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Christian Harder Wins 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event

American Poker Pro Top 738-Entry Field To Win $429,664


The first ever PokerStars Championship Bahamas main event is officially in the books. The event formally known as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure underwent a name change as part of a rebranding of PokerStar’s live tours. That meant that this year’s champion would earn the distinction of being the first ever champion on a new tour. In the end the player that seized that opportunity was 29-year-old Maryland-based poker pro Christian Harder.

Harder topped a field of 738 total entries in the $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, capturing his first major title and a top prize of $429,664. Harder also scored 1,824 points for the 2017 Card Player Player of the Year race, sponsored by the Commerce Hotel & Casino. This massive score was enough to move him into the top spot in the overall standings.

Harder came into the final day of this tournament in second chip position with six players remaining. The biggest name joining him at the final table was also the shortest stack in Cliff Josephy. The 51-year-old poker pro finished in third place in the 2016 World Series of Poker main event and this deep run proved yet again that he can still hang with the best in the world. Josephy was able to mount a comeback, surviving to make it to heads-up play against Harder, who he used to back in poker tournaments years ago. In fact, Josephy was Harder’s backer when he made the PCA main event final table back in 2008 and finished seventh.

“It’s pretty amazing, I’ve come full circle,” Harder told PokerStars Blog’s Howard Swains after it was all over. “It’s totally where it all started. I’d never played a big buy in until the 2008 PCA. It’s amazing. I’ve been playing for nine years really, never won a major tournament. To finally win one, here, it’s awesome.”

Harder took a 4-to-3 chip advantage into the final showdown with Josephy. The two struck a deal before resuming play that saw Harder lock up $419,664 while Josephy secured $403,448. That left $10,000 and the title to play for. The two only battled it out for eight hands before it was all over.

With blinds of 80,000 – 160,000 and an ante of 20,000 Josephy raised to 400,000 from the button. Harder made it 1,100,000 to go and Josephy moved all in for 6,100,000. Harder made the call with the ADiamond SuitJSpade Suit and was well ahead of Josephy’s ASpade Suit8Heart Suit. The board ran out 9Spade Suit5Club Suit4Heart SuitKSpade Suit9Club Suit to earn Harder the pot and the title.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at this final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Christian Harder $429,664 1824
2 Cliff Josephy $403,448 1520
3 Michael Vela $259,980 1216
4 Aleksei Opalikhin $191,420 912
5 Michael Gentili $140,940 760
6 Rasmus Glæsel $103,780 608
7 Brock Allison $76,400 456
8 John Dibella $56,260 304

Winner photo courtesy of PokerStars / Neil Stoddart.