Barny Boatman Paris
Barny Boatman was the king of Paris as he took down the EPT Paris Main Event for a career-high $1.4m score.

The two-time WSOP bracelet winner and co-founder of the Hendon Mob, Barny Boatman, has become the latest – and possibly greatest – winner of the EPT Main Event. Conquering Paris to win the biggest prize of a glittering poker career – around $1.4 million – Boatman, who came into play with less than half the overnight chip leader’s stack, became the oldest winner of the Main Event in the European Poker Tour’s long and distinguished history.

Boatman Beats GTO in City of Romance

If ever there was a city for poker romantics to dream of Barny Boatman winning the EPT Main Event he craved after all these years in, it was Paris. In a city almost built on love itself, the French capital was caught in a fog of the stuff on Sunday evening as Boatman, one of the most well-loved poker players not just in his beloved England but the world, finally became an EPT champion.

Boatman had come close before, but not since 2011 when he came fourth in San Remo had he got this close. Oddly, one man he shared the felt with in Italy 13 years ago (until missing out on the top three) was Dimitar Danchev. Ironically, the Bulgarian bowed out close to the final table all these years later in Paris, watching on as Boatman cut a bold path through the field.

Hero-calling for his tournament life “… but not my actual life” to survive, folding when required, bluffing when needed, this was a Barny Boatman performance for the ages, a reminder that studying GTO may help millions but it doesn’t need to be the only way to skin a cat. Here was a lesson in doing something the old-fashioned way, the way he knew best, looking into the whites of his opponent’s eyes.

Kaufmann Caught in the Spotlight

By the end of the action, Boatman had wrestled control of the table away from the German player David Kaufmann, who in turn had begun the final day with a big lead. The only player over 100 big blinds, Kaufmann had dominated some players at the felt over the last five fun-packed days on the PokerStars LIVE tour stop.

As the cast and crew of PokerStars celebrated an overnight Global Poker Award, Boatman put the pedal down and pressed towards a victory of his own. Three-handed, it was a masterclass in stack manipulation, the art of using a chip lead to punish both players in equal measure. Kaufmann may have had a vast amount less experience than Boatman, who had already seen off World Poker Tour winner Eric Afriat after a series of seemingly spiky clashes, but Ponakovs posed a problem. The Latvian has already beaten Phil Ivey heads-up for a WSOP bracelet – not a common boast – and might have proved a tricky obstacle for some, but Boatman’s relentless final table performance never let up for a second.

For the Londoner Boatman – celebrated by his own award-winning actor brother Ross back home – it was clearly an emotional moment when he manipulated his final opponent one last time, convincing Kaufmann to commit his stack with second pair to Barny’s top pair with one card to come.

One huge exhale from Boatman, a grimace from the German, who needed a miracle. When you’ve put yourself in the right position time and time again as Boatman has, the weight of those years of commitment eventually proves too much for luck to bear and Kaufmann was given no such unjust reprieve.

Boatman smiled at Kaufmann just before an innocuous queen landed on the river.

Barny's Way
He Did It ‘Barny’s Way’… the Oldest EPT champion in poker history celebrates a landmark win with his usual modesty.

The Oldest… and Greatest EPT Champion?

“Right now, I can’t distinguish between my tournament life and my actual life!”

Ever the gentleman, a tear seemed to flash across the twinkling eye of one of poker’s favorite sons as Joe Stapleton nimbly asked Boatman about that comment when he hero-called not for his actual life, but his tournament life.

“Right now, I can’t distinguish between my tournament life and my actual life.” Barny laughed. “This doesn’t feel real.”

As Boatman began to dissolve into the emotion of the occasion, Stapleton knew exactly where to finish. As the room rose to an ovation, the trophy was then presented and through a blur of silver confetti, the silver-haired Barny Boatman was crowned the EPT’s oldest-ever Main Event winner at the age of 68.

The oldest-ever EPT winner? He didn’t look it. Blink through misty eyes – or maybe the odd tear – and Barny could have been back in the dim smoke and electric crackle of Late Night Poker, this year celebrating its 25th anniversary. For Boatman, it is the latest cash across 26 years of ranking results.

One of his oldest friends, two-time EPT champion Victoria Coren-Mitchell, was among the first to celebrate her peer’s incredible success.

Joe Stapleton’s fellow commentator and award-winning presenter James Hartigan was quick to congratulate his favorite winner for a decade.

Want to watch it all? Here’s the full final table replay of a magical night for one of poker’s true heroes in the City of Light.

2024 European Poker Tour Paris Main Event Final Table Results:
Place Player Country Prize
1st Barny Boatman United Kingdom €1,287,800
2nd David Kaufmann Germany €804,750
3rd Aleksejs Ponakovs Latvia €574,850
4th Owen Dodd United Kingdom €442,150
5th Peter Jorgne Sweden €340,100
6th Eric Afriat Canada €261,650
7th Ami Barer Canada €201,250
8th Lorenzo Arduini Italy €154,800

Headline photograph by award-nominated photographer Danny Maxwell for PokerNews, PokerStars LIVE is the home of the European Poker Tour 2024. Find out the next stop here.