When Poker and Music Collides


Photo by pxhere / CC0 1.0

It's surprising how many musicians love poker

Musicians have been known for many things throughout time. From wrecking hotel rooms to indulging in the most bizarre hobbies, it seemed that not that long ago, anything went in the world of music. But did you know that not all musicians were born hell-raisers? Strange as it may seem, there are quite a few singers and songwriters that love nothing more than to host a home game with their friends. Donít believe us? Hereís the proof.

When Steve Albini won a WSOP tournament

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is something akin to the world cup of poker. Anyone with any aspirations of being a pro poker player wants nothing more than to win a WSOP event. So when Nirvanaís In Utero producer and former Big Black punk rocker entered a WSOP tournament, no one really expected him to go too far.

But Albini is a self-confessed poker fiend and to everyoneís surprise (except perhaps his own) he went right ahead and won the whole thing. For his efforts, the Shellac guitarist earned himself a cool $105,629 and the famous gold bracelet. Not bad for an amateur.

When the Eagles invented a game

Take it to the Limit, Desperado, Out of Control, and even Life in the Fast Lane are influenced by or contain references to the game that the band loved to play. So obsessed were the band with the game that they played non-stop during recording breaks and always had a game set up for after a show.

But it wasn't enough that The Eagles had several songs relating to poker, or that they played the game a lot. Singer Glenn Frey actually invented a version of the game and rather fittingly called it 'Eagle Poker'. In fact, the game was supposed to be used in the movie Almost Famous during the poker scene, but the director felt it wasnít screen friendly and so dropped it from the final cut.

When Jerry Cantrell opened a bar

Okay, so the fact that the Alice in Chains guitarist opened a bar isnít really big news. But when you realize that Cantrell is a massive poker fan and opened his bar in Vegas, the link makes more sense. Then when you hear the name of the bar - Dead Manís Hand - you canít deny the link.

Dead Manís Hand refers to the mythical poker hand Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he died. Cantrell has also appeared on quite a few poker TV shows and regularly enters events both in Vegas and elsewhere. Interestingly though, there seems to be no references to the game in any of his songs.

When Nelly entered the WSOP

Photo by USAG -Humphreys / CC BY 2.0

Nelly - great rapper, not so good at poker

As we mentioned earlier, the WSOP is where the big-time poker pros play. There are plenty of amateurs and celebrities who enter, but very few make it to the final table or play in the main event. There have, of course, been a few exceptions to the rule, such as 2003 winner Chris Moneymaker. Nelly, however, is no exception.

Despite his passion for the game and love for all things poker, Nelly just canít make it very far in the WSOP. He has entered several times - the first being back in 2007 - but he usually drops out on the first day. He plays and organizes charity events too, but these are just for fun. When it comes to serious poker, he just doesnít have what it takes. We love him for never giving up though. Something we can all aspire to.

When Dee Dozier ditched music for poker

Dee Dozier may not be all that famous for her music, but nevertheless, she is a talented songwriter and singer with a 2009 album to her name. Sheís also an accomplished model and has played several roles in Hollywood. But it was her love of cards that will no doubt finance her retirement.

Dozier picked up the game in her 20s and started to play properly when modeling for Target. She found she was quite good at the game and started entering tournaments. In no time she had won an event in Atlantic City and then found herself in the WSOP. She has a promising career ahead of her at the table and has already entered several events on the poker tour this year.

Honorable mentions go to Scott Ian of Anthrax, whose passion for poker is legendary, and Joni Mitchell, who loved the game so much that she often referred to it in her lyrics. But these are just the people that we know about. Who knows how many musicians arrange home games with their buddies on a Friday night. We can just imagine Beyonce dealing cards and stacking chips!