The first PokerStars Championship Bahamas was no small matter. It took six days for the tournament to finally come to a close, and while a few celebrities tried their hands at the big leagues (Kevin Hart and Aaron Paul), it was Christian Harder who finally sealed the deal, taking home the $429,664 grand prize.
The sixth day began with six players at the final table including November Niner Cliff Josephy, who would prove to be quite the force by the time the final table was over. While the tournament was an exceptionally long process, the first elimination of the final day was not.
Norwegian Rasmis Glæsel found himself to be in the hot seat first when he lost some chips early on. Then, just seven hands in, he lost a flip with A,K to Josephy’s 10s and went home with $103,780.
It was hours before the next action, when start-of-day chip leader Michael Gentili found himself in a jam against Aleksei Opalikhi. Gentili doubled against the Russian, who was holding aces, and found himself extremely short stacked after the move didn’t pan out. In the next hand, he called Josephy’s K,10 but failed to deliver and earned $140,940 for his fifth-place finish.
Opalikhin’s score against Gentili wasn’t enough to save him when he also went toe-to-toe with Josephy, who held pocket 9s. The suited K,Q wasn’t enough for Opalikhin when the board ran short and he was eliminated in the next hand to Michael Vela.
Vela tried to get things moving when it was down to three-handed play and went all in on an A,6 suited. Both remaining players got in on the action: Josephy with a K,J and Harder with an A,Q. A pair of sixes for Vela didn’t help when Josephy pulled a flush, sending him home in third with $259,980.
Before playing further, the remaining two players worked out a deal that gave the November Niner $403,448 and Hader $419,664 – leaving $10,000 and the title up for grabs.
Heads-up play didn’t go well for Josephy, who was losing one hand after another to Harder and slowly bleeding chips. Soon enough, the two went all in on an A,8 (Josephy) and A,J (harder). The board bricked out and the jack took it home for Harder, who finished seventh in thePokerStars Caribbean Adventure back in 2008.
Final table results:
Christian Harder – $429,664
Cliff Josephy – $403,448
Michael Vela – $259,980
Aleksei Opalikhin – $191,420
Michael Gentili – $140,940
Rasmis Glæsel – $103,780
The next PokerStars Championship takes place in Panama in two months. The PokerStars Festival London gets underway next week.
Featured photo credit: Neil Stoddart.
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