First-Ever Pokerstars Championship Bahamas Highlights

Christian Harder wins the very first Pokerstars Championship

The very first PokerStars Championship which was held from January 6-14, 2017 at the Atlantis Resort & Casino in the Bahamas, just ended with Christian Harder taking down the Main Event after making a deal with Cliff Josephy, his backer in 2008 when he placed 7th for his second live career cash.

Christian Harder (Photo Neil Stoddart)

Harder, whose biggest live cash before the Bahamas was his 4th place finish in the 2015 World Series of Poker (WSOP) $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller Event for $332,998, soon struck a deal with 2016 November Niner Josephy after they were left by Michael Vela for a heads-up match.

Josephy who won the 2016 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas and who placed 3rd in the 2016 WSOP Main Event for $3,453,035 accepted the deal. They arranged for Harder to get $419,664 and Josephy $403,448, leaving $10,000 and the trophy up for grabs.

The heads up match didn’t take long after that with Harder taking 1st place for $429,664.

Other notables who made it in the money were Jason Mercier in 14th place and Ryan Riess in 15th, with both players receiving US$32,000.

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 Gl忙sel $103,780

Bryn Kenney earns $1.6 Million in Bahamas winning streak

Bryn Kenney definitely started the year 2017 with a blast in the Bahamas.

Bryn Kenney (Photo Tomas Stacha)
Bryn Kenney (Photo Tomas Stacha)

The American poker pro won 2 of the High Roller events and finished in the money in another one at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas -all within 6-days’ time.

  • 7th place in the $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller for $275,060,
  • 1st place in the $50,000 buy-in Single Day High Roller event for $ 969,075,
  • 1st place in the $25,500 buy-in Single Day High Roller for another $ 392,876

The $25,500 buy-in Single Day High Roller wasn’t even part of the original schedule but due to popular demand, the event was set up accumulating 42 players with 17 re-entries which made the prize pool reach a whopping $1.5 Million. The surprise tournament also had a new feature – the “shot clock” where players only had 30 seconds to act on their turn.

Kenney’s last big score for 2016 was at the Triton Super High Roller Series Philippines for more than $1.4 Million

Jason Koon wins the $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller

Jason Koon (Photo Neil Stoddart)
Jason Koon (Photo Neil Stoddart)

American Jason Koon has been performing extremely well in the High Roller circuit since 2016. But his latest achievement has been a dream he’s always had since he first won a seat to the former PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in the Bahamas in 2008. Playing against formidable opponents like Daniel Colman (3rd place), Charlie Carrell (2nd place), Bryn Kenney (7th place), Koon outlasted a field of 54 players in the $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller to win a whopping $1,650,300.

He said, “”Sitting there with the trophy in front of me was kind of a surreal moment.”

Koon had won the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, Hollywood for $1,000,000 the year prior.

Place Name Prize
1 Jason Koon $1,650,300
2 Charlie Carrel $1,191,900
3 Daniel Colman $759,660
4 Daniel Dvoress $576,300
5 Byron Kaverman $445,320
6 Connor Drinan $340,540
7 Bryn Kenney $275,060

Star-studded Event

The PokerStars Championship was full of the normal poker celebrities such as Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, Liv Boeree, Daniel Colman, etc. But this first-ever event also had participation from mainstream celebrities in Hollywood and in Sports.

Kevin Hart (Photo Neil Stoddart)

Kevin Hart, a Hollywood comedian best known for his role in the Scary Movie 3, The 40-Year Old Virgin, and Little Fockers attended the $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller.

Unlike other celebrities who normally come quietly hoping to be under the radar, Hart came into the floor with a bang. At one point, he event told eventual winner Jason Koon that he was willing to re-buy 22 times.

The highest paid comedian in Hollywood definitely did not stand by his bluff but he did rebuy 2 times without making it in the money.

Aaron Paul (Photo Neil Stoddart)
Aaron Paul (Photo Neil Stoddart)

Another star sighting was Aaron Paul from the TV Series Breaking Bad and The Path. Unlike Hart, Paul came in quietly playing the part of a grinder, complete with the costume – headphones, hoodie and shades. Paul played the Main Event and was able to make it to Day 2 thanks to WPT Champion Chino Rheems who provided the chips in Queens full vs. a straight hand.

The last but definitely not the least celebrity to be seen at the event was former NFL star Richard Seymour who participated in a WPT event last December 2016.

Article by Gabrielle Barredo

Avatar photo

Louis Hartwell

Graduated in Media Communication at the University of Lausanne, Louis Hartman is a co-founder of He began his career in Cambodia as freelance journalist. In same time he was making his living by playing poker every night at that time. Intense learner, he read dozens of poker strategy books to improve his skills during many years. With a strong interest about poker "behind the scene" in Asia and his communication skills, Louis launched Somuchpoker in 2014.

More Posts

Follow Me:
Special EmailTwitterFacebookFlickrYouTube