Rad How-To: Play Poker with Your Rock Band Guitar

The thought came to me sort of like this: I'm lazy, and I like the idea of playing poker while sitting on my couch watching TV.

Originally, I developed a system to play poker online using voice-control software, but this isn't very useful if you want to chat with your roommates or eat a BLT while you play.

The next logical step would be using the wireless poker controller, but I just don't like the idea of paying for something I can build myself for free.

The Rock Band (and Guitar Hero) instruments are, basically, wireless controllers. You hit a button on the guitar and it sends that button-press to its little receiver hanging from your Playstation's USB port.

I saw no reason why I shouldn't be able to plug the instrument into my computer and use it as my very own wireless poker controller. And besides, playing poker by using a guitar … that's just rad.

Note: The following how-to was done using a 2nd-generation Rock Band guitar for PS3. Although Guitar Hero instruments and versions for other consoles should work the same, I haven't tested them.

And, as always, follow what you read below at your own risk. I'm not taking the heat for your controller crapping out and costing you a $500 pot.

How to Set-Up Online Poker w/ Rock Band Guitar

Setting up your guitar (or drums) as your wireless poker controller isn't all that hard. You can do it in three simple steps, and if you're not all that adept with computers, don't worry.

Step 1

Plug the guitar receiver into your computer. Your computer should automatically install the guitar, and it will even show up as a game controller (you can find a link to see those in your control panel).

You might have to hit the sync buttons. Also: make sure the guitar is turned on.

Step 2

You now have your guitar working as a game controller. Basically, this means the guitar will send commands to your computer.

You need your computer to translate these commands into keystrokes, and then make those keystrokes execute specific commands in your poker software.

First, download and install programm "windyhilltech".

This program allows you to control your Full Tilt or PokerStars game windows using only your keyboard. You need to set this software up to have all the commands you're going to need.

You can browse through all the tabs yourself, or follow my chart below setting each command listed to exactly what I've written. Unless you know what you're doing, don't change any settings other than what I have listed in the chart below

TabCommandSettingKey or Mouse Code
Fixed BetBet PotF5
Fixed BetAll-in (or max allowed bet)F4
Actions 1Click Left ButtonEnable the key is optionalF1
Actions 1Click Middle ButtonEnable the key is optionalF2
Actions 1Click Right ButtonF3
Actions 2Click Time on Active TableF6

That's it; you've just set up your commands for poker. Move on to Step 3

You can tweak the settings by looking through the other tabs. For example, the Inc/Dec Bet tab will allow you to change the amount you can increase your raise increments by.

I prefer to use BB as my setting next to the WheelUp and WheelDown codes.

Step 3

Now that you have your poker windows controlled by the keyboard, you need to bind the guitar buttons to the specific keyboard functions.

Although you can use any program that will bind game controllers to keyboard keys, I've used Xpadder. You can get it here: http://xpadder.com/

Once you have Xpadder, you need to set it up. Follow the on-screen instructions initially until you get to the tabbed setup screen.

You want to click on the buttons tab. Press the neck buttons on the guitar one at a time. Each time you press a button it should show up as a box in the pink screen.

Make sure to click and drag the boxes into the order you see them in on the guitar (buttons 1 and 4 will be swapped unless you manually move them).

You should have five squares on the screen. Now tilt the guitar up until a sixth square shows up. Drag that square up above the six squares. 

Xpadder button configuration.

Click on the DPad tab. Set "up" to the strummer going up, set "right" to the whammy bar and set "down" to the strummer going down. You don't need to set left to anything at all.

Now click on finish and close. You should see six boxes and one big DPad plus sign on the screen. You want to click on each box and bind it to the proper F command.

Set them up identical to how you see them in the picture, then save your settings.

This sets:

Green to the left (check/fold) button, Red to the middle (call) button, Yellow to lower bet amount, Blue to increase bet amount and Orange to bet pot.

Moving your guitar into the Star Power position will hit F4, moving you all in. The strummer will act as your right (raise) button, regardless of the direction plucked.

And finally, the whammy bar acts as your Time Bank.

Now you're set. Make sure you have Xpadder and Poker Shortcuts running, open your Full Tilt or PokerStars client and log on to a table.

Note: For the software to work properly, you need to have the poker table active and the mouse hovering over the top of the table, but not over the chat box.

Now throw the strap over your head and play some power-chord poker.

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All Poker News
2012-06-21 16:50:01

Appreciate this post. Will try it out.

Sean Lind
2009-12-22 19:43:58

Thanks Vin.

I’m not a huge fan of people dropping links, but since your blog is about playing real guitar, I’m going to let it slide.

After all, where else will people learn how to sweep pick?

2009-10-30 05:37:00

i liked a lot ur article. Am starting into this thing thing. I want to become a pro i hope soon, thats why am reading a lot, and also bulding a free poker bankroll, cause i dont want to risk anything yet.
Gl and am looking foward for another article

2009-10-07 20:09:00

Interesting blog, good to see people are realising the mouse just isnt sufficient when there are so many intricate moves to be made and so many games happening at the same time! There is a vast need for better controls of Online Poker, I wish i had these before i misclicked so much money away! I actually work for Poker Controls who make the Wireless Poker Controller and I have to say there are some functions of the hardware and software application that you cant replicate by using a joystick like this, for instance the controller totally eradicates misclicks, but allowing the player to control which window they are betting in and things like pot bets, all in bets, the anti tilt protection. I am not trying to sell the device, I simply want to point out that there are many more features that were specifically built in to give the player even better controls then the poker rooms offer! 🙂

Karol Mcleod
2009-09-30 14:47:00

thanks for sharing the information…..I was looking for the set up of Poker….amazing information you have shared.

2009-09-30 08:26:00

I did implement your voice control, although full tilt and everleaf, where I play, both need some enhancements to either e-speaking or to the poker softwares, to be really comfortable to use.. which i’ve suggested to all parties involved, so hopefully someone will be able to fix them. Unfortunatly, the e-speaking people don’t seem to actually be responding to any emails at all anymore, so i may need to find different software, or write my own.

I would love to be able to clean house and play poker at the same time. which is freaking difficult even with a wireless mouse. It’s freaking simple with voice controlt hough.

However, you should probably just invest in a wireless mouse. really.

Sean Lind
2009-09-29 20:47:00


I’m assuming that you could probably hook a second receiver into your PS3 and have the guitar broadcast to two things at once. I’ve never done it, and don’t know if it will work, but it might.

But you might end up moving all in with jack squat while trying to hammer out a solo… maybe it’s not a good idea at all.

howard K
2009-09-29 19:08:00

but can you play rockband and poker……………………AT THE SAME TIME??????

Doug Lee
2009-09-29 18:09:00

Cool story bro!

Sean Lind
2009-09-29 17:40:00


You can still use your mouse or keyboard as you please. The only thing you need to remember is that the mouse has to be hovering over the poker window (and not over the chatbox) for the guitar to work.

But it won’t lock out your mouse in any way.

2009-09-29 16:09:00

So if you set this up, you can only use the guitar for your poker controls, or do you have still have the option of using your mouse. Cos if im surfing net and playing poker i just wanna know if id have to alternate between them.

2009-09-29 14:55:00

You’re sick, man!

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