Meet the Poker Mob

Meet the Poker Mob

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Barny Boatman and Joe Beevers in chat.

Back in the Nineties, a motley group of North London lads spent all their time travelling, drinking, and playing cards. Little did they know that poker was just teetering on the cusp of a meteoric explosion, and they’d be smack-bang in the middle of its red-hot epicentre. Two decades later, and they’re still getting up to no good. I sit down for a chat with Barny Boatman and Joe Beevers about their newest idea – the Poker Mob.

In 2000, Victoria Coren published a piece in the Evening Standard about a glamorously eccentric rabble of poker players hailing from North London. She gave a dry account of their topsy-turvy lifestyle, and jokingly bestowed nicknames upon each of the four: Ross ‘the Glamour’ Boatman, his fun-loving brother Barny ‘the Humour’ Boatman, Ram ‘the Looks’ Vaswani, and Joe ‘the Elegance’ Beevers.

The only nickname that stuck was Joe’s, who quickly became painted as the debonair one of the group. I ask if anyone still calls him the Elegance. “Only when they’re taking the mickey!” he grumbles good-naturedly.

Barny is the likeable joker, who even well into his fifties retains a mischievous twinkle – during conversation, we hear the distant wail of a police siren, and Barny is momentarily distracted. “I hope they’re not after me,” he quips. Last June, Barny finally got his hands on a long-overdue WSOP bracelet after he won the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, and such an outpouring of support and congratulations has probably never been seen before in the poker community – testament to the fact that it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bloke.

The guys are still very much in the game even after all these years, and now Joe, Barny and Ross have a new venture on the horizon – the Poker Mob, a new website and online poker league that could very well be their next big success.


Online Adventures

When the lads first started playing, it was well before online poker even existed. “There didn’t used to be an internet when we started playing!” remembers Barny. “It was all run on gas and bits of string.”

By the end of the millennium, the first companies had begun tentatively pushing the idea of online poker, but many people scoffed at it as something that would never catch on – after all, how could you trust a game of poker where you can’t see the players?

However, Joe saw things differently. “I remember being in the Isle of Man in 2000 playing in the Poker Million, and having a conversation with Victoria Coren,” he recalls. “I said, ‘You know this online poker thing? It’s gonna be huge.’” Coren later quotes Joe in her book as the one person who knew what was going to happen, amongst a crowd of naysayers.

Joe and the others may have believed in the potential of online poker, but getting the corporate world to share their faith was another matter entirely. He tells me how he sent letters to 40 companies for sponsorship, all of which were variously associated with gambling, leisure, or travel. All would have been ideally placed to sponsor an online poker site, yet the vast majority of the companies ignored the letter. Approximately eight replied politely declining, while Red Bull were interested but expressed their regret that they were focusing on something else (still enclosing two free crates of energy drinks to soften the blow). “The funny thing is,” muses Joe, “something like 12 of these 40 companies we wrote to now have their own online poker room!”

Late Night Living

They’ve had a long career, but most people will recognize the gang from the moment when they first hit the spotlight appearing in a revolutionary new poker show. The show was called Late Night Poker, and pioneered the use of hole-card cameras, among many other things.

The creation of Late Night Poker wasn’t all plain sailing, though. Joe recalls having a chance drink with the show’s producer while in Vienna for a poker festival. “He said, ‘I’m having trouble getting people to play on it!’ We asked why, and he explained to us that people kept saying to him that they didn’t want other people to see how they play, or they won’t win any more. We said, ‘that’s ridiculous – we’ll all play it.’”

And play it they did. Appearing at the tables in sharp suits through a haze of expensive cigar smoke, the gang could be seen playing jaw-dropping pots against some of the biggest poker stars around. The viewers at home were fascinated, and its popularity exploded - unbelievably, it pulled in a million-strong audience, despite being broadcast at 12.30am on a Friday night.

The boys harnessed their new role as poker personalities, founding at the turn of the millennium. While originally the site was intended to be centered around them as players, the database function grew exponentially.

“What happened, over the years, is that it became the number one poker website in the UK.” says Joe. “It became the best results and events database around, and the number one database of poker players in the world. In the end, the Hendon Mob website was more about the database than it was about us. It was kind of forgotten that the Hendon Mob was just four guys from North London.”

Eventually, in the summer of 2013, the website was sold to Alex Dreyfus of the GPI for an undisclosed sum. “At the end of the day, we’re poker players, not businessmen. The timing of Alex Dreyfus buying the Hendon Mob was perfect for us, because it enabled us to get back to what we are – being poker players.”


The Poker Mob

So, how are they going about getting back to their roots? Well, Joe, Barny and Ross have come up with a brand new idea – the Poker Mob. This will include a website which will be set up with a forum; but perhaps the biggest attraction will be the attached league, which will run a weekly £10+£1 tournament every Tuesday night at 8pm on

“What we’re going to do now with PokerMob is a far more local project,” says Barny. “We’re trying to get back to what made the game fun for us, before we ever had a database and all of those things.”

The first league will run for eight weeks beginning on April 1st (with the play-off final on May 27th), but as Joe explains, the group already have bold plans for something bigger and better. “When our first league finishes, after the World Series, we’ll start another league which will be much longer, probably around 3-4 months – or maybe even longer still. We’ll find out what works, and what people want more of.”

As it stands, they certainly shouldn’t struggle to attract players – Grosvenor are adding plenty of value, giving away two GUKPT packages worth £750 to the winner of the league and the winner of the play-off final, as well as tons of other goodies to sweeten the mix. Joe, Barny and Ross will even play as bounties in each tournament. “Catch us if you can!” cackles Barny. “We’re going to be playing in it and chatting with people, and just generally trying to make it a fun experience. Poker has always been for us a very social thing.”

Making online poker a social experience is something that many have tried and failed to do, but if there’s anyone who can do it, it’s these guys. “I’ve got a hell of a lot of friends in poker,” says Barny. “I’ve had a great time doing it. In some ways, poker is a very individual pursuit – there’s no teamwork in poker. You’re out for yourself, and you’re out to win everybody’s money. At the same time, you do form these friendships with people you like and trust. I think a lot of people have people that they’re close to in the game, and hopefully the Poker Mob can be a part of that.”


Young Guns

If you’re going to make friends in poker, then how you conduct yourself at the tables is paramount. The boys have always had firm views on poker etiquette, but what do they think about people calling them ambassadors for poker? “I guess we are ambassadors, but I think we’re very English about it!” smiles Joe. “We tend to be a bit more reserved and generally respectful. I don’t really appreciate the jumping up and down, and the screaming for your ‘one time’. If I lose a pot I say ‘nice hand’, and if I win then I just stack my chips. It’s the way that we were brought up, but poker’s kind of changed a bit.”

We discuss the perpetual poker stereotype of the young ‘internet kid’ vs. a member of the ‘old guard’, but Barny is reluctant to condone such sweeping distinctions. “I think to some extent that’s a false dichotomy.”

“Personally, I love it when I sit at a table, and there are some young dudes talking about how they’re playing the hand and what’s going on, and talking about you as if you’re not there and you can’t hear them. I need every edge I can get, and if people are going to sit there and tell me literally how they’re thinking, that’s quite handy! Aside from experience, the one edge that older players is that they always get underestimated. Never underestimate people in this game.”

Dare to underestimate the Poker Mob? Do so at your peril.

Visit for more information (or see the league schedule over the page).

The Poker Mob League

Fancy pitting your skills against the Poker Mob? Get stuck in by joining Joe Beevers, Ross and Barny Boatman on every Tuesday night at 8pm. The more you play, the more leader board points you’ll earn, and there are some pretty great prizes up for grabs too – the player at the top at the end of the league will scoop a £750 GUKPT package to the event of their choice, not to mention there are various other goodies to be won.

At a £10+£1 buy-in, it’s not going to break the bank, but there is definitely a lot of value to be had – and if you knock out Joe, Ross or Barny, then you’ll get your buy-in back. We’ll see you at the tables!

Tournament Calendar

April 2014

Week 1 – April 1st: £10 + £1 NLH

Week 2 – April 8th: £10 + £1 NLH (double stack)

Week 3 – April 15th: £10 + £1 PLH

Week 4 – April 27th: £10 + £1 PLO

Week 5 – April 29th: £10 + £1 NLH (6 handed)

May 2014

Week 6 – May 6th: £10 + £1 NLH

Week 7 – May 13th: £10 + £1 PLO (hi-lo)

Week 8 – May 20th: £10 + £1 NLH (double stack)

Play-Off – May 27th: NLH double stack

25/25 Series

£250 Buy in 25,000 chips / £25k Guarantee

Those who prefer a slightly smaller buy-in can opt to play in one of the £220 25/25 Series events, which offer all the perks of a huge guarantee tournament at a local level. The name conveys the simple yet attractive gimmick that has so far gone down a storm – you start with 25,000 chips, and there is an unconditional £25k guarantee. There will be 64 events taking place in Grosvenor casinos across the UK in Scotland, the North-West, the South Coast, Yorkshire and the South-East, so look out for one near you.

Scotland 2014:

Aberdeen: 16 - 18 May

Northwest 2014:

New Brighton: 25 - 27 April

South Coast 2014:

Bournemouth: 23 - 25 May

Yorkshire 2014:

Leeds Merrion: 9 - 11 May

Midlands 2014:

Leicester: 11 - 13 April

Nottingham: 23 - 25 May

Greater London 2014:

Reading: 25 - 27 April

Qualify online for as little as £3 at

Tags: The Poker Mob, Victoria Coren, Ross Boatman, Ram Vaswani, Joe Beevers, Barny Boatman, Grosvenor, The Hendon Mob