Once upon a time, the artist decided in which order you listened to their songs.
Albums were the first playlists, a journey through a single artist’s works often arranged subtly and with purpose. Some albums, such as The Streets’ A Grand Don’t Come For Free, were a tale in themselves, standalone tracks with value threaded together to form a compelling narrative. The same can be said for indie rock duo Foxygen and their 2014 release And Star Power, a concept album split over four acts. There were some top songs on there, but it was far greater when listened to from start to finish.
Then came Spotify and other streaming services, which allowed you to put your playlists together. Whether for a family party, a collection of songs by a single artist or just tunes you reminisce to, there’s now a playlist to suit. If there isn’t, it is easy to make one.
Admit it; you probably have a playlist, right? One for doing housework, running or just chilling out on a Friday night? Playlists can be a great accompaniment for sports, especially running, but perhaps even poker as well.
Playing poker might not seem to be the sort of event you need a playlist for, but that would be a fallacy. Headphones are increasingly being seen around poker tables, with only the very biggest tournaments outlawing them. Indeed, writer Maria Konnikova learned to play poker whilst wearing noise-canceling headphones to blot out what she described as sexist comments. It is a challenging card game to learn, with poker variants such as Omaha offering a different challenge to the standard Texas Hold’em. Still, Konnikova did so with music blasting into her ears, and it might serve you well on your poker night, too. You might want to try learning Omaha, but to do so with four friends and a poker-inspired playlist in the background would be great fun.
Music is such a great accompaniment to almost anything, so what songs should you look to include on your poker night playlist? We’ve got the lowdown, and we’re not going to be picking the obvious Lady Gaga track either!
Rage Against The Machine – Know Your Enemy
If you really want to up the tension, then Know Your Enemy from Zack and the boys is a great place to start. With a great opening riff and the strained, aggressive vocals, you can’t help but feel pumped up. Of course, this playlist isn’t just about great music, but these songs have a poker message, too – when playing poker, you must know the other players, their traits, strengths and weaknesses.
The Skints – Just Can’t Take No More
Let’s move on to something a little more laid back, from London reggae outfit The Skints. For much of the time, poker is quite a slow-paced game, building tension to one or two crucial and critical hands. Reggae is a great background sound, mellow enough not to break concentration but enough to provide a little respite from some of the potential tedium. When the pot gets a bit rich for your pair of sevens, there’s a good message here now – know when you can’t take any more.
Queen and David Bowie – Under Pressure
For a poker night, music everyone knows is a great idea, and who doesn’t recognize the opening riff of Under Pressure? It’s a modern classic and has been sampled in the years since, but nothing quite lives up to the original. There’s a strong poker message here, too – when you’re playing, you’ll find yourself under pressure from time to time. You might even find yourself watching some good friends screaming ‘get me out’ if they find you raising the pot!
Kenny Rogers – The Gambler
We might have avoided the obvious Lady Gaga song, but it would be an injustice not to include this quintessential poker song on the playlist. Packed with advice from a seasoned gambler, this Kenny Rogers classic is a must for your poker playlist. The country star gets the credit for taking the song mainstream, but Don Schlitz wrote it, and you can find a great version from Johnny Cash on Spotify if you want to mix it up a bit.