Christian "charder30" Harder Wins 1st PokerStars Championship Bahamas

American pro Christian "charder20" Harder has emerged victorious in the first ever PokerStars Championship Main Event in the Bahamas. The event (formerly known as the "Pokerstars Carribean Adventure" in their EPT days) attracted 738 players and took a full week to complete, and in the end it came down to the two most experienced and successful players at the final table as Harder beat last year's November Niner Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy after a heads-up deal to secure the trophy, the first ever PokerStars Championship Main Event, and $429,664 in prize money.

The final six became the final five early on when short-stack, Denmark's Rasmus Glæsel pushed with AK and couldn't find a matching card to overcome Cliff Josephy's pocket 10's. Glæsel was out in 6th place for $103,780 and Josephy, who started the day in last place almost doubled up to give himself a real chance of making an impact.

There were no more eliminations for several hours, in which time the day's early chip leader, Gentili, slowly slipped down the field and actually ended up the next to fall, and once again it was Josepy who put the final nail in the coffin. It was a big pot against Russian Aleksei Opalikhin which did the real damage to Gentili, however, with Gentili pushing with 22 only to find Opalikhin sitting with pocket Aces. After this Josephy sent Gentili to the rail after the latter had called his very short stack all in with 9 7 against Josephy's K 10. Both players paired and Josephy had claimed another scalp. Gentili will be disappointed with 5th, but he earned a $140,940 consolation prize along the way.

Although Josephy didn't claim the next scalp, it was he who did much of the damage as Opalikhin went head-to-head with "JohnnyBax" but his KQ couldn't beat Josephy's 9 9 and the remainder of the Russian's vastly diminished stack was gobbled up by Michael Vela on the very next hand when Opalikhin's 10 9 was no match for Vela's pair of Kings. He left in 4th, good for $191,420.

This was as far as Vela would get, however, as three-handed play saw him grow increasingly shorter. He eventually got his short stack in holding A6 and found himself up against both Harder and Josephy and thinbgs didn't look good as Harder had him dominated with AQ and Josephy had two live cards holding K J. Vela did actually go ahead when he hit a six on the flop; his hopes of a triple up were soon dashed though as Josephy hit a diamond flush on the river to send the talkative Vela to the paydesk with a nice $259.980 paycheck.

Before heads-up play began the two remaining players did a deal guaranteeing both players over $400k ($403,445 for Josephy, $419,664 for Harder), with $10,000 left in the pot to play for.

Harder held a 12.1m to 9.2m chip lead and it didn't take him long to extend it. He took a big pot from Josephy after flopping two pair on a 3 5 7 board. Josephy had tried to push Harder off the pot with air by check-raising Harder's 340k flop bet to 1.6m before having to fold to Harder's shove. A couple of hands later it was all over as all the chips went in preflop and Harder's AJ outkicked Josephy's A8 all the way.

This was Harder's second final table at this event as he finished 7th for $200,000 back in 2008, Harder's second ever live cash. Ironically it was Josephy who had backed him in 2008 who was the first to shake his hand upon victory 9 years later. This win, with the $429,664 prize money takes Harder's live cash total over the $4m mark to $4.2m

PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event 2017 Final Table Results

Place Player Country Prize
1 Christian Harder United States $429,664*
2 Cliff Josephy United States $403,448*
3 Michael Vela United States $259,980
4 Aleksei Opalikhin Russia $191,420
5 Michael Gentili Canada $140,940
6 Rasmus Glæsel Norway $103,780

 

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