify for the WSOP Circuit National Championship, which is classified as a WSOP gold bracelet event.  The other automatic qualifier will be the winner of Lake Tahoe’s Main Event championship – coming on Nov. 19th.

With the first five tournaments now wrapped up, there are still seven more gold ring events remaining in what is being billed as a “12 rings in 12 days” poker series.  The WSOP Circuit at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe continues through November 21st.  This year’s schedule includes not only all the gold ring events, but multiple second-chance tournaments (at 5 pm and 7 pm most days), single table and mega satellites, plus cash games going around the clock inside the Harvey’s Poker Room.