Steve Aoki and Zedd among Poker Playing DJs
Playing video games while listening to music is one of those activities that’s simply interlinked. The impact of music on gameplay has been well-researched, and we don’t need to say much about how important the right soundtrack and sound effects are to the gaming experience, since most of us have undoubtedly played at least one video game in our lifetime.
The same is true of land-based games like poker. Music and poker have a long history; just think about all those songs that have been released over the years that are based on this ubiquitous card game. Furthermore, some of the world’s most popular poker players have discussed how their favourite songs and musicians have provided the inspiration and motivation to keep grinding.
It should come as no surprise, then, to find out that there are plenty of DJs and EDM artists who have a deep passion for card gaming. Some musical artists have even developed parallel careers as DJs – and vice versa. Both disciplines require a great deal of skill, critical thinking and creativity in order to succeed, and making the right moves – whether that’s knowing when to hit or fold or when to drop the beat – all comes down to being able to read people.
Vanessa Rousso is a modern-day renaissance woman; it seems there’s very little she can’t achieve when she sets her mind to it. A qualified attorney, TV personality, DJ and one-half of the electronic outfit N1TEL1TE, Rousso is also an accomplished poker player.
She first began playing the game in the early 2000s in online poker rooms. After discovering that she had quite a talent for cards, she made the move to live tournaments and even debuted at a 2005 WSOP Circuit Event. That same year she took the main event at the Palms Summer Series Hold’em event. Rousso’s biggest success as a poker player happened in 2009 at the European High Roller Championships, where she cleared just shy of $1 million in prize money.
Babyfaced Anton Zaslavski, aka Zedd, is the man that A-list pop stars turn to when they need a top producer or DJ to spice up their output. For over a decade, Zedd has developed a reputation for being one of the most hardworking artists on the scene and has received countless nominations, as well as a Grammy and two MTV Music Awards for his hit singles.
When he’s not spinning the decks or polishing the latest Lady Gaga release, he’s enjoying some quality downtime on the felt. In 2017, Zedd combined his two greatest passions when he played a 90-minute set at the PokerStars Championship in Barcelona. He went on to make his professional debut in the tournament, and while he didn’t win the main event, he nevertheless took the grand prize in a side event worth $50,000.
There are DJs, and then there’s Steve Aoki. Throughout his three-decade-long career, Aoki has reinvented what it means to be an independent musical artist. Founding his own label in 1996, which signed an eclectic array of bands and artists like The Kills, Felix Cartal and Bloc Party, Aoki would achieve worldwide mainstream success just a few years later.
Since then, Steve Aoki has worked with the whose-who of the music industry, racking up awards and nominations left, right and centre. And, just as he’s made a massive impression on the music industry over the years, he’s had a pretty similar effect on the poker felt too.
As a close friend of elite poker pro Phil Ivey, Aoki’s been granted access to some impressive high-stakes tournaments over the years. He’s even hosted his own poker events aboard the Holy Ship! Festival in the Bahamas.
Image Credit: Steve Aoki (Press) / Courtesy of Shore Fire Media