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Poker Powerhouse: Women Winning in the Poker World

05 FEBRUARY 2024

8G2A9827 PCA2015 Francine Watson Neil Stoddart

Imagine a young, green commentator thrown into the fire of the World Cup of Poker. Now, picture his producer – seemingly stoic, navigating her very first voiceover session. Awkward, right? That's how James Hartigan, poker veteran and commentator, remembers his first encounter with Francine.

"Little did I know," Hartigan chuckles, "that initial awkwardness would blossom into a beautiful friendship and a hugely successful working relationship.

But Francine's journey wasn't just about overcoming first-job jitters. It was about passion igniting in the unlikeliest of places. Back in 2004, amidst a sea of TV producers unfamiliar with the intricacies of Hold'em, Francine, one of the only current PokerStars employees to witness the very first EPT in Barcelona, found herself captivated. She saw poker not just as a high-stakes competition, but as an accessible game for everyone, radiating fun and excitement.

And that passion fueled her rise. From Production Manager to Executive Producer, she climbed the ranks, eventually landing her current role as Associate Director of Creative & Content. But Francine's impact goes far beyond titles.

Remember the thrill of watching the European Poker Tour unfold online for the first time? That was Francine's vision translated into reality. She pioneered live poker streaming back in 2007, bringing the game to life for audiences worldwide. Her expertise even crossed the Atlantic, leading the launch of the original NAPT in the US and shaping ESPN's live coverage of the prestigious 2010 World Series of Poker.

But Francine isn't one to rest on her laurels. She's a relentless innovator, breathing new life into classic formats like "The Big Game on Tour" and introducing fresh concepts like "Shark Cage." This dedication to excellence is evident in the hundreds of TV shows and thousands of live streaming hours she's overseen at PokerStars.


So, why is Francine a deserving nominee for the Global Poker Index awards? Because she's more than just a producer. She's the visionary at the heart of PokerStars' content, setting the gold standard for the entire industry. She's passionate about showcasing poker's best face to the world, and her commitment to growing the game is unwavering.This glimpse into Francine's journey is just the beginning. From those early, nervous voiceovers to her current position as an industry leader, her impact is undeniable. Join us in congratulating Francine and wishing her all the best at the GPI awards! 

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