Davidi Kitai entered some select company on Sunday afternoon, earning his third career WSOP gold bracelet. What makes this feat particularly special is that he's now one of just three non-American players in poker history to win three or more WSOP titles in their lifetime. Jeffrey Lisandro, with duel citizenship in both Australia and Italy, is one. Daniel Negreanu, originally from Canada, is the other.
The poker pro from Brussels, Belgium topped a tough field in the $3,000 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em event, which played over four days and concluded on the main stage at the Rio in Las Vegas. In fact, an added day was necessary since the final heads-up duel ran until early in the morning, before a recess was finally called at 3 am on Saturday night. Kitai used the depths of his extensive tournament experience to pull away from his opponents when play became three-handed, but then had to stage a comeback against a fiercely-tough opponent who finished in the runner-up spot. Gordon Vayo, a Las Vegas poker pro, took second after breaking after the third day with the chip lead.
"The live stream (on WSOP.com) really helped me make some adjustments," Kitai said afterward. "During the breaks I had some of my friends watching and seeing how (Vayo) played and then I made adjustments. He got really tough heads-up, and after we took the break for the night last night, I was able to watch and see his hand ranges. That was really important to me."
Kitai won his first WSOP title back in 2005, playing in the $2,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em tourney. Then last year, he won the $5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold'em competition, good for his second win. Now that he has three victories, he's only the 65th player in history with three or more gold bracelets to his name.
"It's very good for me to win not just for Belgium, but for France, too," Kitai said. "I have hundreds of followers and everyone was texting me and posting nice things. It is nice when you know the people back home are watching."
Kitai's victory was worth $508,640 in prize money. The win puts him over $3 million in overall tournament winnings. In fact, Kitai is one of only five players in history to win what's sometimes called poker's Triple Crown -- which includes a victory at the World Series of Poker (3 and counting), the World Poker Tour, and the European Poker Tour. When asked which of all his victory meant the most, Kitai didn't hesitate. "My first gold bracelet always is the best to me," he said.
The Six-Max final table was filled with short-handed specialists. Four of the six players had previously final tabled six-handed WSOP events. Fourth place finisher Mark Darner and Vayo even final tabled the same six-handed event together in 2012 -- the $1,500 No Limit tournament where they placed sixth and fourth respectively. Only John Andress (5th) and Zachary Korik (6th) did not have previous WSOP final tables (six-handed or full ring) to their credit.This year’s $3,000 Six-Handed event drew 810 players and generated a $2,211,300 prize pool. The top 90 finishers all earned a payday. Some of the notables who cashed included Nenad Medic (82nd), Jesse Sylvia (63rd), Matt Jarvis (37th), Brandon Cantu (32nd), OIivier Busquet (20th), Jackie Glazier (19th), and Phil Hellmuth, who just missed out on his 50th WSOP final table in eighth place. However, Hellmuth did add to his all-time standing as the player with most WSOP cashes, which not stands at 102.Here are the final table results from the $3,000 Six-Handed event:1st: David Kitai - $508,6402nd: Gordon Vayo - $314,5353rd: Anthony Ruberto - $200,4764th: Mark Darner - $132,1695th: John Andress - $89,7346th: Zachary Korik - $62,690