Barny Boatman has always been one of the most popular players in the UK, and now he has his first WSOP bracelet after winning Event #49. Matthew Pitt spoke to the ecstatic Hendon Mobster in this exclusive interview…
PokerPlayer: Congratulations Barny! For someone who has a lot of poker accolades and accomplishments what does it mean to win a WSOP bracelet?
Barny Boatman: You know what? I had no idea how much it would mean until it happened. I was sitting there [at the final table] playing it and thought to myself, ‘this is great, but if I don’t win I don’t win. I’ve had a good time and it would still be a good result.’ But then that feeling when I won it – because of everyone being there making it into such a big thing – it is something that we all aspire to.
PP: Did you ever think your time had passed and the chances of winning a bracelet were now very small?
BB: I’ve been coming here for a few years and I must have played over 100 World Series events. I did get heads-up once and come second – that was a little deflating – and that was around ten years ago so it’s been a long time redressing it! I had no idea it would feel this good, honestly!
PP: How important is the $546k cash alongside the bracelet?
BB: It’s still sinking in and it’s starting to occur to me that on top of everything else I’ve got quite a lot of money! People have been saying so many nice things that it’s overwhelming and it’s kind of embarrassing actually, but it’s very nice. What’s not to like about it? I’d recommend it to anyone.
PP: Just after you won, you ran over to the rail and gave your brother – fellow pro Ross Boatman – a huge hug. Was it good to have Ross there supporting you?
BB: Winning the bracelet wouldn’t mean a thing if he wasn’t here. Me and Ross got into poker together, we’ve travelled the world together, we’ve come here every year. Ross is a great player, my best friend and the only thing that would top it off for me now would be to see him get one as well because he really deserves it.
PP: What was your strategy for the heads-up match with Brian O’Donoghue?
BB: I wanted to keep the pots small because I felt I knew where I was most of the time, and I realised that he was a very good and smart player. He didn’t get out of line that much during heads-up and I felt like I knew where I was with him and didn’t let the pots get big. It was attrition really.
PP: What was the atmosphere like with a typically loud British group on the rail?
BB: O’Donoghue was a really good player but he had to contend not just with me but the whole British rail, who were brilliant. They were funny, loud and boisterous. It can’t have been easy for him to focus, but he did. I was laughing my head off the whole time, they were hilarious! He never complained about it even though he could have asked for [the rail] to be stopped.
PP: You showed a lot of sportsmanship after the final hand.
BB: The second the last card hit the deck my brother was on top of me and everybody else [joined in]. When I finally extricated myself from this bundle of people, I saw Brian [O’Donoghue] standing there patiently with his hand out waiting to congratulate me and I thought that was really classy. He is a good guy.
PP: Even though they were loud the British rail was very well behaved for you this year. Was that something you asked for?
BB: I wouldn’t have had it [any other way]. If they hadn’t behaved I wouldn’t have had [them there]. They didn’t overstep the mark – the only bit of heckling that overstepped the mark came from the Americans! The rail was brilliant and they won it for me. They made me feel so at home. I ran good and everything fell into place. I was very proud of the rail. One thing the British do very well is railing, sledging and chanting. They are very funny and imaginative with it too.
PP: How did you celebrate your win?
BB: We continued long into the night! We marched down the main corridor with everybody screaming and singing. Then it was off to the Palms, where we were drinking all night – it was great!