Durant, OK (January 18, 2012) — Another day is in the books and another Circuit champion has been crowned at Choctaw Casino Resort. The most recent victor is David “DT” Tran.
Tran won Event 5, $345 No-Limit Hold’em, after a final table that stretched into the early morning hours of Wednesday. He outlasted 419 entrants and cashed in on a $26,530 pay day.
“I’m ecstatic,” Tran said. “This is amazing. It was a great tournament and everything was ran so well. I’m definitely going to play more.”
Tran and his family immigrated to the United States from Vietnam to escape the war when he was a child. Now 37 years old, Tran runs a restaurant with a few close friends in Addison, Texas called Social House. He just recently began playing poker, and this marks his first big tournament score.
“A friend of mine was always talking about playing the WSOP, so I figured why not give it a try,” Tran said. “Obviously it worked out well.”
The two-day tournament saw the 419-person field sheered down to just 26 players after Day 1. Jason Fitzpatrick held a sizeable chip lead with 140,000 more than second place. To Fitzpatrick’s dismay, he was our final table bubble boy, finishing in tenth shortly after getting the majority of his stack in pre flop with pocket jacks.
The final table was decided at 6:47 p.m. local time. It concluded at 3:57 a.m. When the nine remaining players took their seats, they stacked up as follows.
Seat 1 DAN BLAKEMAN (Houston, TX) 468,000 in chips
Seat 2 TONIA SCAPERLANDA (Austin, TX) 261,000 in chips
Seat 3 DAVE LORTON (Fate, TX) 848,000 in chips*
Seat 4 DAVID “DT” TRAN (Dallas, TX) 698,000 in chips
Seat 5 TAMPER “NATE DOGG” WHEELER 664,000 in chips
Seat 6 TIM FRAZIN (Dallas, TX) 453,000 in chips
Seat 7 ROHIT PRAKASH (Austin, TX) 144,000 in chips
Seat 8 JERRY RANDACK (Richardson, TX) 237,000 in chips
Seat 9 JOHN “JOHNNY CHICAGO” NOWAK (Fairview, TX) 406,000 in chips
Seventh Place: The seventh place finisher was John “Johnny Chicago” Nowak. He met his demise when moved all in with and was called by the of Tran. A king on the flop and a jack on the turn gave Nowak a few more outs to a straight, but lightening didn’t strike on the river. He earned $3,986.
Nowak is 47 years old and he has three children, Guy, Connor and Mia.
Sixth Place: Tonia Scaperlanda began the final table as one of the shorter stacks and was forced to look for spots to double up. She did just that when her pocket pair of eights held up versus the of Frazin. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to propel Scaperlanda to the winner’s circle. She was eliminated in sixth a few hands later. She earned $5,133.
Tonia Scaperlanda is a human resource supervisor. She lives in Austin, Tex. and is married with three children. This was her first WSOPC cash. She is the second female to make a final table at this Circuit stop.
When three-handed play began, no one had any idea what was in store. The five-hour marathon saw river cards reluctant to send a player packing and players a bit too hesitant to take things into their own hands.
Eventually, when tournament clocks reached Level 34, the blinds and antes were just too high and the cards began to play themselves. With only 4.190 million chips in play and 25,000/75,000/150,000 levels, there wasn't much poker being played.
Third Place: Rohit Prakash held the and got the majority of his chips in the pot pre-flop against the of Tran. Tran flopped a ten, but Prakash remained comfortably in the lead. A turn blank left only one more card to come, but the timely river that defined this three handed battle struck again, bringing the and doubling up Tran.
Prakash’s stack took a dismantling blow and Tran inched a closer to victory.
Prakash is 45 years old and self-employed. He lives in Austin, Texas. Third place awarded him $11,978.
Second Place: Moves were limited at this point and Dave Lorton shoved with the first ace he saw. Tran woke up with the , well in front of Lorton’s . Lorton’s dreams of Circuit gold were turning to nightmares and any hope he had of outdrawing Tran was crushed when the flop came giving Tran trips.
Lorton finished runner up. He earned $16,393.
First Place: David Tran’s victory marked his second cash of the Choctaw series and his first big tournament score. He earned $26,530.
Tran is a 37-year-old business owner originally from Vietnam. He now resides in Dallas. He goes by the nickname “DT” and says he has too many superstitions to list. He plans to put his money back to work and use some of his five-figure score to buy into upcoming events at the Choctaw Circuit series.
This is the fifth of 12 scheduled ring events taking place at Choctaw Casino Resort. WSOP Circuit events continue through January 23. The Main Event will take place January 21. Winners of all ring events will receive a Circuit gold ring, first-place prize money and ranking points toward the $1,000,000 Circuit National Championship taking place in Las Vegas this spring. In addition, the winner of the Main Event will receive an automatic bid into the National Championship.
Choctaw Casino Resort is located in Durant, Oklahoma and received extensive renovations over the last few years, not the least of which is the addition of the 330-room Grand Tower. The resort now boasts more than 400 rooms and 110,000 square feet of gaming space.
Like all Choctaw Casinos, a portion of the proceeds from Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant go to fund healthcare, education and housing for Choctaw Tribal Members.
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