But apparently his father Mehdi Alaei not only can play, but might have had a little to do with where Daniel is today.
We caught up to Mehdi Alaei as he negotiated his way through a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event at the World Series of Poker. Only about 35 players remained of the nearly 2,700 that started and the money was starting to get big.
We asked Mehdi if he was indeed Danny's father.
"Yeah, he's my son. Poor kid," Mehdi sighed.
We wanted to know if Mehdi taught Danny how to play or if it was the other way around. The classic chicken or the egg riddle.
"My dad taught me. He was the best player back home where I grew up and then I taught him. [We talk about poker] all the time. I've sweat him ever since 2004," Mehdi replied.
Mehdi has over fifty years of poker playing experience under his belt but he still hasn't gotten tired of the game.
"I play local casinos all the time and I play online 40-50 hours a week."
One would think that with a game load that heavy he wouldn't have time for anything else, but that's not the case. He has a full-time job on top of that.
"I don't call myself a professional because I've got a regular job now. I did play professionally for eight years but I'm happy now to be running a business for someone."
Many parents are shocked when their children come up and tell them that they plan on playing poker for a living. Not Mehdi.
"I always knew he had a big heart. He always had that gamble in him and to do this you gotta be almost a degenerate gambler - to be a professional the way that he does at the high stakes. He had it in him and I pushed him. I supported him all the way and I'm very proud of his accomplishments."
Mehdi was obviously very happy for what his son has been able to do in the poker world. Is there anyone Mehdi thought would be a better player?
"I mean, I might be a little biased, but Phil Ivey is the only one that I think might have a shot at him."
This is only the second World Series event Mehdi has played, the first being in 2006 after Alaei won his first World Series bracelet in the $5,000 buy-in 2-7 No Limit Lowball w/ Rebuy event. Mehdi wasn't planning on staying in the tournament this long.
"I'm supposed to go back to LA in the morning but if I make a final table I might have to miss a day. This was supposed to be fun, but I didn't expect this."
Mehdi Alaei and his son Daniel have a legitimate chance to make history this year. We'll keep an eye on Mehdi as we're sure his son Danny will.