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Blink and you might miss him. Just kidding! Joe Stapleton is everywhere in poker these days. But his latest and greatest job is with Poker Night in America.

Stapleton, better known around the poker world as Stapes, is a unique personality in the business. He is naturally funny, and he brings that perfect comedic timing to everything from podcasts to live poker tournament coverage. His long passion for the game keeps him connected to the industry, and fans never fail to tune in for his commentary, though there is no doubt he knows his cards, too.


Signed, Sealed, and Stapled Agreement

The news that Stapleton joined PNIA came recently with a great deal of excitement from the Poker Night team.

It was a surprise to most because the American-born Stapleton had been living in the UK for the past few years to focus much of his energy on European Poker Tour productions. He was doing the EPT broadcasts from tour stops, as well as the EPT Not Live podcast and working closely with PokerStars on various projects.

That contract was up, however, and he was ready to move back to the United States. Stapleton explained it, “The decision to move back to the US was purely because I missed home. When the EPT asked me to the UK, they promised it would only be for a year or two, and they made good on that promise. I just missed so much about America. First of all, it was just way too hard to get shot over there. Secondly, I missed American food, stuff like burritos, pizza, and Chinese food. Now, if only we could do something about that immigration problem…”

PNIA and Stapleton began talks, and the contract was soon signed. They have already completed the first recording at the PNIA headquarters in Fargo for the poker television show. (For fans seeking the show, it airs on American CBS Sports Network channels, and many episodes can be found online as well.)

Stapleton is part of the commentating team with Chris Hanson, who is a staple (see what I did there?) on the show. Stapleton told Poker Update that the two already get along well, as Hanson gets along with everyone. “He’s been super chill about this whole thing,” said Stapleton. “He’s EXCITED about it. If I were in his shoes, I would be like, ‘Who the **** is this ****ing guy? Go back to Europe with your bidets and your baguettes and your 24-hour clocks!'”

What he likes most about the show is that it emphasizes the fun part of poker. “I think we take poker (and ourselves) too seriously sometimes, and the show does neither. I hope I can just be the cherry on top. Barring that, I’m really good at giving backrubs around the office.”

He also believes the light-hearted tone of PNIA will make the transition to the show easier. “Because it’s a cash game, there will be less analysis expected of me,” he noted. “I will say that the censors at CBS Sports are a little more skittish than the ones in Britain, so the part where I turn into a complete child when one of my jokes gets cut might be a little more challenging and result with me spending a lot more time sitting in the corner.”

Keeping All of the Pages Together

When asked if Stapleton would still be working with PokerStars, he was confident in his answer: “Yes, absolutely. I’m still doing all the EPT live streams, the EPT Not Live podcast, the EPT TV shows, and I occasionally show David Baazov (Amaya CEO) how to clear out his spam box. My role at PokerStars has not been reduced at all. WHY??? WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD?”


In addition to the PokerStars work that he’s probably still doing, he maintains a heavy social media presence – @Stapes on Twitter and Vine, @JoeyStapes on Snapchat, @instastapes on Instagram, and a Facebook fan page – and two YouTube channels.

And if that wasn’t enough, he added, “I’m also trying to do standup comedy as I can in the cities I go to. I’m not terrible at it, but I’m no pro yet, either.”

joe stapleton

Credit: Global Poker Index

He may also be working more with the Global Poker Index and the Global Poker League. For those who watched the inaugural GPL Draft Day on Twitch, Stapleton held down the commentary table with GPI’s Eric Danis and analysts Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth. He also conducted some hard-hitting and in-depth interviews during the evening at the American Poker Awards.


Look around in poker, and you can’t miss Joe Stapleton. And from here on out, I’ll leave the jokes to him.

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.