Boatman the Goatman at EPT Paris

27 Feb 2024
Jonathan Raab 27 Feb 2024
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  • Barny Boatman wins EPT Paris for €1,287,800
  • Becomes oldest ever EPT Main Event winner at 68
  • New nickname 'The Goatman' might stick
  • Barny is one victory away from achieving poker's Triple Crown
Barny Boatman Wins EPT Paris
Barny 'The Goatman' Boatman
Barny Boatman, founder member of The Hendon Mob and one of the most beloved British poker players to ever grace the felt, has won the main event of the European Poker Tour in Paris, France (yeah, not Texas).

The 68 year old Londoner bested a field of 1,747 players in the prestigious €5,000 EPT main event, banking a lifetime best €1,287,800 to claim his first EPT main event title. He’s been in on the tour since it began in 2004, cashed in the grand final in the very first season and has now become the tour’s oldest ever main event winner. He’s finished in-the-money in EPT main events numerous times over the years and has won several side events. His previous best finish in an EPT main event was in 2011 when he won €225,000 for 4th place at EPT Sanremo.

Live Circuit Stalwart

Ever present on the poker circuit since 1998, Barny has cashed in live poker tournaments every single year he has been playing. He’s also been in the money at the WSOP every single year since 2004, including winning two gold bracelets along the way. This victory pushes his lifetime winnings from tournament poker to just short of $5.5m.

He is however not the first Hendonmobster to win an EPT event, as that accolade went to Ram Vaswani during the very first year of the tour at EPT Dublin and he went within a whisker of become the first double (and consecutive) winner at the very next event in Copenhagen, where he finished runner-up.

Mobster Beginnings

The Hendonmob is known today as a live poker results database, but it was originally a group of four players who became famous for their appearances and success on Late Night Poker, the British televised poker series that sparked interest in the game at the end of the last Millennium. The “Mob” consisted of Barny, his brother Ross, Ram Vaswani and Joe Beevers. Ross Boatman is well known TV actor in the UK, with appearances in several mainstream drama series. Joe ‘The Elegance’ Beevers was the business brains behind the operation and the driving force that made the website as successful as it has become, being the main live event database on the internet. Barny and Ram are primarily players and while it was Ram who was initially seen as the most talented of the team, in recent years Barny has arguably assumed that mantle. 

Triple Crown Next?

Barny has now won two legs of poker’s Triple Crown, an accolade reserved for those few players who have won an EPT Main Event, a WSOP bracelet and a WPT Main event. Commenting after the final table concluded, Barny said he hoped he could go on to become just the tenth player to achieve this feast and prove that his win in Paris wasn’t a fluke. Barny’s modesty is commendable, but his skills at the poker table are certainly not in question. His continuing thirst and ambition for further success are evident in a post victory tweet he made on morning after the night before.

Bluff and the Wondercall

Boatman made headlines on day four of the six-day tournament when he doubled up on the last hand of the day with an inspired call with top pair, having sniffed out the bluff of Eric Ariat, his opponent in the hand.

That call sent shockwaves through the poker community, with the clip being shared multiple times on social media. His nickname is officially ‘Barmy Barny’ but ‘Barny Goatman’, as some have now taken to calling him seems much more appropriate. 

He maintained a healthy stack throughout day five of the event and was sitting in third place as the tournament entered its final day, with just six players remaining. The chip leader going into the final day was German player David Kauffman, who commanded a huge lead on 24.8m chips, more than double that of his closest challenger. 

The Final Table

PlayerChip Count
David Kaufmann24,800,000
Aleksejs Ponakovs10,050,000
Barny Boatman9,675,000
Owen Dodd2,950,000
Eric Afriat2,525,000
Peter Jorgne2,400,000
The start of the final day was in contrast to the rest of it, as there were three quick-fire exits within the first hour of play, as the three shorter stacks all got sent to the rail early. The first to go was Canadian businessman Eric Ariat, the player who famously failed to get his bluff through Barny at the end of day 4. Once again it was Barny who benefitted, taking the scalp of his day four adversary. Peter Jorgne was the fifth place finisher, ejected by Ponakovs and Brit Owen Dodd was eliminated by chip leader David Kaufman, all within an hour and a half of play. 

Having been reduced to the final three on the live-streamed final table, the podium players then experienced a much longer pause before the tournament got heads-up. It took over four hours of play for there to be a further elimination. During this fascinating period of play, it was initially Ponakovs who closed the gap on the chip leader and then tied him for the lead. But before long all three had very similar chip stacks, with Kaufmann taking a narrow lead once again.

Ride Across the River

The final changed dramatically after the Londoner won a huge pot against Kaufmann with 710 vs 8Q. Having made a boat on the turn of a board that read 9 7 7 10 8, Barny drifted his way across the river with a 1.2m bet. Kaufmann travelled against the current and raised it up to 5m, but chucked his hand downstream when le Passeur (French for Boatman) paddled over the top for his remaining 15m.

After the Goatman was paid handsomely for that trip across the river, he gradually asserted his dominance, putting on a masterful display on his way to ultimate victory. Ponakov was very short-stacked by the time he played his final hand and it took just two hands of heads up play for the tournament to conclude. 

In the final hand Boatman three-bet with J 2in response to Kaufmann’s open and the German called with A 9. The flop of 9 J 6 put Barny in the lead and he bet out 2m, which was called. He then shoved all-in after the 5 fell on the turn and after a short internal deliberation, Kauffman made the call. The Q on the river did not change anything and the tournament was brought to and end.

The poker world has also reacted positively to Barny’s success, with many wishing him well. 

It will be hard to find a more popular winner all year and it would be a shock if he is not nominated for the final table performance award at the 2024 Global Poker Awards. At only 68 years of age, there is surely a lot more to come from this talented youngster. History beckons.

The EPT Paris Final Table Result

1Barny BoatmanUnited Kingdom€ 1,287,800
2David KaufmannGermany€ 804,750
3Aleksejs PonakovsLatvia€ 574,850
4Owen DoddUnited Kingdom€ 442,150
5Peter JorgneSweden€ 340,100
6Eric AfriatCanada€ 261,650
7Ami BarerCanada€ 201,250
8Lorenzo ArduiniItaly€ 154,800
The EPT’s next event is in Monte Carlo from April 24th to May 4th and while it is not expected to be as busy an event as the Paris festival, it is an iconic location and one that many poker players have on their bucket lists to play in. Satellites to the €5,300 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event and the accompanying €1,100 FPS Main Event take place on PokerStars.

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