Arash Ghaneian bested a star-filled field of 772 players over four days of play to lay hands on his first gold bracelet and $239,750 in prize money (the biggest score of his tournament career).
Ghaneian, a 40-year-old poker pro born in Iran but residing in the U.S., has a lot more to be happy for than winning his first major poker tournament... he's soon becoming a father of twins!
While holding back the tears after the victory he told WSOP interviewers about the love and trust he's received from his wife of more than ten years during the up and downs that come with playing poker for a living.
"It's been a hard road," Ghaneian said afterward. "Each time I saw her here or she sent me a text, she would say, "I know you're going to win this - I can feel it. She'd never said that to be before, not like that. I don't play that many tournaments, so to get that from her made me feel truly blessed."
Name: Arash Ghaneian
Birthplace: Tehran (Iran)
Current Residence: Henderson, NV (USA)
Marital Status: Married
Profession: Professional Poker Player
Number of WSOP Cashes: 10
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 1
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories: 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 8th (2005)
Total WSOP Earnings: $322,641
Gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event included - Mike Wattel (9th), Brandon Cantu (13th), Ted Forrest (18th), Phil Hellmuth (31st), Dan Kelly (38th), Steve Billirakis (40th), Berry Johnston (50th), Jonathan Duhamel (54th), Chris Bjorin (57th), Ylon Schwartz (58th), Cyndy Violette (62nd), Matt Grapenthein (66th), David Chiu (68th), and James Van Alstyne (80th).
Gender breakdown: There were 733 males and 39 females who entered this event.
Average age of participants was 44 years, likely to be the oldest among participants of any event(s) this year, other than the two seniors' championships. The average age for WSOP players is about 34 years, making this group about ten years older, overall.