Davidi Kitai worked through a balanced final table to take down the 2011 World Poker Tour Celebrity Invitational. The Belgian professional took home $100,000 in prizes for his victory, including a $25,000 seat into the WPT Championship at the end of the current season.
When the final table began, it truly seemed like it was anyone’s tournament to win. While Damon Schramm held the chip lead, he only had 860,000 chips in front of him. Meanwhile, the short stack was hardly behind at all; Dan Heimiller held that position, but had 615,000 in chips in his stack. The final table also featured two internationally titled female chess players: Almira Skripchenko and Dinara Khaziyeza.
It was the two chess queens who faced off first, with Skripchenko taking Khaziyeza out of the tournament in 6th place. Schramm fell next; with the six players so close in chips, his lead in the event easily evaporated and he was the short stack at the table when he was eliminated by Heimiller.
Eventually, the match came down to Kitai and Skipchenko, with Kitai holding approximately a 5-2 chip lead. Skripchenko actually managed to double up and take a chip lead early, but Kitai regained the lead shortly thereafter, and finally put Skripchenko in preflop. The chess star’s A2 was slightly ahead of Kitai’s Q3 of hearts, and her ace outdrew Kitai’s 3 on an AJ3 flop. But the turn came a queen, putting Kitai out in front; a king on the river did nothing to change the result, giving Kitai the title.
Kitai’s victory is another notch in his cap, and marks his first win on the WPT – even if it was in an invitational event. He holds one World Series of Poker bracelet in his career, and is Belgium’s all time money leader in live tournaments, having made over $1.5 million in his career.
Here are the final table results, with cash prizes:
1st: Davidi Kitai ($100,000)
2nd: Almira Skripchenko ($50,000)
3rd: Dan Heimiller ($20,000)
4th: George Rechnitzer ($15,000)
5th: Damon Schramm ($10,000)
6th: Dinara Khaziyeza ($5,000)