Source: Brutal Crush
Heavy Metal and Poker go together like a 100-watt Marshall stack and an ESP Masao Ohmuro Shinigami custom shredder. If nothing quite captures the thrill, the excitement, and the adrenalin rush that one gets from a night of headbanging to the live music of bands like Metallica, Slayer, or Anthrax, one can say the same about the kind of thrills and excitement that one can get from matching wits in a game of high-stakes poker with the likes of Daniel Negreanu or Marvin Rettenmaier.
Poker used to have a less-than-desirable reputation back in the early days, and this was a time before high-stakes World Poker Tour matches and premier partypoker events like the World Series of Poker Europe began to rule the sports airwaves. The card game used to be banned in a lot of places and was once considered a game suited only for people with questionable reputations. Of course, the massive media marketing spots and globally televised tournaments did a lot to change poker’s image and it has since become a fully recognized mind-sport by no less than the International Mind Sports Association.
Maybe this is precisely the reason why the card game attracts a lot of musicians and fans within the heavy metal community. In fact, there are several players in the professional tournament scene who do come from the ranks of professional metalheads around the world. Scott Ian of Anthrax has arguably become a fixture in professional tournaments and he has even sponsored his own online poker game show which he called, Scott Ian’s Home Game. The program even showcased other poker-playing “rock gods” such as Pantera’s Vinnie Paul, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell, and Guns N’ Roses’ former guitarist Slash.
On the side of metal fans, there’s also somebody making waves in the professional poker tournament scene, but she is known not for being a professional music artist. Liv Boeree, otherwise known as The Iron Maiden of Poker, has already amassed more than US $2M in total winnings ever since she turned pro. Aside from being a model and a TV personality, Liv Boeree is also known not only as a devoted fan of heavy metal music, but as an accomplished guitar player herself.
Whether it’s on stage or on felt, the same kind of no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners, you-only-live-once attitudes persist in both the poker and heavy metal scenes, so it really comes as no surprise how fans – and players – from both sides gravitate towards each other in more ways than one.