Christian Harder Wins First Ever PokerStars Championship Trophy

January 16th, 2017 | by Kaycee James

PokerStars’ inaugural Championship event has come to a conclusion and the first ever champion is long-time pro, Christian Harder.

Christian Harder wins PokerStars Championship Bahamas

Christian Harder wins his first major title by winning the inaugural PokerStars Championship main event in the Bahamas. (Image: flickr/ World Poker Tour)

One of the original online tournament grinders, Harder (aka Charder30) carved his way through 737 entrants in the Championship Bahamas $5,000 main event to pick up his first major title and $429,664 on January 14.

Heading into the final day, Harder was second in chips and managed to use that to his advantage with just six players remaining. By the time just Harder and Cliff Josephy were left, it was the former with a comfortable chip lead.

Harder Makes Light Work of Josephy

A deal between the two players marked the start of the heads-up battle, but with $10,000 left to play for and the honor of becoming the first ever PokerStars Championship champion, Harder pushed hard for the victory.

Within eight hands it was all over after Harder’s Ad Js maintained its pre-flop advantage over Josephy’s As 8h. As the confetti rained down, a victorious Harder told PokerStars’ blogger Howard Swaines that the victory was almost written in the stars.

“It’s pretty amazing, I’ve come full circle. 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,” said Harder.

Numbers Down in 2017

As for the success of the event itself, PokerStars Championship Bahamas directly replaced the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure which used to be part of the European Poker Tour (EPT). Although the transition from one to the other was fairly seamless, the turnout was down this year.

When Canada’s Mike Watson took home the PCA main event title in 2016, he did so after beating 927 entrants. Although this fact doesn’t necessarily indicate the potential success of PokerStars Championship series as a whole, it could be a sign of the live tournament scene in general.

With more competition and ever-decreasing value (due to fewer fish anteing up), attracting players is becoming a tougher proposition for operators. Indeed, with partypoker recently announcing the launch of its own tour (partypoker Live), PokerStars will now have another rival to contend with.

Of course, the post-Christmas low lull may be a reason for the drop in entrants. Fortunately, PokerStars will have a chance to see whether this or not this is the case when it returns with its second event in Panama on March 10.

PokerStars Championship Bahamas Result

Following a heads-up deal between Harder and Josephy, the final payouts were distributed in the following ways:

1. Christian Harder – $429,664*

2. Cliff Josephy – $403,445*

3. Michael Vela – $259,980

4. Aleksei Opalikhin – $191,420

5. Michael Gentili – $140,940

6. Rasmus Glæsel – $103,780

*Denotes a deal.

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