Steve Albini, the musician behind Shellac and Big Black who’s recorded countless classic records for other artists, is also a very good poker player. On Saturday, Albini won a World Series of Poker gold bracelet after competing in the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event and beating 773 other players. He took home a huge prize of $196,089. Albini could not look any happier in the photo documenting his big win.
“Everything in my life comes in pieces, in parts. Poker is one part of my life,” Albini told WSOP.com after winning. “So when I’m playing poker, I try to commit to it. I try to take it seriously. I try to make sure I devote the attention to it that it deserves as an occupation. But it’s only part of my year. I only play tournaments at the World Series of Poker. I play cash games informally in Chicago. It’s a part of my livelihood, but it’s not my profession.”
This is the second time Albini has won a World Series of Poker tournament, following his 2018 gold bracelet for beating 310 players in Seven Card Stud to the tune of $105,629. Back then, he was wearing a Cocaine Piss t-shirt during the big win. This time around, Albini dressed up for the occasion in a Jack O’ Nuts shirt, tweeting that the Athens noise-rock musicians “bring me luck.”
“The first one felt like a fluke. This one also felt like a fluke. I was all-in a million times in this tournament,” he told WSOP.com. “In the Stud tournament, the bracelet that I won in 2018, I was never all-in in that tournament. I was never short of chips. But it still felt like I kind of fluked it because I beat a table full of really great players that I didn’t expect to beat. This time it felt like a fluke because I was so short on chips so often, and I kept getting all in, and I kept surviving.”
Poker Central released the short film Albini Cashes In, which chronicles his first World Series of Poker win, in 2019. That same year, Shellac released The End of Radio, a double album featuring two previously unreleased BBC Radio Peel Sessions.
Revisit Pitchfork’s feature “Steve Albini’s 10 Best Records.”