From EPT Glory to PokerStars Ambassador: Barny Boatman’s Journey in the World of Poker

From EPT Glory to PokerStars Ambassador: Barny Boatman’s Journey in the World of Poker

The world of poker has undergone tremendous development over the past years if not decades. When reflecting on the greatest moments in its history, there are countless memorable events to consider, making it a somewhat daunting task to recount them all. However, one moment can be taken on it: Barny Boatman's victory in the EPT Main Event in Paris.

In the dynamic world of poker, few achievements resonate as profoundly as Barny Boatman's triumph at the EPT Main Event in Paris. Going back to the late 90s, Boatman, alongside Joe Beevers, Ross Boatman, and Ram Vaswani, formed The Hendon Mob, unknowingly sowing the seeds for the world's largest live poker database.

Despite his monumental win, Boatman's humility remains intact. Speaking with him, he reveals a refreshing and modest personality, a testament to his character. His appointment as a PokerStars ambassador during Episode 300 of 'Poker in the Ears' underscores his status as a great personality of the game. But not only that, it shows once again that PokerStars is only satisfied with the world’s finest!

In a revealing interview with PokerListings, Boatman reflects on his journey and the significance of this new role. As the poker world eagerly anticipates his next move, Boatman's humble legacy as a formidable force in the game is assured.

Melvin: Hi Barny! It’s great to meet you, and it shows once again the poker community is so great to work at, where everyone is so approachable. It’s an honour having you here. You have won the last EPT Main Event, and have now been named as the new ambassador of PokerStars. Has it sunk in a bit already?

Barny: ‘’Yes, I mean, the party last night of the 300th episode of ‘Poker in the Ears’, really brought it back to me quite a lot. Because at the time of the EPT, it was quite overwhelming. The support I was getting from friends and from people whom I didn’t even know, was very exciting. Since then, I have been with friends, at home, doing normal things. When I went there last night, at the Hippodrome, it really brought back that sense of what an exciting and big deal it actually was.’’

Melvin: Of course, there has come so much at you since then. How did you hold up till now? Did you play any more poker?

Barny: ‘’I did play poker a couple of nights ago. I went to my friend Victoria Coren-Mitchell's home game, which is just a friendly fun game where I get invited to every now and again. And its really enjoyable, with old friends. We played very small stakes, but we still like to compete. I walked away losing 50 pounds, and I was like: OK, this is the real life again.’’

Recap of the EPT Paris Final Table

Melvin: And now you are the newest ambassador of operator giant PokerStars, congratulations on that! How does something like that come together?

Barny: ‘’The relationship with PokerStars just feels so very natural to me. It feels very natural because PokerStars has always been there since the very early days of the European Poker Tour, supporting that, which was very very focused on the interest of the players and making it a better experience for them. So, you know, my heart was already with them. I do not even know who brought it up first, but it was just seemed very natural as a next step from what happened in Paris that I would be keeping my relationship with them.’’

Melvin: What can we expect from Barny Boatman as a PokerStars ambassador?

Barny: ''I think that my focus and where my value relies, mainly towards PokerStars at least initially, is very much into supporting and growing the live side of the game and the connection between the poker site and that live game in terms of encouraging people to come and play, and try to win satellites. And I hope that people look at me and say like: Hey, maybe I can do it too.

I do have ideas of things that I’d like to see maybe included on the online site, but maybe it’s a bit too soon to speak up as I need to get more involved before doing that. There are people who watch the live game, they watch the excellent streams on PokerStars TV and so forth. And they maybe feel the game is being taken to a certain level, that they wouldn’t be confident to compete at.

When they hear Sam Grafton and Maria Ho explaining in detail all the thinking that goes into the decisions that happen in poker. And what I would like to say is that: Yes, it's all very important, and it’s great that you can learn so much from these people. It's also important to remember why you entered the game because you loved it. You used to play around the kitchen table, it's still the same game, and the rules are still the same. You can still bring something extra to the game, you can bring your personality, and you can improvise.

If the game was just the numbers if that was all it was, it wouldn’t be the game that it is, so don't be intimidated. I want to be there at all the tours such as the EPT, UK & Ireland stops. And also other places, and eventually Latin America, and Spain, I want to be there welcoming people back into the game. Like it was for the first time, spending time with people who really have that love and enjoyment of the game and encouraging them to take part in everything that PokerStars has to offer.’’

Barny Boatman PokerStars Ambassador

Melvin: You have won a crazy amount of money. Besides your ambassadorship and the plans which go along with that, what’s next for you?

Barny: '’Well, it’s a real shame that the one tournament that I try never to miss. is The Irish Open. The best and oldest tournament of the European circuit, but it just so happens that this year I have got a wedding of an old friend and some events that lead up to that. And I cannot go to that.

But I'm going to do something that is equal I think, which is to go back to my old home of Madrid and play in the Estrellas Poker Tour event which starts in a few days. And I’m really looking forward to that, I love the casino in Gran Villa and I think the people are great with some really good players.

The young players come from all around Spain to play it, and the play is of a very high standard. I get an opportunity to see old friends as well. If there is one thing that can make up for not going to Dublin, is being able to go to Madrid. And that's what I will be doing first.

After that, it’s going to be Monte Carlo, which is in some ways the most prestigious event on the EPT. A very luxurious, and very high-standard tournament. I am going to be there for the whole thing which I have never done before and am really looking forward to that.

Made plans for WSOP already of course and that comes quite soon after Monte Carlo. And then I will be back for all of the EPT. It is wonderful to think that I'm going to be back on the road and go to all these fantastic places. Paris, Monte Carlo, Prague, Cyprus, and Barcelona where I used to live. They are all at really good times in the year to go to these places as well. As well as playing these amazing tournaments, I'm going to be travelling around all the places that I love. The immediate future looks pretty good to me.’’

Barny Boatman Poker in the Eras

Melvin: Besides these events, have you got anything else you have planned to do?

Barny: ‘’There is something outside poker? No yeah, of course, I mean I do love to travel and actually as it happens, the deal comes at the right time for me. In terms of having more time and fewer other responsibilities in my private life, I can really enjoy both travelling and playing on the tour and going to see old friends all around the world.

Concerning the money, I'm looking at houses. Thinking about moving from the flat I've been living in already for a long time, and it's lovely to have some options now. However, mainly I'm already living the life that I really want to live, with the people I really want to be with, and this is just all going to make it even better. More than what I already love, there is no downside really. I’m really happy about everything.’’

Melvin: PokerStars has some big names out there as ambassadors. What are your expectations to be blended into their team?

Barny: ‘’I know some of them better than others. I am a big fan of all of them, and I feel very honoured to be part of such a team of clever people really, great communicators. I do think that PokerStars, with myself left out of course, is very smart about who they engage with as ambassadors and who they choose to represent them. They are quite a wide range of people, but people like Sam Grafton who plays on the highest level and is also a very good communicator. He explains very well in commentary what is going on, and explains what they are thinking. Spraggy, Fintan, and Lex Veldhuis, on Twitch. People follow them and explain what they are thinking during the game, which is making the software very accessible.

Marle Spragg is very funny, right up my street. I feel like joining a really cool game, you know. To be honest, I have got a little bit of an Imposter syndrome at the moment because they are all so much part of that world. But I guess I’m kind of like representing another part of that poker world. And at the same time, I think that you know, a lot ways in terms of personality and in terms of love for the game, I think that I will fit in with that lot very well.

Not to forget about Joe Stapleton and James Hartigan, both great characters. I just know I’m going to enjoy my time there a lot at PokerStars.’’

Barny Boatman PokerStars Ambassador

Melvin: The Hendon Mob must have been quite happy with your result as well in Paris, knowing you were one of the founders of the brand. It put them in the picture again.

Barny: ’Yeah, I think The Hendon Mob has never been off the map in poker. But it never hurts to get a bit of a name- and brand recognition around. I love the fact that they have taken the site to another level, and doing things like The Hendon Mob tournaments. And I hope they are not going to see it as anything other than a positive thing that their name gets mentioned and that the history of the player gets mentioned.

They developed it immensely, and it's nice they kept the name, The Hendon Mob. It was our legacy, something we made, and now it was secure. When looking at it, with their GPI brand, they do it exactly in the right way, and it’s great to see.’’  

Melvin: Two WSOP Bracelets, an EPT title, and various other achievements such as the ambassadorship at PokerStars. Is there some title you always had in mind to add to your collection?

‘’First of all, my very good friend Victoria Coren-Mitchell was the first person ever to win two EPT trophies. And when I played in her game the other night, of course, I was reminded of this. So I need to win two more, so I can give it back to her a bit. I know that won't be easy.

I guess it would be nice to get a WPT when I get a chance right? People still talk about the Triple Crown as being a thing. And you know, they are very very good events as well.

But really, you know, I wouldn’t say I'm not greedy, everybody in poker wants to win more things. But I really think that as well as winning a title on the EPT, just the opportunities that it's given me is a prize on its own. Whatever comes, it comes, I will be very happy however it goes.’’

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