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Barny Boatman
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The Angel, The Devil and Jesus

Report by Barny on Sunday, 20 June 2004 at 3:32 pm

For me personally it’s great to come back to Barcelona. It’s the first place outside London that I ever lived, I speak Spanish and I still have friends here. I came here more or less by accident when I was on holiday in Mallorca and took a ferry just to have a look. I liked it so much I decided to throw away my return flight give up my job as a post room clerk and look for a home and a job here. I walked round checking out the hostels and found one that for some reason was half the price of all the others. For a week or so I spent the days looking for work and a flat and only came back to the hostel at night. Then one day I came back early to find a small bearded man sitting cross-legged on my bed. ‘Hello’ he said. ‘I am Jesus!’ I looked around at the catholic icons in the walls and backed out of the room. I didn’t know at that time that nearly every bedroom in Spain had crosses and saints on the walls. Nor did I know that Jesus was a common name here and that my room was so cheap because I was sharing with a night worker!

Before Barcelona the last hand of poker I had played was as the sole surviving Mobster at the end of day three in the World Series. I’d had a couple of weeks to get over the beat I took that day which had put paid to my final shot at being a world champion, and what better way to get back on the bucking bronco than to take a shot at the other world championship; The World Heads Up? After getting past over 2,000 runners in The Big One, how hard could it be to beat one single player in round one at the Gran Casino? Too hard, as it turned out. As is often the case, it came down to one big hand: He had fifteen outs on the turn, I had no outs on the river, and I was at the bar with the other first round losers having the annual ‘it should be best of three’ conversation. There was no time to dwell on it though, it was straight in to the pot limit Omaha and I finished the night having made it to the final with average chips. I came back the next day and took a disappointing sixth place which along with Ross’s fourth in the holdem is one of only two money finishes The Mob have managed so far this week.

Throughout the week the heads up matches continued all around us and I felt like a kid with his nose pressed against the sweetshop window. Every five minutes mini MC Keith Sloan would announce over the mike that if you came to table so and so you’d see two of the worlds best putting on positively the finest display on no-limit holdem ever seen in this or any other hemisphere. It’s not hard to imagine him on the back of a covered wagon selling Bendigo’s miracle elixir to gullible sheep shearers. It has been a good event though, throwing up some interesting match ups and some classic confrontations and, as always, four first time semi finalists. Well done to our friend Mark ‘Prince Charles’ Banin who took out Dave Ulliot in the semis to prevent the ‘Angel versus the Devil’ final that the publicists wanted. And congratulations to popular local player Angel who beat Carlos Mortenson in his semi and who, this year at least, ‘really is the best’.

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