Joe Beevers: “We Aren’t All Barny Boatman.”

Joe Beevers: "We Aren't All Barny Boatman."

Lee Davy sits down to talk to one of the pioneers of televised poker, Joe ‘The Elegance’ Beevers, about the success of his good friend Barny Boatman, sponsorship and much more.


I would fall through the door; head to the kitchen and start pulling out dishes while shushing myself with a finger pressed against my cracked lip. I would flood the plate with enough Chinese food to turn my ass the same color as a Baboon, head into the front room and switch on the box to watch Late Night Poker.

That’s how I first met Joe ‘The Elegance’ Beevers.

Joe Beevers: "We Aren't All Barny Boatman."He is one of the true legends of the game. Back then he probably wanted the whole world to know that he had a face. Today, if he sat down at a poker table in Las Vegas, not many people would know that he had one. I see him. He still gives me butterflies as I prepare to interview him. He is, and always will be, a star.

I feel so much gratitude that I get to speak to the man who was friends with that handsome bloke from London’s Burning.

I have interviewed you twice, and both times were in the aftermath of Barny Boatman winning a bracelet, that’s great timing.

“I am a little bit jealous. I would have liked to have a little bit of gold on my wrist. But if I can’t win them, there is nobody I would rather win one than Barny. I posted a congratulations message on Facebook, and I was astounded by the feedback it received. I told him about it, and he wanted to see it – Barny isn’t a Facebook person. I had to take four screen shots to send them all to him.

“He is having more success now than he has ever had. He has come close in a few EPT’s; he came close to a second bracelet in the summer. Back in the Binion’s days, he made three WSOP final tables in a row, missed out on the fourth by finishing 10th.”

Why aren’t you still traveling around the international circuit?

“I did it for years. From about 2003 to 2010, maybe later, that’s what I did. Going back to the 90s – pre EPT’s – I lived in a suitcase traveling from event to event, playing poker 6-7 days per week, trying to win the buy-ins in cash games and then playing some tournaments.

“Then when we got some pretty big sponsorship deals in 2003, we played lots of EPT’s and WSOP events. My successes came on home turf. I won the Irish Open in 2003, I was the Great British Poker Tour champion in 2007, and I also won the Poker Million that year. I haven’t had the success that Barny has had at EPT and WSOP events; perhaps I’m not a good traveller. The reason I don’t do it so much now is I am involved in other business dealings, but I also have a young family and I want to be home. I did go to the WSOP this year, but that was the first time I had played poker abroad in 12-months.”

Talk about poker sponsorship.

Poker sponsorship isn’t what it was. I am very lucky. I have a deal with Grosvenor, and I have just signed a new deal with a nicotine company called Nicoccino. It’s a natural way to take nicotine without any of the unhealthy downsides. It’s one of the few products that gives you a nicotine high. It doesn’t stop me running around and playing tennis, so I get to keep my fitness and still get the buzz.

“To have secured that sponsorship deal outside of poker is such a rare feat. In the days when the big sponsorship deals were happening, and we were playing in all of those tournaments, there was a lot of money involved. It doesn’t take long to burn through a six figure sum. You also need to remember that you aren’t going to cash in the majority of them – we aren’t all Barny Boatman you know.”

You can always ride the wave like Barny.

“We call it the Roland De Wolfe factor. Just win everything in a very short space of time.”

You were the pioneers of the sponsorship model. I imagine you know what makes the sponsors tick?

“It’s good to have an understanding of what sponsors want, and it’s good to give value. I was reading an article from Max Pescatori on sponsorship. He said the sponsorship boom was a time when many people took the money without providing value. Max was saying he has always focused on providing value, and that’s why he has always found sponsors. The people who work the hardest like Max will do well out of it.”

How is the Betting Emporium doing?

“ is a business that Neil Channing and I have been running for two years. We have over 5,000 members, and we are constantly doing well. We are in the middle of the Rugby World Cup, and the NFL season is about to start. We have Australia without New Zealand at 5-1, so all they have to do now is beat Argentina.

“There is a lot of free stuff on the site. Richard Prew does a weekly column every Friday which is free and we have a free bet of the week on there. We are not just a tipping site. We analyze sporting events, and sports betting markets. We are looking for spots where we think there are profitable bets. We explain why we are making those bets. We are trying to provide education to make more profitable punters.”

What’s your view on the eSports gambling market?

“I have never been a gamer. I used to play Pacman and Space Invaders and that’s about that. I understand how big the market is, but it’s not something we are involved with at Betting Emporium because it’s impossible to get a bet on. If we wanted to get a bet for more than £20 we would have no chance. Even if we understood the markets, and tried to find the value, it’s no good if our punters can’t get money on.”

I see you have started

“It’s not a new site. I have recently revamped it and have begun to blog again. I have more to say than the number of characters I get on Twitter. People are asking why don’t I use Twitch, but I like to just sit down, write and get some points across. I have a lot of ideas. I wrote one about Devilfish and the Poker Hall of Fame and hopefully he will be their latest member. There is also a forum and a nice little community.”

Let’s talk a little bit about Devilfish getting into the Poker Hall of Fame. I wrote an article saying that sentiment played a role in my decision to vote for him, although he also ticked all the other boxes and got a little bit of a backslap for suggesting sentimentality should play a part.

“Padraig {Parkinson} tweeted, “I agree with Joe Beevers. Dave Ulliot shouldn’t get into the Poker Hall of Fame because of sentiment, as he would have said, ‘I’m fucking good enough now put me in.’

“Here’s a funny story for you. I remember when Late Night Poker was in its prime. Barny Boatman was in the checkout at Tescos. He was putting his food into his bag, and someone came up to him and said, “I know you, you’re the Devilfish!”

What are you most proud of in your life?

“My family. I was always the one when I was at University, that nobody thought would ever have a family. Sometimes now when I see my University friends, and I am with my little girls, they still can’t believe it. I am very happy; we do lots of things together, and life is good.”

What frustrations have you had in life?

“I have been really lucky throughout my life. I am the type of guy whose car breaks down in the middle of nowhere in the pouring rain. I would get out of the car, and a taxi would drive by with its lights on. I am the type of guy who has been so lucky at the way things have fallen in my life. It’s hard to dwell on anything that’s bad in my life. I would like to have had a bracelet and to have won Late Night Poker, but I can’t complain.”

What ceremony has moved you the most?

“It was when I got married. I got married in the Bellagio just after the 2005 WSOP on the balcony overlooking the lake. Someone once asked what was the nicest things anyone has ever said to you. I told them it was the words: “I Do.”

If you were unable to leave your children any material possessions when you kick the bucket, what advice would you give them instead?

“That’s the kind of question I would have liked via e-mail! I guess, just to be a good person. There are a lot of troubles in this world. If you can make someone’s life that little bit easier. If you can put a smile on someone’s face and be responsible for that, that’s good enough for me.”