Sunday January 15, 2017 at 5:30 pm
Breaking News

Americans finished in the top 3 spots in the 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas (PCB) Main Event out of 732 entries. Christian Harder defeated Cliff 'JohnnyBax' Josephy heads up for the title. Michael Vela finished in third. When it got heads up, the two chopped the money and played out for the trophy. Their bout was short and Harder defeated Josephy to win the PCB Main Event. Harder earned approximately $430K for first place. Josephy, who was a member of the 2016 WSOP November Nine, earned a runner-up payday worth $403K. Also of note, Luc Greenwood took down the 25K High Roller for nearly $780K. Daniel Negrenau made the final table of the 25K and finished in fifth place.

CHarder Wins PCB
Christian Harder binks the 2017 PCB Main Event (Pic by Neil Stoddart, Poker Stars Blog)

It was a sweep for the Americans in the 5K Main Event at 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas. After six days of action at the Atlantis Casino and Resort, a winner was finally crowned. Christian Harder bested a field of 732 runners to ship the 2017 PCB Main Event Championship. Harder defeated the legendary Johnny Bax heads-up for the title. First place initially paid out $480,012, but Harder cut a heads-up deal and he walked away with almost $430K.

Americans finished win-place-show in this event with first, second, and third-place finishes. The final six included three Americans, one Canadian, one Russian, and one Dane. Canadian Michael Gentili came into the final table as the chipleader. Christian Harder was not far behind Gentili. The poker gods decided that it was not going to be Gentili's day.

The lone Scandi busted first at the final table. At the start of the second orbit on Hand # 7, Rasmus Glaesel got it all in with Big Slick against Christian Harder's pocket tens. The Scandi lost the race and didn't improve. Tens held for Harder and you got the feeling it was going to be his day. The Dane was dunzo in sixth place and Harder seized the chip lead.

Michael Gentili bagged up the most chips at the end of Day 5, but early on Day 5 he coughed up the lead and could never recover. It appeared this was going to be Christian Harder's event to lose. Shortly before hand #80, Harder became the first player to pass the 10M mark.

The final five played five-handed for 99 hands before the next bustout. Gentili's stack was decimated when he ran deuces into Aleksei Opalikhin's pocket Aces. Gentili busted shortly after in fifth place, which paid out $141K. Aleksei Opalikhin got picked off in fourth place. Once the Russian busted in third, three Americans remained... Harder, Vela, and Johnny Bax.

At the dinner break, Harder sat atop a mountain of chips. His stack topped 14.3M, which was more than double his opponents' combined stacks of 6.6M (Johnny Bax 4.1M and Vela 2.5M). After the break, Harder quickly mopped up.

Mike Vela busted in third place when his Ace-rag lost to Harder's Kd-Jd. Johnny Bax rivered a four flush to send Vela to the rail. Vela took home almost $260K. With Vela's elimination, we had a heads-up bout between Johnny Bax and Harder.

When Harder first cut his teeth in the professional world, he got backing from one the bigger syndicates at the time headed up by Johnny Bax. Now, the two were chopping up a pyramid of cash in the Bahamas. The two chatted about a possible deal. Harder's stack slipped to around 12.1M and Bax had chipped up to 9.1M. Initially $480K went to first and $353 to second place. They agreed on a deal in which Harder locked up $419,664, while Johnny Bax got $403,445. They left $10K on the table plus the trophy.

They didn't play much longer after the deal. Both players got it all-in with an Ace-something. Harder led with Ace-jack against Johnny Bax's Ace-eight. Bax did not improve and he busted in second place. Bax had his third biggest score to date with a $403K payday. His November Nine booty was $3.3M. Bax now has over $6.6M in career earnings.

“It's amazing,” Harder told PokerStars Blog. “I've been playing for nine years really, never won a major tournament. To finally win one, here, it's awesome.”

Christian Harder etched his name in poker history books as the first player to win a PokerStars Championship event. Harder shipped $429,664 for first place in the PCB Main Event. Harder now has over $4.2 million in career earnings. The victory in the Bahamas marks Harder's second best cash and his biggest score since 2009 (fourth place finish and $570K score at the 25K Bellagio WPT Championship).

PokerStars Championship Bahamas - Main Event

Buy-in: $5,000

Entrants: 732

Prize Pool: $3,376,712


Final Table Results:

1. Christian Harder (USA) $429,664**

2. Cliff Josephy (USA) $403,445**

3. Michale Vela (USA) $259,980

4. Aleksei Opalikhin (Russia) $191,420

5. Michael Gentili (Canada) $140,940

6. Rasmus Glaesel (Denmark) $103,780


** Heads-up chop

Luc Greenwood wins $780K for shipping the 25K High Roller

Meanwhile in the 25K, Luc Greenwood binked the Single-Day High Roller for a $780K score. That event had 121 runners and 38 re-entries for a total of 159 entries. The prize pool was a tick under $4M. When it got heads-up, Luc Greenwood chopped the cash with Nick Petrangelo. They played it out for the trophy and Greenwood emerged the victor. Petrangelo locked up $74K in the deal. Daniel Negeanu made the final table, but finished in fifth place. Nacho Barbero took sixth, and Stevie444 finished in seventh.

PokerStars Championship Bahamas - 25K High Roller

Buy-in: $25,000

Entrants: 159 (121 entries; 38 re-entries)

Prize Pool: $3,975,000


PCB 25K Money Winners:

1. Luc Greenwood (Canada) $779,268***

2. Nick Petrangelo (USA) $740,032***

3. Michael Rocco (USA) $409,020

4. Byron Kaverman (USA) $335,020

5. Daniel Negreanu (Canada) $268,780

6. Nacho Barbero (Argentina) $208,400

7. Stephen Chidwick (U.K.) $154,260

8. Mark Radoja Canada) $113,360

9. Bryn Kenney (USA) $90,380


** Denotes a heads-up chop

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