"Excited and honoured" – Barny Boatman signs as PokerStars ambassador after EPT Paris win

Barny Boatman with his EPT Paris trophy
Author Adam Hampton
Adam Hampton
Posted on: March 13, 2024 20:07 PDT

PokerStars has announced the signing of Barny Boatman as the latest addition to its roster of sponsored pro players and ambassadors. Boatman said he was "excited and honoured" after the deal was made public.

Londoner Boatman grabbed headlines recently with his win in the European Poker Tour Paris Main Event, bringing home the trophy, over $1.3m in cash and the honor of being the oldest EPT ME winner to date at 68. As he told us in a recent interview, his victory has brought an “amazing response from people I know and people I don’t know,” eliciting an outpouring of heartfelt congratulations from across the poker community.

We talked to Barny after the new deal was announced, and he said, "Joining the Stars team is perfect for me. Everyone knows PokerStars is the best place to play online, and for me there is something more.

"They have been there from the beginning, supporting and growing the live game in Europe, and increasingly around the world. They took the European Poker Tour to another level and they don’t rest on their laurels. It just keeps getting better.

"I would encourage anyone who enjoys watching us play on PokerStarsTV or the live streams to go online and try to win a seat on the tour. I’ll be at every stop to welcome you if you do, and let’s be honest, if I can win one, anyone can!"

With Boatman enjoying his time at the center of the poker world, PokerStars has followed its own tradition of snapping up the most successful and visible talent to add to its stable of patch-wearing pros.

Following in Moneymaker’s footsteps

Boatman’s appointment to Team Pro after his EPT success has echoes of several of his predecessors, most notably the signing of Chris Moneymaker immediately following his 2003 WSOP win, a.k.a. the spark that lit the fuse on the ‘Moneymaker boom’.

Chris Moneymaker playing poker

Ramon Colillas is another more recent example, the Spaniard signing on to rep PokerStars shortly after spinning up a Platinum Pass into a $5.1m paycheck at the inaugural PokerStars Players Championship in 2019.

It’s a list that could also include Viktor Blom, following his unveiling as the man behind the ‘Isildur1’ online account, and even Daniel Negreanu. The Canadian pro, who now represents GGPoker, was one of the most visible professionals during PokerStars’ rise to prominence in the 2000s, and served as the public face of the company for many years.

PokerStars pro Ramon Colillas

Respect well earned

There’s something a little different about Boatman’s appointment, however, and it may be related to the fact that his poker career goes back to before PokerStars even existed.

A founder member of the original Hendon Mob - that is, the group of players who launched their own website, rather than the current results-tracking site - Boatman has been a fixture in the poker community for decades. Indeed, when hole-cams were first used to bring real drama to televised poker (in the UK’s ‘Late Night Poker’ in 1999), Barny and his brother Ross were involved from the very first series.

Late Night Poker TV ident

The impact of that TV show - on the future of televised poker and those who watched at home (this writer included) - is hard to measure. But the announcement of Boatman’s new sponsorship deal feels like it has roots that go all the way back to those first forays into making poker the spectator sport it is today.

And the fact he’s one of the funniest and friendliest faces on the circuit? Surely just the icing on the cake.

Boatman joins a PokerStars Team Pro roster that includes the likes of Lex Veldhuis, Sam Grafton, Jennifer Shahade, Maria Konnikova, Parker Talbot, Arlie Shaban and André Akkari.

Images courtesy of PokerStars Live/Danny Maxwell/Manuel Kovsca