Top 5 Albums to Play Poker To

Created By: Sean Lind
17 July 2008
Posted in: The Poker Reporter Blog, PokerListed
Phil Ivey

Music is the secret weapon of the poker player. Since I like you readers, but mostly because I'm getting paid to do it, I'm going to share with you my own secret weapons.

Each style of music, or specific album, works best with a specific style of play. When you want to change gears, change albums.

Here is my list of my personal Top 5 albums to rattle your brain with while at the table.

5) Ratatat - Classics

Genre: Alternative/Rock/Beats

Poker style: Relaxed, Tight, Conservative

Recommended track for maximum poker earnings: "Loud Pipes"

If you don't know them, Ratatat makes instrumental rock/beats. It's highly entertaining, while the lack of vocals allows it to be quality background music, limiting distraction.

There are two bands I use for background music, Ratatat being one of them. For more passionate, vocal-free music you can also check out Explosions in the Sky.

4) Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West

Genre: Alternative

Poker style: Moderately Active, Aggressive, Tight

Recommended track for maximum poker earnings: "Polar Opposites"

Most of you will be familiar with this band's later works, as they actually got some mainstream radio play. Although their new stuff is good, it's not close to being as powerful and enjoyable as their breakthrough 1997 indie rock classic, The Lonesome Crowded West.

This album is more punky than their later works, but more alternative and creative than say earlier EPs like The Fruit That Ate Itself. This album is best served whole with an ample amount of volume. Enjoy the raw guitar with the unique voice of Isaac Brock as you rake in the pots.

3) Wilderness Crew - S/T

Genre: Hip Hop/Funk

Poker style: Active, Aggressive, Strong, Solid

Recommended track for maximum poker earnings: "The Push"

Here's your chance to get on board with a band before they blow up (and they will). If you're looking for super chill, fun, upbeat, summer music, you really have to look no further than the still almost-unknown Wilderness Crew.

This is my go-to album for poker. I almost always start my sessions with this album and frequently end them on it as well.

Give it a listen, you won't be disappointed.

2) Rage Against the Machine - S/T

Genre: Rock

Poker style: Aggressive to Hyper-Aggressive/Nutbar

Recommended track for maximum poker earnings: "Take the Power Back"

Good poker players know that it's imperative they change gears. RATM is the go-to album for when you need to kick it into high gear and play some Full Tilt Poker. It has pure RTFO energy but keeps you in the 4/4 groove.

1) Van Morrison - Astral Weeks

Genre: Soul

Poker style: Calm, Tight, ABC, Patient

Recommended track for maximum poker earnings: "Sweet Thing"

This is a masterpiece of an album. If you haven't listened to it, I recommend you do so. If you don't want to take my word for it, check out possibly the sickest review of an album ever written.

This brilliant essay was written by the greatest rock journalist of all time, Lester Bangs (You might remember Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of Bangs in the movie Almost Famous).

This album is a sedative for your soul. When you need to focus, keep grounded, and play smart, tight, ABC poker, this album is a great choice.

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Oli 2009-03-02 19:55:00

Sean you've got this pretty much bang on, Classics and The Lonesome Crowded West are two of my favourite albums ever! Add some Bob Marley and its win.

Sean Lind 2008-12-16 19:01:00

You're welcome. If you like laid back/funky instramental, you can also give: Mr.Scruff and Kid Koala a listen.

And if you like hip-hop, Ratatat did a bunch of good remixes, worth checking out.

Jared 2008-12-14 21:12:00

Ratatat is sweeet! Thanks Sean!

Sean Lind 2008-09-03 17:07:00

5 - instrumental only, mostly break style beats
4 - Punky Alt rock, Pixies Inspired
3 - Upbeat surfer infused Hip Hop
2 - Rock/hiphop
1 - Soul/Blues

So basically, you didn't read or listen to any of the albums listed?

You first mention "feel good" music, and in the same sentence mention the Grateful Dead. Doesn't their band name clue you in on that paradox? Yes? Kansas?

Allman I'll give you, but if you're going to mention bands from the 70 exclusively, how do you put Yes ahead of The Dire Straights? What about Costello? The Modern Lovers?

There's heaps of good music out there, I was sticking to mostly newer stuff, either way before you insult me you should first read the article, maybe listen to the music. Click on the link to Wilderness Crew and tell me that's "self loathing depressing alternative"

In fact the only band that could maybe come close to that description is Modest Mouse, who's album listed is heavily Pixies inspired, alt punk.

Rodney 2008-09-03 05:43:00

Alternative crap give me a break absolutely NOT feel good winning poker music try some Grateful Dead or Allman Brothers, maybe some Yes, ELP Kansas but self loathing depressing alternative please. My guess is your mainly a hold;em player one dimensional like your music