Any way you look at it, Davidi Kitai’s success to this point in the world of poker is stunning.
He's one of only five players in the world with a live Triple Crown. His career live earnings top out just under $6m to make him Belgian's all-time money leader.
If you need an even more recent example, he won a €2k event in Deauville this week and he's now on to the final 12 in the High Roller.
He's become so good, in fact, it's not that strange to hear whispers of Kitai in the same breath as legends like Phil Ivey.
PokerListings caught up with him in Deauville for a quick chat to see what's next.
PokerListings: Davidi, you said last year that your biggest personal goal now is to be #1 on the Global Poker Index at least for a few weeks. It seems that you really respect this ranking?
Davidi Kitai: The GPI is the first real, legitimate ranking in poker history.
The calculation makes sense so the leader of the ranking can really consider himself the best regular in the circuit.
I’ve played poker for more than 10 years now and I had to find a different goal from just making money. I think this is really important for every regular, high-frequency player.
So I said to myself: What I want to achieve is being number one in the GPI for at least one week. Since I set up this goal I feel that I play more regularly and more ambitious than before.
Every result is important now. It makes me sharp and dangerous (laughs).
PL: You're ranked #6 now. Are you going to play in the Global Poker Masters then, the GPI's World TeamChampionship on Malta?
DK: (laughs). Unfortunately not. Of course, I am the best-ranked Belgian player in the GPI. But Belgium is not qualified. We are too small a country …
PL: And also divided between Flanders and Wallonia. Is the Belgian poker community also divided in two?
DK: I come from Brussels and I speak French. But I feel 100% Belgian.
Flemish and French Belgians argue with each other, but they never fight. But we really play poker differently.
If you play in Namur, the big casino in Wallonia, you see what the typical French flair is. They play straight forward, protecting their hands, the style is loose-passive.
The Flemish players play really Dutch style: tight-aggressive. They are way better in cash games.
Us french speaking players are better in tournaments, as you can see in me (laughs). The best Belgian tournament players are Michael Gathy, Pierre Neuville, and me. All French.
PL: Your favorite poker club in Europe is the Aviation Club de France in Paris. That was shut down in October.
DK: Aviation Club de France was an excellent place for live poker, and by far the cleanest place to play cards in France.
More than this it has a unique atmosphere, high-class food and a very professional and friendly staff.
It was the place to be and I think it is a big mistake to close it. It represents the best of French culture.
PL: You are a high-end tournament player, but you still play in lower buy-in tournaments every year.
DK: It is more about the Winamax mentality. Even we as the pro players try to be as close as possible to the amateur players.
That’s why we play half a dozen low buy in tournaments a year with them.
And I myself like to discuss with the new breed about poker. I guess about 5% of the players in the field are very talented and actually able to survive at top level.
It’s good to have chats with them in an entertaining and less tense atmosphere.