When you think about celebrities who play poker, you probably think about actors like Jennifer Tilly, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Or maybe athletes like Richard Seymour, Ronaldo and Roberto Luongo. People like this belong at the poker table – there is so much mental crossover between these worlds.
But what about musicians? Aside from Liv Boeree and her occasional shredding, we don't hear too much from this demographic. In reality, musicians might have even more in common with poker players than actors and athletes. There's a lot of math involved in both pursuits. Travel, too. So let's take a moment to acknowledge three of the most accomplished crossover acts in music and poker.
3. Scott Ian (guitarist, Anthrax)
Ian, along with bassist Dan Lilker, formed Anthrax way back in 1981. They were/are a groundbreaking thrash metal band that somehow cracked the Top 40 multiple times. If you're of a certain age, you may remember Ian's vocal turn on their 1991 “Bring the Noise” collaboration with Public Enemy. Ian made his World Series of Poker debut in 2008, then cashed in at the 2009 Main Event, finishing No. 637 out of 6,494 entrants.
2. Steve Albini (engineer/guitarist)
Still trying to figure out what math has to do with music? Albini founded and played in several bands that fall into the “math rock” genre, including his current band Shellac. As an engineer and producer, Albini has worked on albums by Nirvana, Pixies, the Stooges, and Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, among countless others. He's just as versatile on the felt; Albini has cashed in four times at the WSOP: in no-limit Hold'em, 7-card stud (twice), and at last year's $1,500 Dealers Choice Six Handed Event, where he placed 19th out of 357 players.
1. Patrick Bruel (singer)
Ian and Albini have done very well for themselves in both music and poker, but neither gentleman has a WSOP bracelet to his name. Bruel, a noted singer/actor from France via Algeria, won the 1998 $5,000 Limit Hold'em Event, beating a field of 112 to claim a healthy $224,000 top prize. That's just one of 10 WSOP cashes for Bruel, who finished in the money at last year's Main Event (No. 237 out of 6,420 entries). He's also scored big on the EPT and WPT tours. In his side gig as a chanteur, Bruel has released eight studio albums, five of which reached No. 1 on the charts in France. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.