Poker by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

5 Metal Guitarists Who Also Play Poker

4 mins read

Music and poker go well together; songs have been sung about this game, and many players love having some background music while they play. Metal guitarists are no exception to the love of poker. With lots of money at their disposal, they can hardly resist the thrill of high stakes and a winning hand.

Metal bands have been writing about poker for years. The Eagles’ Desperado, Motorhead’s Ace of Spades, and Grateful Dead’s The Deal are all songs that were inspired by poker. Here is a list of 5 metalheads who love playing poker so much that they are making a living out of it.

Scott Ian of Anthrax

Scott Ian is an avid poker player who has gone as far as playing the game professionally for several years. His love for the game saw him win a celebrity poker tournament on VH1, despite it being the first time he was playing Texas Hold ‘Em.


After his win, he was sponsored by an online poker company. He got professional poker lessons and signed up with a popular internet gaming site. He eventually became one of Ultimate Bet’s professional players and won multiple tournaments, including the 2009 World Series of Poker.

In interviews, the guitarist confesses that he has grown to love the game. He takes it more seriously than most ventures in his life. Although his poker journey started on a fluke, it has turned out to be quite rewarding.

And if you’re wondering what’s the appeal behind such card games, you can play Blackjack and slots here.

Steve Albini of Shellac

Although he is known for his recording and music producing skills, Albini is also a guitarist in the band Shellac. He has helped with the production of albums for Nirvana, Pixies and other popular bands. He is also a talented poker player.

Albini is so skilled at this game that he took home the gold bracelet after the 2013 World Series of Poker Championships. He beat 309 other players, won $105,629 and ranked 12th out of all the poker pros that competed.

Albini by Jordi Vidal - Getty-min
Albini by Jordi Vidal – Getty

He credits his skills to growing up in a card-playing house. His father was among the best bridge players of his time, and his entire family occasionally played pinochle. At the age of 7, his grandmother taught him how to play poker.

According to RollingStone, Albini’s passion evolved as he grew older. He played regular Tuesday night games in Chicago, going up against some of the city’s most talented players. It is no surprise that he is one of the best metalheads who play poker.

Lemmy of Motorhead

The late Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister was the founder of Motorhead. He is remembered for pioneering a new genre of heavy metal. However, there was more to this guitarist than music.
According to Variety, Motorhead’s hit song Ace of Spades is the greatest gambling song of all time. It hints at Lemmy’s love for the casino. He was a frequent visitor to casinos near his home in LA. There, he would play slots for hours. His signature drink, Jack and Coke, was always at hand whilst he played.

The Rainbow Bar & Grill on Sunset Boulevard was Lemmy’s favorite joint. He had a favorite video poker machine at the bar. After he passed away in 2016, fans paid their last respects at this machine. To date, there is a seat reserved for him next to the machine.

Sully Erna of Godsmack

Salvatore Paul Erna is the lead singer and guitarist for Godsmack. He is recognized among America’s top-heavy metal vocalists, and also a talented poker player. His journey as a pro poker player began in 2006.

He ventured into competitive poker games for the first time at a tournament in Las Vegas, where he placed 713th among 8,000 players. After this win, he took part in many tournaments and won. One of his most notable wins was in the 5 Diamond World Poker Classic, where he ranked 2nd and won $307,000.

Sully was part of the VH1 celebrity poker tournament that was won by Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. He took a hiatus from poker for a while, but his passion for the game forced him to make a comeback. He plays commercially and professionally in various casinos when he goes on tour.

The guitarist has a permanent reminder of his love for the game – a tattoo “no justice” with four flaming aces on the back. While playing poker, he flopped four aces and lost to a player who went all-in with a royal flush. In response to his defeat, Sully yelled: “there is no justice in poker!”

Lucian Marinescu of OnlineCasinoGems says that

“Players should memorize all hand rankings from best to worst in order to avoid common beginner mistakes. Having this information helps you build up a better strategy. The royal flush is one of the best hands where cards are all in the same suit with the A-K-Q-T sequence. ”

Liv Boeree of Nemhain

She has played lead guitar for Nemhain and Dissonance. According to, Liv Boeree ranks among the most skilled poker playing metal heads of her time. Her journey to professional poker stardom began when she joined a reality TV show.

As part of the cast for Showdown, a reality TV show about poker pros, Liv was coached by some of the best players. After this, she spent time playing in various commercial tournaments. In 2010, she won the $1,698,000 cash prize at the European Poker Tournament.

Her wins on the professional poker circuit have earned her the nickname Iron Maiden. She is the first female player to win both a World Series of Poker and European Poker Tournament title. Needless to say, her skills have earned her an impressive sum of money.

Liv’s success has gotten her the opportunity to give TED talks. Using this platform, she shared her knowledge about how luck and skill influence our daily lives.

Final Take

The thrill of playing poker is almost like the one rock stars get while performing on stage in front of millions of fans. Poker is a game of skills and chance, and it is, therefore, no surprise that talented metalheads take the time to test themselves at the table.

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