Meet the Final Table of the 2024 EPT Paris Main Event

Meet the Final Table of the 2024 EPT Paris Main Event

The best televised (and livestreamed) poker is driven by narratives and hands that will go down in infamy, and the 2024 EPT Paris has had both of those elements on lockdown. After a Day 5 in which David Kaufmann wriggled out of a devastating set over set cooler when Ami Barer made a painful (and ultimately devastatingly incorrect) hero fold, Kaufmann ran away with the chip lead and set himself up with every chance to win his first major title.

But his five remaining competitors carry experience and narrative to spare. Aleksej Ponakovs, the closest to Kaufmann in the chip counts, is a regular in Triton events and other high rollers with two career World Series of Poker bracelets to his credit. Barny Boatman, the 68-year-old English veteran with two WSOP bracelets of his own, is sitting just behind in third place as he looks to improve on a career-best fourth-place finish on the EPT.

Three short stacks round out the counts. There’s 31-year-old English high-stakes cash game player Owen Dodd, who only started playing tournaments seriously six months ago, in fourth. Then comes arguably the most decorated player at this final table, Eric Afriat, who is one of only seven players in history to win at least three WPT Main Tour titles. And finally, bringing up the back of the pack is Peter Jorgne, who final tabled this very tournament one year ago and finished as the runner-up.

These six players are all that remain from a starting field of 1,747, and the payouts from here on out are considerable regardless of finish. The attention is rightfully on the top payout of 1,287,800 ($1,395,524), but here’s how each of the final six spots pays out.

Play resumes at 12:30 p.m. local time in Paris (6:30 a.m. ET, 3:30 a.m. PT), with the action airing on a 30-minute delay on all of PokerStars’ streaming channels. Blinds will start at 125,000/250,000 with a 250,000 big blind ante.

Ahead of Sunday’s finale at the Le Palais des Congres de Paris, let’s get to know each of these final six players a little more.

David Kaufmann 24,800,000 (99 BB)

Age: 33 Home Country: Germany Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $92,025 Biggest Lifetime Cash: $24,345, 41st, 2013 EPT Barcelona Main Event Other Prominent Scores: 61st, 2023 EPT Cyprus Main Event for $16,250

David Kaufmann’s live results may not look particularly impressive, especially compared to the millions of dollars won by some of his remaining EPT Paris opponents. But with the exception of Aleksejs Ponakovs, Kaufmann has the second-largest career poker result of anyone in the field. That’s courtesy of Kaufmann’s win in the 2013 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker, as reported by Howard Swains of the PokerStars Blog, in which Kaufmann banked $1,493,499.

Kaufmann’s previous best in a major live event came back in that same year, when he finished 41st in Barcelona. He’s already well outpaced that result, and with 2.5 times as many chips as Ponakovs, his closest competitor in the chip counts, Kaufmann has the inside track to close this tournament out on Sunday afternoon.

The wildest part of that equation is that Kaufmann nearly saw his stack cratered as he and fellow big stack Ami Barer tangled in a pot neither was looking for with multiple short stacks on the verge of blinding out.

Kaufmann’s timely river bet won him that massive pot, and then pocket aces allowed him to take the rest of Barer’s chips on the final hand of Day 5 to secure his massive chip lead.

End of Day Chip Counts:

Day 1: 186,000 (34/555) Day 2: 700,000 (4/217) Day 3: 1,645,000 (6/57) Day 4: 3,210,000 (6/18)

Aleksejs Ponakovs 10,050,000 (40 BB)

Age: 32 __Home Country:__Latvia Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $14,624,954 Biggest Lifetime Cash: 4th, 2023 Triton Poker Super High Roller London Luxon Invitational for $2,540,000 Other Prominent Scores: 1st, 2022 WSOP $100,000 High Roller for $1,897,363; 6th, 2022 Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Cyprus Coin Rivet Invitational for $1,350,000; 1st, 2021 WSOP Online Lucky 7s High Roller for $432,491

Aleksejs Ponakovs is no stranger to playing for massive amounts of money in a high-pressure tournament environment, regularly putting up $100,000, $200,000, and even $250,000 buy-ins on the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series. Ponakovs’ two biggest outright victories came on American soil, where he took down the 2022 $100,000 High Roller at the WSOP and a $25,000 High Roller during the 2023 WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open festival.

Ponakovs spent long stretches of this EPT Paris Main Event among the shorter stacks, including a moment early on Day 5 when he lost a coin flip to Kaufmann for almost all of his chips. But a near-quadruple up shortly thereafter started what would be a steady climb for Ponakovs through the rest of the action on Saturday.

End of Day Chip Counts:

Day 1: 48,500 (396/555) Day 2: 404,000 (28/217) Day 3: 975,000 (25/57) Day 4: 1,655,000 (14/18)

Barny Boatman 9,675,000 (39 BB)

Age: 68 Home Country: United Kingdom Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $4,090,556 Biggest Lifetime Cash: $546,080, 1st, 2013 WSOP $1,500 No Limit Holdem Other Prominent Scores: 4th, 2011 EPT San Remo Main Event for $310,212; 3rd, 2015 WSOP $1,500 No Limit Holdem Extended Play for $204,464; 7th, 2022 WSOP Europe Main Event for $185,866; 1st, 2015 WSOP Europe 550 Pot Limit Omaha for $62,467

When the action combined to a single table, there were big pots flying and coolers abound. But Barny Boatman managed to navigate limited opportunities and spots throughout the night with creativity, ultimately giving himself a stellar shot at a long-chased EPT title. One of the first breakout names of English poker and one of four players known as The Hendon Mob (which ultimately became synonymous with the poker database of the same name), Boatman has achieved success on every stage he’s played on.

Boatman’s rise to the top began late on Day 4 at EPT Paris, when he managed to pick off a bluff from Eric Afriat that thrust him into the chip lead.

Barny Boatman?

More like Barny Goatman!

This incredible play means Barny takes the chip lead into Day 5, and yes he's at the feature table.

Action resumes at 12:30 CET, watch at or

— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) February 24, 2024

With the size of the field, Boatman’s already locked up his biggest career cash on the EPT, and with a few more pay jumps he’d secure both his best positional finish and live tournament cash. But with the finish line in sight, he’ll be looking to secure a third career major title.

End of Day Chip Counts:

Day 1: 85,000 (252/555) Day 2: 510,000 (13/217) Day 3: 635,000 (38/57) Day 4: 7,620,000 (1/18)

Owen Dodd 2,950,000 (12 BB)

__Age:__31 Home Country: United Kingdom Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $21,832 Biggest Lifetime Cash: $11,286, 6th, 2023 Aria Poker Classic $600 No Limit Holdem

If there’s an outsider among this final six, it would have to be Owen Dodd. He has only seven recorded live tournament results, scattered between EPT Barcelona 2022, a trip to Las Vegas in 2023, and a handful of results close to home in England. The biggest live tournament he ever cashed featured a buy-in of just over $1,000, and his biggest cash came in a $600 buy-in tournament at the Aria.

But Dodd more than held his own in a field of tough challengers, especially when it got down to a stacked final table. His experience playing in livestreamed high-stakes cash games has allowed Dodd to afford himself well in these circumstances, and his biggest career tournament result can only get bigger from here.

End of Day Chip Counts:

Day 1: 98,000 (203/555) Day 2: 268,000 (85/217) Day 3: 890,000 (26/57) ay 4: 4,310,000 (4/18)

Eric Afriat 2,525,000 (10 BB)

Age: 54 Home Country: Canada Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $4,672,435 Biggest Lifetime Cash: $1,081,184, 1st, 2014 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown Main Event Other Prominent Scores: 1st, 2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship for $651,928; 2nd, 2019 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $465,120; 1st, 2020 WPT Fallsview Main Event for $383,539

Only seven players in the history of the World Poker Tour can claim at least three Main Tour wins, and Eric Afriat can count himself among that elite class. After notching his first WPT win in 2014, Afriat added WPT titles in 2018 and 2020 and nearly managed to match Darren Elias in the process, falling one spot shy with a runner-up in 2019.

This will be only the third cash of Afriat’s career in Europe, following a 110 buy-in tournament in Rozvadov in 2018 and a small cash during a prelim event during this EPT Paris festival. While he’ll start Sunday’s action with just over 10 big blinds, a comeback would allow Afriat to join another rarified group of players with both a WPT and an EPT title to their name.

End of Day Chip Counts:

Day 1: 108,000 (169/555) Day 2: 510,000 (14/217) Day 3: 2,300,000 (2/217) Day 4: 1,225,000 (15/18)

Peter Jorgne 2,400,000 (10 BB)

Age: 51 Home Country: Sweden Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $887,057 Biggest Lifetime Cash: $833,645, 2nd, 2023 EPT Paris Main Event Other Prominent Scores: 7th, 2023 EPT Cyprus $2,100 Six Max No Limit Holdem for $13,400

In 2023, Peter Jorgne made an incredible run in the inaugural edition of EPT Paris. Despite never having recorded a live cash of even five figures prior to that event, Jorgne banked $833,645 for his runner-up finish. One year later, Jorgne will sit on that same stage with another significant payday on the way.

To this point, Jorgne’s 2023 result in Paris represents 94% of his total career live earnings. Even if he doesn’t manage to ladder up on Sunday, he’ll cross the $1 million mark with ease. According to Jack Stanton, Jorgne is only the eighth player in the history of the EPT to make back-to-back final tables in the same event in consecutive seasons. He’ll look to become only the second (along with Mike McDonald) to make one of those results a win.

End of Day Chip Counts:

Day 1: 286,000 (7/555) Day 2: 353,000 (51/217) Day 3: 1,475,000 (9/57) Day 4: 2,320,000 (9/18)

All stats and career data courtesy of The Hendon Mob.

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