It took him ten years, but Maryland’s own Christian Harder finally managed to win a major tournament, as he took down the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event for $429,664. Harder beat a field of 738 players, ultimately beating his good friend, and former backer Cliff Jospehy heads up.

Harder adds to the $3.7 million in live tournament earnings he had before today, but his resume severely lacked a big shiny trophy, but now that monkey’s off his back.

“I’m happy to finally win one, the money is obviously great, but I really wanted that title. It’s hard to describe,” Harder said after the last bits of gold-colored confetti fell off his shoulders.

Social media was blowing up with support for ‘Charder,’ and he greatly appreciated the love he received throughout this tournament.

“It feels like the most support I’ve ever gotten in a tournament, and with the live feed lasting so long, it helps pick up steam with people supporting. The love and support I’ve gotten been unreal.”

The final table started with six players, and Canadian Michael Gentili held a slight chip lead over Harder. The eventual winner knocked out Rasmus Glaesel in sixth place, after which a tortuous five-handed battled started. Start-of-the-day chip leader Gentili was then knocked out in fifth, as Harder dominated the table.

“It was a long grind, and we played five-handed seemingly forever, luckily I busted Rasmus in sixth, and I got some momentum. The stacks worked really well for me, as a lot of the players were handcuffed.”

Eventually, Harder found himself in a storybook heads up versus Josephy.

“I have an immense amount of respect for Cliff, and I consider him a friend. He gave me my start in poker, and I got seventh back in 2008 here. Without him, my poker career could’ve turned out very differently. To face him heads up and win, it was perfect.” 

Harder’s been on the international poker circuit for many years, but the big title was still lacking until today and very welcome monkey off his back.

“I’m very happy to get the win, don’t get me wrong. But I didn’t consider myself a failure because I’d never won anything. 2016 was my worst year as a poker pro, and to then win the first big main event of the year, that kinda gets that the 2016 year out of the way. At times in 2016, I thought to myself, maybe I’m not as good as I think I am in these bigger buy-in tournaments. To win, this gives me some validation.”

 PokerStars Championship Bahamas Final Table Results

1 – Christian Harder – $429,664*
2 – Cliff Josephy – $403,448*
3 – Michael Vela – $259,980
4 – Aleksei Opalikhin – $191,420
5 – Michael Gentili – $140,940
6 – Rasmus Glaesel – $103,780

* A deal was made heads up