"My feet haven't touched the ground yet" - Boatman still afloat after EPT Paris win

PokerStars EPT Paris
Mo Afdhal
Posted on: March 10, 2024 24:39 PST

The latest chapter in the legend of BarnyBoatman saw the 68-year-old Englishman take down the Main Event at the European Poker Tour stop in Paris. In doing so, Boatman became the oldest EPT champion so far and pocketed €1,287,800 – a career-high score.

PokerOrg sat down with Boatman to discuss a variety of topics, including his post-victory celebrations, that hand against EricAfriat, and his plans for future events.

This is part one of a two-part interview – check back with PokerOrg for more, coming soon.

Obviously, you've got nothing to prove to the poker world, but your EPT win was so epic – how does it feel to get that kind of a victory under your belt at this stage in your career?

Barny Boatman: I think we all, as players, some more than others, always feel like we've got things to prove. And to me, I feel like I need to prove that I'm doing the right thing by showing up and playing in these things. But it just feels fantastic, obviously. It won't surprise you to hear my feet haven't touched the ground yet. An amazing response from people I know and people I don't know. That's kind of embarrassing at times, but it's nice.

And it's a lovely trophy. And the money just turned up in my account yesterday, and it's starting to dawn on me that I have a large sum of money. So, it's all great, I feel very happy and there's no downside whatsoever.

What did you do to celebrate after winning?

BB: Well, in the immediate aftermath, I was pretty shattered, actually. The hosts at the venue and the EPT invited my girlfriend and I to go to a really nice restaurant on the Champs-Elysees. We had a quiet evening, really, just enjoying the meal. And that was lovely because we were kind of finished - I was, that's to say.

And since I've been back, I've been quite busy seeing friends. Everyone wants to talk about it, some of them understand more about it than others, but they all get that I've got lucky and won a lot of money.

PokerStars EPT Paris</p>
<p> Danny Maxwell Photography - DMP

Talk us through that hand with Eric Afriat. What did it feel like in the moment?

BB: In a way, it's not a complicated hand. It's one of those hands where, in the end, it falls down to either he's got it or he's not. There wasn't a lot of complex analysis, but it was important, very important because of the context; when it was, how many chips it was for and what was at stake.

He's obviously a very experienced tournament player who knows how to use the big stack to push people around. He's talking a lot, he's trying to dominate the table, trying to make it his show. And you kind of know, with a player like that, if you've got a decent stack as well, there's liable to be a clash.

You don't try to make it happen in a false way, but you're aware that it might, and when it does you want it to be on your own terms. You'd love to have the nuts and have them bluffing into you, but that very rarely happens. The next best thing happened, which was that I connected with the flop.

How did you feel in that moment?

BB: I can't tell you exactly how I felt. Obviously, I was pleased, no doubt relieved. I think I was probably quite elated. There were 18 players left in the tournament. I know there's a long way to go, a whole day's play to make the final table. I didn't feel like I'd won the tournament, but for the first time I allowed myself to imagine that I might actually win the thing. That's probably why I didn't sleep that night.

Barny Boatman chip leader EPT Paris Main Event Barny Boatman outplayed Eric Afriat at poker and the verbal jousting

What did you think of Afriat's time-bank fiasco? What was it like to watch him unravel?

BB: I wouldn't have minded playing more hands, it's not a bad time to play more hands actually. So, I wasn't happy about it in that sense, but I totally got it. It's a huge swing for him. One minute he's chip leader, boss of the table, and the next minute I've made a call which he finds quite surprising. All of a sudden, he's under pressure himself.

And you don't know why people take things the way they do in the moment, what else is going on in their lives. I don't know the bloke, I don't know what's at stake for him personally. I was kind of surprised, especially when he announced he was doing it because he wanted a different dealer. But these kinds of things happen.

It's very easy for me to be laid back about it because I've just won this big pot, I've just made this good call. So, I just sat there, letting it all wash over me.

What about the future? Do you have any plans to take a trip somewhere to celebrate?

BB: I'm hoping to go on a little trip to Madrid, where I used to live, to visit some old friends there and take a lot of people out to dinner and celebrate with them. Then, it depends. I'd love to go to the Irish Open - if I can make it work with my schedule, because I'm going to a friend's wedding around about that time - but I think I might be able to squeeze in a trip to the Irish Open, which is always my favorite.

In the medium-to-long term, I'm really looking forward to getting back on the EPT circuit. I was reminded they really are the best tournaments for players. It was set up right from the very start with players in mind and I was reminded of how much it feels like that.

I might have the rose-tinted spectacles on because I've got a big result, but I was sitting there from day one thinking, 'Wow, what a great tournament, must play more of these.' And now I feel like I really can.

Stay tuned for part two of our interview with Barny Boatman, coming soon...

Images courtesy of PokerStars Live/Danny Maxwell