Thursday, 18th April 2024 01:21
Home / Poker / Ageless Barny Boatman lands EPT Paris Main Event title and €1.3 million payday

For close to 20 years, the European Poker Tour (EPT) has been the breeding ground for the next generation of poker stars; young guns seemingly born into the limelight, landing life-changing prizes before their lives have even really taken shape.

But today in Paris, there is a new name on the EPT winners roll but it’s a name that outdates even the European Poker Tour itself.

Barny Boatman, one of the pioneering Hendon Mob who did as much as anybody to bring European poker into the mainstream even before the Moneymaker years, took down the EPT Paris Main Event title and a career best €1,287,800 payday.

At 68, Boatman becomes the oldest player ever to win an EPT Main Event. It was the reward for a six-day clinic, during which Boatman outlasted a field of 1,747 entries including dozens who were not even alive when Boatman won his first poker tournament.

He outplayed them. He outwitted them. He was faster and sharper. Boatman’s victory is certainly one for the old school and the resilient, but it also for the innovators and the ageless.

As plenty of commentators have now christened him, this was Barny GOAT-man.

Barny GOAT-man

‘IT ALL FELL TOGETHER’

“It all fell together this time,” Boatman said after completing his victory. “What can you do, you can only play your game and hope that it’s your turn.”

He added: “This doesn’t feel real…I’ve been in quite a few finals where I’ve never quite got the job done. All that was needed was for me to run like god, especially three-handed.”

Boatman has always been a raconteur, a commentator, a writer and a smart observer. But he proved this week that he is still a brilliant player as well, and today left two young superstars in his wake.

David Kaufmann, a former WCOOP Main Event winner, finished second, earning €804,750, while Latvian No 1 Aleks Ponakovs finished third, for €574,850. Boatman acknowledged that they were the toughest two players he faced in the tournament, but even they could not deny this hugely popular champion.

FINAL TABLE PLAY

The late night action on Day 5 took a final table of eight quickly down to six. But there was a distinct line through the middle of the remaining players, with three in real danger and three sitting pretty.

Final day starting line-ups:

Seat 1: Owen Dodd, United Kingdom, 2,950,000
Seat 2: Eric Afriat, Canada, 2,525,000
Seat 3: David Kaufmann, Germany, 24,800,000
Seat 4: Aleksejs Ponakovs, Latvia, 10,050,000
Seat 5: Peter Jorgne, Sweden, 2,400,000
Seat 6: Barny Boatman, United Kingdom, 9,675,000

EPT Paris Main Event final table players (l-r): Aleks Ponakovs, Owen Dodd, Barny Boatman, Eric Afriat, David Kaufmann, Peter Jorgne.

Plenty of EPT final tables have seen phoenix from the flames comebacks, but this wasn’t one of them. One by one those short stacks quickly perished before they even played a single orbit.

AFRIAT LEADS SHORT STACKS OUT THE DOOR

EPT Paris’ pantomime villain Eric Afriat hit the rail first. His two-day duel with Barny Boatman had provided one of the most entertaining subplots of the week, so it was fitting that Boatman applied the finishing touches.

Boatman found pocket kings on the button and put in a standard raise. Afriat picked up Q8 in the big blind and made the call, and the 1010Q flop spelled doom for the short stack, who only had five big blinds.

“Check to you, my friend,” Afriat said. Boatman put out a small bet, representing a quarter of Afriat’s stack. The Canadian shoved, Boatman called, and the turn and river couldn’t save him.

The pair engaged in a bit more friendly back and forth before Afriat headed home with €261,650. “It didn’t happen today,” a smiling Afriat said.

The end of Eric Afriat

BACK-TO-BACK JORGNE DEPARTS

Jorgne couldn’t last that much longer. He saw his stack dwindle to around five big blinds, with each of his opponents seemingly targeting his micro stack. He picked up A9 under the gun — i.e., one hand before he needed to put in close to half his stack — and Ponakovs called the extra with 87 in the big blind.

Jorgne, last year’s runner up, had a significant lead in this coup, but the 6J5 flop was very dangerous, and the 4 turn was a killer.

Back-to-back final tables at the same stop on the EPT is a pretty sensational achievement, and this time Jorgne took €340,100 for another incredible run.

DODD LADDERS THEN BUSTS

Owen Dodd had laddered up two spots, but he now had a critically short stack. He folded one raggy ace while under the gun, and then found 22 in the small blind. That was a clear shove, and he was flipping against Kaufmann’s A10.

He faded all the outs on flop and turn, but the A killed him. Dodd, who was persuaded to play here after superlative recent performances from his mates Ian Hamilton and Carl Shaw, became the third of that set of friends to hit an EPT final.

He departed with a fourth-place finish and €442,150. The day was barely an hour old.

Owen Dodd followed his close friends to the EPT final

THE RISE OF BARNY BOATMAN

With the shorties now hitting the bar, the three players left all had chips to play with. Kaufmann still led, with 21.5 million, but both Ponakovs and Boatman were also healthy, sitting with 15.8 million and 15.15 million, respectively.

Conventional wisdom would have it that Boatman would now become the chum for the two online sharks to feast on. Old enough to be both opponents’ father, observers might have been forgiven for thinking this was the point at which Boatman’s run would end.

But far from it. The British player chipped up by unloading his complete arsenal of weapons.

Boatman, right, was at his wise-cracking best throughout the tournament

He got his opponents to call his thin value bets when they were behind and he was then waiting to catch them when they bluffed in his direction. Boatman moved into the lead by the first break of the day, thanks to a full house with 107 and a bluff from Kaufmann. That was unsuccessful, of course.

Boatman was 12 million clear. Then he was 15 million clear. And then more than 20 million clear. Ponakovs was the short stack and needed two double ups through Boatman to stay alive, but between those hands Boatman won a sizeable pot with trip fives, keeping him well ahead.

When the next break came around, Boatman had 70 percent of the chips in play.

KAUFMANN DOWNS PONAKOVS

Ponakovs had done a very good job of staying afloat, even as Boatman continued to boss the table. But during the first hand he was under threat in a pot against Kaufmann, there was nothing he could do to survive. Ponakovs had A8 when Kaufmann had pocket threes and shoved from the small blind.

Ponakovs called but whiffed the board and out he went, banking €574,850.

One of the best young stars, Aleks Ponakovs finished third

SHORT-LIVED HEADS UP

Although the victory against Ponakovs gave Kaufmann enough chips to make something of the heads-up battle — stacks were 35.6 million (71 big blinds) to 16.775 million (33) when they started — the German player was unable to stop Boatman’s incredible momentum.

Boatman said he ran like god at this final, and he certainly got the cards to help him out. But he had laid the foundation for this over the previous few days, particularly when he had been on the feature table and had been throwing in some especially well-timed bluffs and hero calls.

On the second hand of heads up, Boatman was immediately at it. Kaufmann opened with A9 and Boatman three-bet J2. Kaufmann’s call took them to a flop.

That was 9J6 and Boatman led for 2 million with top pair. Kaufmann, with middle pair, made the call.

Even David Kaufmann couldn’t stop Boatman

Boatman then shoved after the 5 turn and Kaufmann had a decision for his tournament life. Earlier in the week, Boatman had made an incredible hero call against Afriat, after which he said, “It’s my tournament life, not my actual life. There’s always another tournament.”

Maybe it was ringing in Kaufmann’s ears because he too made a call. The difference this time was that he was behind.

Boatman faded outs on the river and that was it, job done.

“It’s way, way the biggest result I’ve had,” Boatman said. “It doesn’t feel real.”

As the EPT enters its 20th year, this is a victory for the ages. Barny Boatman? Barny Goatman indeed.

Results

Event 17 – €5,300 EPT Main Event
Dates: February 19-25, 2024
Entries: 1,747 (inc. 523 re-entries)
Prize pool: €8,385,600

MORE ABOUT THE EPT

EPT official site
EPT Paris coverage hub

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