Music and poker go hand in hand. Music helps people concentrate while they’re playing poker, but the game can also influence the tunes. Just think of “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead, one of the most famous songs about gambling of all time.
But why is this? What does poker have that makes it so appealing to musicians, especially metal ones? That’s something we will discuss a bit later, but for now, let’s focus on some of the biggest metal musicians who are big into poker.
Sully Erna – Godsmack
Sully Erna is a huge poker fan. This is hardly a secret. When the band went on a break in 2013, Erna used the spare time to compete in poker tournaments alongside his solo career.
In previous years, Erna had competed in the 2006 and 2007 World Series of Poker competitions, winning $17,730 and $45,422 respectively. He followed up these cases by winning $307,325 in the 2007 Five-Diamond World Poker Classic.
Erna has also showed off his power prowess in the VH1 Charity Celebrity Rock ‘n’ Roll Tournament in 2007.
Jerry Cantrell – Alice in Chains
Cantrell participated in a Rock Royalty evening on CBS Sports where both he and Scott Ian of Anthrax played against other celebrities in a game of high stakes poker.
This duo actually opened a bar together and named it Dead Man’s Hand – referring to the tale of a five-card stud hand held by “Wild Bill” Hickok when he was shot in the back of the head by Jack McCall on August 2, 1876 – designing the logo with a skeleton’s hand holding the dead man’s poker hand above a flaming ace of spades.
Steve Albini – Shellac
Albini is known for being an insane recording engineer skills, but he also has many skills as a guitarist for experimental band Shellac. He has had a big influence on the music industry, including the likes of Nirvana and Robert Plant.
Albini also very much enjoys poker. He finished in 12th place in the 2013 World Series of Poker Championship and has competed several other times, playing both no-limit hold ‘em and seven-card stud.
Scott Ian – Anthrax
As mentioned earlier, Scott Ian really likes his poker. He won VH1’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Celebrity Tournament in 2006, beating Ace Frehley of Kiss, Dusty Hill of ZZ Top, and Vinnie Paul of Pantera, all of whom are amazing players.
Ian took is seriously from here. In fact, Phill Hellmuth, a professional poker player, noticed his ability and offered to train him.
Lemmy Kilmister – Motorhead
The Motorhead frontman loved nothing more than playing poker during his heyday. You could easily find him playing at his favorite video poker machine at Rainbow Bar & Grill on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard. This spot has become a place for fans to pay their respects after he died in 2016.
Before he passed away, the bar owner decided to move the machine to Kilmister’s home so he could continue to play. It’s now back where it belongs and the seat next to it is permanently reserved for him.
Why Metal Musicians Love Poker
As shown, there are many musicians that love poker. But what about the game is so appealing to them?
Well, one of the main reasons behind their passion is that poker is both challenging and a source of entertainment. It’s a skill they can learn and eventually master while always picking up new plays to play as strategies evolve – similar when learning to play an instrument,
Just as there are various instruments to make up a band, there are multiple ways to play poker. As seen on OnlineCasinoGems, they can play online, at a casino or with friends to keep them interested too.
Further, just like metal music, poker is on the more aggressive side, matching the heavier tastes that metal musicians are drawn to.
Overall though, poker is just a way to have fun. Metal musicians can use it as a way to relax while they’re touring or while they’re at home resting. Particularly when they’re on the road, musicians have a lot of time to use while traveling between shows, so why not make it more entertaining with a game of poker? It keeps their mind active too, increasing blood flow to areas of the brain that can help them be better at their craft.
Metal musicians are there to entertain. After all, if they didn’t love entertaining, they wouldn’t be able to do what they do best. Therefore, it makes sense that poker appeals to this profession.
But what about the other way around? Why do poker players love metal music?
Why Poker Players Love Metal
Poker players love listening to music because it can help improve their mood, reduce stress and help them think more clearly. But there are some genres of music that help better than others – and many poker players prefer to listen to metal music.
According to Moshville Times, metal music can really help you get in the zone. The poker table is like a battlefield; you are playing against others that want to take your money as much as you want theirs. In a tournament, there’s even more at stake, so listening to metal music is great for boosting performance levels.
Listening to metal music can also help poker players to relieve stress from sources away from the table or the game itself. At first thought, you could think that metal music will put you on edge since it’ll pump you up, but it actually lowers your heart rate, helping you to relax. And when you’re feeling less stressed, you’re able to perform better.
Finally, metal music can help poker players to control any thoughts that could take their concentration away from the game. The upbeat nature of the genre will help to inspire players to think quicker with better focus.
Think of it like this: if the right music can athletes improve their performance while practicing and competing, then metal music should be able to help improve a poker player’s thought process.