PokerStars’ James Hartigan on the power of ch-ch-changes

Commentator and PokerStars ambassador James Hartigan
Sarah Herring
Posted on: March 11, 2024 02:37 PDT

Along with his long-time co-host Joe 'Stapes' Stapleton, James Hartigan has been a mainstay in the booth at PokerStars Live events since the very early days. The duo previously won a Global Poker Award for their podcast Poker In The Ears (PITE), while their work on the European Poker Tour was recognized last month with the GPA Fan's Choice award for Best Live Stream.

With so much going right, some fans were alarmed in January when Hartigan posted a cryptic message hinting, not-so-subtly, at changes afoot.

There was no need to panic: Hartigan will remain at the helm of both the podcast and the PokerStars Live streams, but will be enjoying some greater freedom as he ends his corporate role at PokerStars and focuses on work as an ambassador for the global poker giant.

It turns out he just can’t resist any opportunity to quote a David Bowie song (luckily, we at PokerOrg don’t have that problem).

Hartigan opened up about his recent news in a chat with PokerOrg’s Sarah Herring.

Up close and personal with poker's starman

Watch the full interview above for more on Hartigan's new role as an ambassador, as well as some great insider takes from his years in poker broadcasting, including…

Sound and vision

Hartigan shares the ‘origin story’ of how he became involved with PokerStars Live broadcasts, from his first experience of the EPT as a player in season one through to his part in the hundred-strong production team that brings the action to life on-screen.

He also spills the beans on the upcoming 300th episode of PITE, recorded live at the London Hippodrome in front of a select audience, and how the podcast has turned a critical eye on some of the very worst poker scenes in movies and TV shows.


EPT Paris saw Englishman Barny Boatman become the oldest EPT winner so far, finally grabbing the spotlight he deserves and inspiring an outpouring of love from across the poker world. Hartigan reveals how his relationship with Boatman predates the EPT, with the two once sharing a table in Hartigan’s home game.

EPT Paris winner Barny Boatman interviewed by James Hartigan 2024


Hartigan shares a tale of a first date during a break in play at last summer’s WSOP Main Event, when his own face unexpectedly appeared on the bar’s TV screen for a serendipitous, if (allegedly) unplanned, Ron Burgundy moment.

He didn’t make the money in the ME, but reveals how he came away with something much more valuable. And as he is no longer a card-carrying member of PokerStars staff, we can expect to see more of him at the tables in live events, as well as streaming some online tournament play.

The next event to be covered by Hartigan, Stapes and the PokerStars Live crew will be the Irish Open, while the live 300th episode of PITE will be recorded this week and dropping soon.

We’re happy to know that, despite the changes in Hartigan’s life and career, he’ll still be behind the mic at both of the above events. And with the EPT celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer in Barcelona, we’re looking forward to many more golden years in his company.

Poker commentators Joe Stapleton and James Hartigan

'Poker In The Ears' can be found wherever you get your podcasts.

Images courtesy of PokerStars Live/Danny Maxwell