Sunday February 25, 2024 at 10:52 pm

Barny Boatman, an English pro and one of the original members of the Hendon Mob, shipped the 2024 EPT Paris Main Event Championship for a score worth €1,287,800. The 68-year-old Boatman became the oldest player to win an EPT event when he outlasted a field of 1,224 entries in Paris. Boatman edged out a final table that included German pro David Kaufmann, Aleksejs Ponakovs, Owen Dodd, Eric Afriat, and Peter Jorgne who was last year's runner-up in Paris.

2024 EPT Paris champion Barny Boatman (Pic by @PokerStars)

When a grizzled veteran is the last player standing on pockmarked battlefield littered with carnage, it's a truly momentous moment. When it happens to a legend, there's an added layer of exuberance. Even the most jaded poker fan has to tip their cap during a special moment which occurred in Paris over the last week. Barny Boatman has been gambling and player cards for a half-century and the English legend headed down to Paris to capture his first EPT title and snag the largest cash to date in his illustrious career.

Barny and his younger brother Russ played poker with Ram Vasami and Joe Beevers in the Hendon section of northwest London. The four were dubbed as the Hendon Mob by the Evening Standard newspaper, and the monikers stuck. It was more of a “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” branding of the quartet of poker enthusiasts who emerged from the shadowy gambling underworld in 2000 to become household names during the poker boom. During the earliest days of televised poker in the United Kingdom, members of the Hendon Mob were among the first players of notoriety on the Late Night Poker broadcasts.

The €5,300 buy-in EPT Paris Main Event attracted a total of 1,224 entrants including 523 re-entries. The total prize pool swelled to almost €8.4 million or over $9 million in USD.

Ami Barer bubbled the final table when he busted in seventh place. Boatman bagged up the third-biggest stack heading into the final table with 9.7M. Latvia's Aleksejs Ponakovs was second with 10M and German pro David Kauffman held a sizable lead with 24.8M. Kaufmann, who previously won the WCOOP Main Event on PokerStars, amassed more chips than nearly everyone else at the final table combined.

The three shortest stacks al held between 2.4M and 2.95M including Owen Dodd from the UK with 2.95M, Canada's Eric Afriat (2.52M), and short-stacked Swede Peter Jorgne (2.4M) who was the lone Scandi among the final six.

Jorgne was the runner-up in the first EPT Paris last February when Romania's Razvan Belea edged out the Swede in 2023. Belea banked €1.17 million for the victory, while Jorgne locked up €780,100 for second place. Jorgne achieved a rare feat when he final tabled back-to-back events in Paris, albeit with a short stack in 2024.

Afriat was the first player to bounce at the final table when Boatman woke up with pocket Kings. Afriat was doomed when he flopped two pair with Queen-eight in the big blind. He check-shoved the flop and Boarman snap-called. Afriat hit the rail in sixth place, which paid out €261,650.

Super-short Jorgne made a valiant final stand with Ace-nine, but Ponakovs took him out with those pesky suited-connectors via the big blind. Ponakovs flopped an open-ended straight draw with Carte 8 de trèfleCarte 7 de pique, and turned an eight-high straight. Jorgne finished in fifth place, which paid out €340,100. A pair of Top 5 finishes on the EPT is impressive, and the Swede won over €1.1 million in his pair of deep runs at the EPT Paris.

Owen Dodd, the other Brit at the final table, was the shortest stack with four remaining. He shoved with Carte 2 de trèfleCarte 2 de carreau and was racing against Kaufmann's Carte As de carreauCarte 10 de cœur. Dodd was close to doubling up before the Carte As de cœur spiked on the river. Kaufmann dragged the pot with a pair of Aces. Dodd hit the rail in fourth place, which paid out €442,150.

With three to go, Kaufmann was the chip leader with 21.5M but Boatman (15.1M) and Ponakovs (15.8M) were closing in on the German.

Boatman seized the lead when Kaufmann bluffed off a portion of his stack. The cagey Boatman chipped up to nearly 36M and held over two-thirds of the chips in play.

A short-stacked Ponakovs took Ace-eight into battle against Kaufmann's pair of treys. The board ran out Carte Dame de carreauCarte 10 de piqueCarte 7 de carreauCarte 5 de piqueCarte 10 de trèfle. The baby pair held up for Kaufmann and he picked off Ponakovs. For a third-place finish, Ponakovs took home €574,850 back to Latvia.

With two players remaining in Paris, it came down to a battle between Germany and England to determine the newest EPT champion. At one end of the table sat a German online crusher. At the other end, a gambling legend from London was awaiting his destiny.

Kaufmann trailed 35.6M to 16.8M in chips. The finale was short-lived and lasted a mere two hands.

On the final hand, Kaufmann held a better preflop hand with Ace-nine against Boatman's Carte Valet de carreauCarte 2 de carreau. The flop was Carte Valet de cœurCarte 9 de piqueCarte 6 de pique. Kaufmann caught a bit of the flop with middle pair, but Boatman improved with top pair. Boatman bet 2M on the flop, and Kaufmann just called. On the turn, the Carte 5 de carreau appeared, and Boatman moved all in with top pair and a flush draw. Kaufmann headed into the tank and pondered a call with just a pair of nines and no redraws. The German eventually called. The river was the Carte Dame de trèfle and Kaufmann missed his out. He was knocked out in second place. Kaufmann won €804,750 for a runner-up finish.

Boatman banked €1,287,800 for his victory, which marked his largest score to date. Not too shabby for a 68-year-old cardslinger who outgunned outsmarted, and outmatched players who were 40+ years younger. Chalk one up for the old guard.

Boatman won close to $5.5 million in tournaments during his career. His previous largest score occurred back in 2013 when he won his first bracelet at the 2013 WSOP for shipping a $1,500 NL donkament for $546K. He added a second bracelet at the 2015 WSOP Europe in Germany when he was the last player standing in a PLO event in Berlin.

Among the noteworthy players who went deep and cashed in the 2024 EPT Paris Main Event included... Lorenzo Arduini, Sindre Hansen, Farid Jattin, Eliot Hudon, Cesar Garcia, Tom Middleton, Anton Wigg, Byron Kaverman, Ian Bradley, Alex Keating, Benny Glaser, Romain Lewis, Walter Treccarichi, Tobias Peters, Sam Greenwood, Tim Adams, Sylvian Loosli, Max Neugebauer, Maxime Chilaud, Arthur Conan, Ben Spragg, Sergi Reixach, Eli Ross, Stefan Jedlicka, Nicolas Dumont, Jan Schwippert, Alexandre Reard, John Tabatabai, Michele Tocci, Christian Pedersen, Rachid El Yacoubi, Banjamin Chalot, Nicky Funaro, and Ryan Plant.

2024 EPT Paris Main Event

Buy-in: €5,300

Entrants: 1,224 (523 re-entries)

Prize Pool: €8,385,600

Payouts: 255


Final Table Results:

1. Barny Boatman (UK) €1,287,800

2. David Kaufmann (Germany) €804,750

3. Aleksejs Ponakovs (Latvia) €574,850

4. Owen Dodd (UK) €442,150

5. Peter Jörgne (Sweden) €340,100

6. Eric Afriat (Canada) €261,650

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