From the Poker Table to the Turntable
Over the years, music and poker have developed a close if at times contentious relationship. Eased restrictions on the use of headphones and mp3 players in live tournaments have led to the World Poker Tour referring to poker as “the only televised sport where players regularly wear headphones during competition and use music to help their focus at the table.”
For professional poker player Vanessa Rousso, music is more than just a way to focus and help stave off the tilt caused by bad decisions on the poker table. It’s become an indelible part of her identity. For the past few years, Rousso has been working the party circuit as a DJ – both by herself and, for a time, as a duo with renowned Las Vegas DJ Lisa Pittman.
“With poker you need to have some kind of outlet, so school and music became the creative outlet I needed,” said Rousso in an interview with poker news blog Pokernews. “When I did play poker, I was never stressed or felt bored because I had music to keep me balanced.”
As one of the top ten female poker players of all time in terms of winnings, Rousso certainly doesn’t need to add a second job to her already lucrative profession as a poker player. Music, however, has always been in her blood. She started out as a classically-trained violinist, taught herself to play almost a dozen other instruments, and in 2008 signed up for music production and sound design classes at the Berklee School of Music.
There have been a few other poker players who have turned to DJing with a varied amount of success. Fast-talking Formula 1 driver and partypoker sponsored pro Jaime Alguesuari, for example, has made a huge name for himself in his native Spain under the moniker DJ Squire. Alguersuari has performed for packed crowds in Ibiza and Barcelona; his debut album, Organic Life, topped the iTunes charts five days after its release.
Three-rime Canadian DMC Champion and 2012 IDA World Champion DJ Vekked is another, although unlike Rousso he turned to poker largely as a means to an end. In an interview with The Sputnik, Vekked – who was an internationally-ranked online Texas Holdem player – shared that playing and winning at poker was what fueled his real passion: music.
“I desperately wanted to do anything I could so I didn’t have to work a 9-5,” said Vekked about a previous job that he described as both monotonous and draining. “So somehow, I got into playing poker. I figured if I could make enough playing poker I could make my own hours and do music, and somehow it actually worked out.”
If you have a plan on ways to fund your music career (legally) please feel free to share. Until the next time. Peace