EPT Paris Festival Sets New Records; Barny Boatman wins Main Event, Asians Earn Deep Runs

EPT Paris 2024
EPT Paris 2024

The weather may have been cold and rainy during the 2024 PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Paris however it still set new attendance records in the second edition of this stop in as many years. Running from February 14 to 25, 2024 at the Palais de Congres, the action was as hot as the summer in Asia also thanks to a new event location with some 130 tables in play.

UK Veteran Barny Boatman Wins the EPT Paris 2024 Main Event

Barny Boatman wins EPT Paris 2024 Main Event
Barny Boatman

All eyes were obviously set on the EPT Main Event, which came with a buy-in of €5,300. The pinnacle tournament on the schedule drew a staggering 1,747 entries for a price pool of €8,385,600, which made it the sixth-biggest EPT Main Event in history – trailing only five stops in Barcelona and beating last year’s 1,606 entry figure in Paris by a lot.

In an action-filled finale, UK poker veteran and co-founder of The Hendon Mob Barny Boatman defeated David Kaufmann to earn the top prize of €1,287,800. At the tender age of 68, he is now the oldest winner of the brand’s flagship event and he did so in scintillating fashion, defeating his opponents with the cards and table chat alike on the live stream table.


Boatman scored a crucial double near the end of Day 4 against three-time WPT Main Event champion Eric Afriat, which he didn’t base on solver but just player reads. Afriat first congratulated him and then appeared to tilt so much that he used all time bank extensions on purpose in the penultimate hand to potentially avoid a complete meltdown. The live poker stalwart never looked back and was always in the top three spots from there on.

Asians taking it deep

A quick look at the results reveals just a handful of Asian players with deep runs. Zhongxian Li from China fared the best but came up just short of the final four tables, earning €26,350 for his 33rd place finish. Wei Huang (China, 81st place) and Rikiya Jinbo (Japan, 95th place) were the only other Asian players in the top 100 while the 2023 WSOP Europe Main Event runner-up Ting-Yi “Eric” Tsai finished in 110th place for €15,000. The top 255 finishers earned a cash prize of at least €8,650 while Spain’s Ignacio “IgnaPoker83” Molina bubbled near the end of Day 2.

The Rising Star: Businessman Santhosh Suvarna Strikes Again!

Santhosh Suvarna wins EPT Paris 25K High Roller
Santhosh Suvarna

A few years ago, nobody had heard of Indian businessman Santhosh Suvarna. Out of the blue, he appeared on the high-stakes scene and jumped into cash games as well as tournaments to compete against the top pros. His first four live MTT cashes prior were all in his native India but that all changed as of September 2022, when Triton and the EPT were calling.

Since then, his live poker cashes have surpassed more than $7 million and he sits in second place – it seems just a matter of time until he kicks Vivek Rajkumar off the top spot. Paris may have not been the most profitable trip for Suvarna as he entered several high-stakes contests such as the €50,000 Super High Roller to earn just two cashes.

The 139th place in the Main Event for €13,100 was modest but he then struck gold in one of the last €25,000 High Roller tournaments. Out of a field of 31 entries and 12 re-entries, Suvarna earned the biggest piece of the €1,011,360 prize pool (€348,860) – slightly more than one third. Six spots were paid with the likes of Sam Greenwood, Viacheslav Buldygin, Chris Brewer and Jamil Wakil all cashed and Samuel Ju bowed out in a quick heads-up duel after being heavily out-chipped.

Win or lose – Suvarna always competes with a smile on the face. He has a WSOP Europe bracelet to his name from last year in the €50,000 Diamond High Roller at the King‘s Resort in Rozvadov. The €650,000 top prize back then is only his third-biggest in what has been a fantastic one and a half years of the live poker circuit.

Lucky Pull for Kartik Ved and Seonguk Huh

Kartik Ved pulls 50K at EPT Paris Mystery Bounty
Kartik Ved

Speaking of bracelet winners from India – Kartik Ved also had his moment of glory in Paris as well, even though it didn‘t come with a PokerStars spadie trophy. In the €3,000 Mystery Bounty Event, he was one of four players to find the coveted envelope with a €50,000 prize in it. The bounty bonanza started on Day 2 of the event, which turned out to be very popular and attracted 997 entries for nearly seven figures in random cash prizes for scoring knockouts.

Seonguk Huh at EPT Paris 2024
Seonguk Huh

Ved traded in four bounties at once and selected one of those everybody in the room was looking for. He only finished in 58th place thereafter but the one pull made the entire trip to Paris worth it. The 2023 WPT Prime Taiwan champion Seonguk Huh also earned the top bounty as well and bowed out in 11th place for €21,240, WSOP and EPT Main Event winner Hossein Ensan collected the same cash prize for 10th place.

Tomo Tsugunari at EPT Paris 2024
Tomo Tsugunari

One more Asian player was left in contention and that happened to be Tsugunari Toma. The other high-stakes events were not crowned by success but he made it all the way to fifth place, which came with €78,910 in cash. Winner of the tournament was Australia‘s Ram Faravash, who knocked out 21 opponents and collected €106,500 in bounties (including one €50,000 and one €25,000 bounty) as well as a cash prize of €298,796.

Any Other Final Table Appearances About?

Ankit Ahuja at EPT Paris 2024
Ankit Ahuja

It wouldn’t be a major live poker event without a deep run for the 2023 GPI Player of the Year for India – Ankit Ahuja. He cashed in five events during the 2024 EPT Paris and kicked things off with a fourth place finish in the opening €1,100 NLHE Event #2 for €1,890. There were small cashes in the FPS Main Event, FPS Cup and FPS High Roller, too. In the €3,000 Mystery Bounty Event, he then added another 17th place finish for €12,300 to the resume as well.

Renji Mao in the final €1,000 Super Turbo Event made it to seventh place. In a €2,100 6-Max Event, South Korea‘s Steve Yea came fifth in a field of 260 entries for €27,000 with two-time EPT Main Event champion Mike Watson taking it down (€102,000). Another big field emerged in Event #40 €2,200 NLHE Deepstack with 369 entries and Jun Beum Chun finished in third place (€63,100), Krishna Madhariwar also reached the final table (8th place for €18,200).

Chinese High Roller Quan Zhou came dressed to impress with a fancy white jacket and cashed in two events. The 29th place in the aforementioned Mystery Bounty Event was a drop in the bucket but he also had a runner-up finish in the opening €10,200 Mystery Bounty Event to his name as well. With €81,500 in cash and €72,500 in bounty prizes, Zhou leaped to more than $7.7 million in MTT cashes on the live poker circuit according to the Hendon Mob.

The APT is underway in Taipei

APT Taipei 2024 National Cup

All the eyes of the Asian poker community are already back on home soil as the Asian Poker Tour has kicked off in Taipei City. A total of 105 gold lion trophies are up for grabs in the span of 12 days and among the first players to capture one of them was Hong Kong‘s Anson Yan Shin Tsang in the Single Day High Roller Event #3. The final table included Klemens Roiter, Sparrow Cheung, Henrik Hecklen, and Loon Lun, Tsang collected NTD 1,526,000 (~USD 48,200).

*All EPT Paris 2024 image by Poker News

*Article written by Christian Zetzsche

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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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