Barny Boatman
Barny Boatman is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner, but can he defeat our '15 Bigs'?

Every poker player is an island, but perhaps none in quite as amusing a fashion as this week’s guest for our quickfire ’15 Bigs’ questions. When a poker player is down to 15 big blinds, their true character is revealed, so our 15 questions pitch and probe, pummel and prod until the truth is revealed.


This week’s special guest is double WSOP bracelet winner Barny Boatman. The British poker hero has won $2 million in World Series of Poker tournaments alone, and we know that because we’re able to look up the information on The Hendon Mob the revolutionary poker results website that Boatman co-created.


Can Barny survive our ’15 Bigs’ or will he be blinded out by indecision? We’re about to find out!


1.    You’re on a long-haul flight and can only choose one TV Show or Movie to watch on repeat, which is your pick?


The Simpsons. No flight is that long, and you always spot something new in every episode. At least, if you’re as stupid as me you do.


2.    If you were stranded on a desert island with one book for company, what would it be?


I’m gonna say, He Played for his Wife, and Other Stories, the greatest ever collection of poker-related fiction, because, well I would say that wouldn’t I? [Ed – Barny does contribute a story to this collection if you’ve somehow missed it.]


Barny Boatman book
Barny Boatman contributed to the popular poker book He Played For His Wife and Other Stories… it’s an ace read.


What’s the song you could listen to on repeat forever?


I don’t know if I can answer that. I wouldn’t want to destroy any of my favourite tunes by playing them to death.


What’s your favourite place to play poker and why?


Dublin. I believe they call it ‘The Craic’.


If you were to be shot at dawn, what would be your last meal and drink?


A very late brunch. Make the bastards wait.


Where’s your favourite non-poker holiday destination?


Almeria, Galicia, Sicily, Costa Rica and the west coast of Canada are all special. But all our holiday when I was a kid were in Norfolk, and I have to go back that far to be sure there’s no poker involved.


Barny Costa Rica
If you look closely, you can just make out Barny at the top of this waterfall in Costa Rica (and if we made you look, Barny is hoping you’ll play him heads-up!)


You can play poker every day for a year or play no poker for a whole 12 months – which do you choose?


I’m so tight, I’d only actually play about one hand every three days anyway. So, deal me in every day.


Who is the person you don’t have around anymore that you miss the most?


My sister Joe.


Which person would you most like to meet but never have?


The idiot who told Marcel Luske he could sing.


When’s the last time life put you on tilt?


It tilts me when I see politicians and newspapers dehumanising asylum seekers, and the inevitable abuse that follows. I learned enough history from my Jewish family to know this shit never ends well.


If you couldn’t play the WSOP Main Event next year, which family member would you put into the action in your place?


That’s easy, particularly as he might read this. If I could get Ross ‘best player in our house’ Boatman to play for me, I’d never bother playing again. Although if his kid Billie ever takes up the game, I’ll probably have to change my answer.


Ross Boatman
“He’s putting me into the Main?!” Fear not, this is actually Ross Boatman in his award-winning role as Harvey Monroe in the British soap opera, Eastenders.


What’s your best poker skill?




And your biggest leak?


Making it up as I go along.


If you could make one rule change to poker, what would it be?


Not a lot of people know that I campaigned for the ‘one player antes’ thing years before it came in. I’d love it to have been called the Barny Boatman Ante, but I’m not bitter. A few things can bring players into unnecessary conflict with dealers. I’d start by banning the insouciant ‘one chip call’ which opens the door to possible errors and angles. Just say ‘call’ or shove a stack in, you lazy posers.


You have just ten seconds with the person of your dreams… what do you say?


I already said it, she said yes!


Barny Boatman comes up trumps again and with his trademark cutting wit and dashing charm to boot. If we thought there was anything the multi-talented North Londoner couldn’t do, we were wrong.


Boatman will be going for gold again this summer at the World Series… unless he can persuade award-winning actor brother Ross to swap Albert Square for the bright lights of Las Vegas!


Barny wins gold
Barny posing with the WSOP bracelet – can he win gold again this summer?