Pedro Canali
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Joe Stapleton Interview: 'For Me Poker Is a Fun Saturday'

Comedian and EPTLive co-host @Joe Stapleton has a huge following of adoring fans and many tune into PokerStars live streams as much for the poker action as for Joe’s hilarious commentary. He talked to Pedro Canali about the industry and his own experience with poker.

What do you think is the main challenge for the industry right now?

We’ve got some real challenges right now. Just keeping people interested in the game I think is a challenge that’s always going to be with us. And mainstream sponsorship - that’s a big deal, and that’s what we want to do. Before I was doing commentary I was actually on the business side of poker a little bit. When Joe Cada was in the World Series in 2009, I was with his representation team and I called a hundred companies to try and find a mainstream sponsorship but none of them wanted to have anything to do with poker. So, we need to change people’s opinions. There is no reason why poker couldn’t be like anything else you watch on television, any other competition. I don’t necessarily see poker as a sport, but as a competition and there is certainly nothing wrong with this. So that’s what we need to get out there, I think.

Did you ever play before you started doing commentary?

I played a little bit; I was your perfect poker player, the hundred dollar a week depositor. Or maybe even a hundred dollars a day if I was having a punt week, but I never really took it that seriously, I don’t really like competition, so I prefer to be on the sidelines, to be watching; I’m a joke maker, I really just want to be the guy on the side making fun of the people who are actually trying hard to compete. I don’t want to try hard myself so I’ve never really taken it seriously. For me poker is a fun Saturday. It’s not a lifestyle and even if I could be a professional player, I wouldn’t want to do it.

Do you mean generally or just in your case?

No, just in my case. No, certainly, people can make a living at poker. I mean, we see people that do it every single day. I don’t think it’s as glamorous a living as people may once have thought. I think it is very much a job, like anything else, and something you have to work hard for and not ‘easy street’ by any means. But for people that want to work hard and use their brains for a living I absolutely think that you can make a living at it.

What do you think will change in the future of the industry - formats, buy-ins, strategy? How do you see the future?

I’m not a businessman and I’m not really an expert on these things; all I can say is what I as a recreational poker player would be more interested in. I don’t know if this is the right answer or not. So, I like smaller buy-ins; I like - let’s say the UKIPT, for example. I think it's a great tour, there’s a great atmosphere, and it's a fun tournament to play, not necessarily having to invest a whole lot of money in it. If it costs 5,000 pounds or euros to enter an EPT, for me that would be a huge score. If I won 5,000 pounds in a poker tournament that would be the biggest score of my entire life, so I’m not the kind of person that’s looking to enter major tournaments, To keep me interested in poker, it would take reasonable buy-ins and a great experience for not necessarily a huge risk. I just want to have fun.

What is the role of social media in poker? You’re using Twitter a lot, right?

I use Twitter a lot, yes. I think it’s different for me than for most poker players per se, because I consider myself a comedian and Twitter is a 24-hour-a-day audience for me. So, If I have a joke that I want to tell, I could tell it to the people who are in the room with me or I could tell it to X number of followers out in the world. And because I just crave the attention of strangers all the time, it’s there for me whenever I want it.

As far as it affects poker on the whole, I don’t think we know what effects social media are going to have in general over the long term for the world, let alone in poker. So I’m not really sure where it’s going to go. It’s been interesting, obviously, with players being able to get their own live updates; being able to interact and keep in touch with each other; I think that in poker you see on a smaller scale what is happening for the rest of the world - it's just a way to keep up with things; I don’t think there’s anything more to it at the moment.

What do you think about the RankingHero project and our mission to bring the industry together?

I think that you’ve got some really smart people working on the RankingHero project. Nicolas Levi specifically is a guy that I have a lot of respect for and I think that he has some very good ideas about what should happen within the industry. He has always come across as a very level-headed, very smart guy, so I have a lot of confidence in the sorts of ideas and plans that he is putting forward. I’m not super familiar with all the ins and outs of the site because I feel that it might be something that’s more appealing to poker players, to people who are living and breathing in that world. I know it would seem that I am that kind of person myself but for the most part, when I walk out of the building for the day, I don’t really think about poker. Poker is my job and I try to leave it behind. I’m probably not your core market.

Actually, as a comedian and social media user, I think it’s the perfect tool for you. You can link your social media accounts and you can post from RankingHero directly on Twitter and Facebook. You keep up with the news and talk to people like you do on Twitter, but with a 100% poker audience.

Maybe it is the better thing for me. Actually, since I want to appear as a mainstream comedian, I don’t tweet much about poker. I tweet mostly about other things. But if this is a way for me to speak to poker people directly without clogging up my timeline with poker stuff, maybe it’s something that I should look into some more.

"I really just want to be the guy on the side making fun of the people who are actually trying hard to compete."
I like it thanks

Interesting to get mindset of somebody who earns money (and i think a lot of money ) thanks to poker and who's not a poker pro. 


Very interesting interview. And the selection of pictures gives and idea of the kind of character Joe is 

JOE IS THE MAN  i once drunkenly msgd him an woke upto a msg back saying i love you 2 hahahah TRUE STORY