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World Poker Tour -- Davidi Kitai Wins Celebrity Invitational

Kitai Defeats a Final Table that Included Dan Heimiller and Almira Skripchenko


Davidi KitaiThe final six players remaining in the World Poker Tour Celebrity Invitational returned for the final table of the event on Wednesday, Mar 2 in Los Angeles at the Commerce Casino. They had survived from a field of 482 players that included many stars from professional poker and Hollywood. The first two days of the event took place on February 19 and 20.

Among the players were celebrities like Lou Diamond Phillips, Don Cheadle, Chaka Khan, Gina Gershon, Corey Feldman, Jose Canseco, and dozens of the top poker pros such as Scotty Nguyen, Barry Greenstein, Phil Laak, Antonio Esfandiari and Carlos Mortensen. They were all eliminated on the way down to the final table. Here is a look at who did advance to the final day and their chip counts when the final table began:

Seat 1: Dinara Khaziyeza – 795,000
Seat 2: Damon Schramm – 860,000
Seat 3: George Rechnitzer – 655,000
Seat 4: Dan Heimiller – 615,000
Seat 5: Davidi Kitai – 840,000
Seat 6: Almira Skripchenko – 685,000

Shortly after the first break Dinara Khaziyeza was eliminated in sixth place, which was good for $5,000. Her 10-2 was dominated by the A-10 of Almira Skripchenko preflop and the board brought no help. A few minutes later the chip leader heading into the day was surprisingly eliminated. Damon Schramm had just doubled up Dan Heimiller before he played his final hand. Schramm was down to his final 105,000 when he moved all in with K-10 and ironically Heimiller was waiting to call him down with pocket aces. The aces held and Schramm was eliminated in fifth place, good for $10,000.

There was then a long stretch with little action besides Davidi Kitai doubling up through Heimiller and Skripchenko doubling up through George Rechnitzer before the next elimination took place. On the 58th hand at the final table Rechnitzer had doubled up Skripchenko and one hand later he was forced to move all in with 5-4 on a short stack. Skripchenko had him covered and she held A-9, which eventually made a full house. She easily won the hand and Rechnitzer was awarded $15,000.

That left the three biggest names at the table to battle for the top prize and WPT title. Heimiller didn’t stay at the party for too long though, he doubled up once but the next time he moved all in was his last. He shoved with QHeart Suit 5Heart Suit and Kitai made the call with KDiamond Suit 6Diamond Suit. The board ran out KClub Suit JDiamond Suit 3Spade Suit 6Spade Suit 4Heart Suit and Heimiller took home $20,000 in third place.

Heads-Up Chip Counts:

Davidi Kitai: 3,130,000
Almira Skripchenko: 1,320,000

Skripchenko scored a double up in the first ten hands to take the chip lead. Kitai won the next large confrontation to take the lead back and then the hand-count climbed toward the century club. Kitai won a pot worth 2.18 million on the 96th hand of play to hold a 3-1 chip advantage. It was all over a short time later. On the 102nd hand of the final table Kitai moved all in preflop and Skripchenko made the call. Their cards:

Kitai: QHeart Suit 3Heart Suit
Skripchenko: ADiamond Suit 2Heart Suit

Board: AHeart Suit JSpade Suit 3Diamond Suit QDiamond Suit KClub Suit

Skripchenko was eliminated as the runner up and she took home $50,000 in prize money. Kitai was crowned the champion of the tournament and in addition to the top prize of $100,000, which includes a $25,000 seat in the WPT Championship , he also took home his first WPT title and a WPT bracelet.

Final-Table Results:

1: Davidi Kitai — $100,000
2: Almira Skripchenko — $50,000
3: Dan Heimiller — $20,000
4: George Rechnitzer — $15,000
5: Damon Schramm — $10,000
6: Dinara Khaziyeza — $5,000