Music forms a big part of various cultures worldwide and provides entertainment and recreation, among many other uses. Not only does music lift the mood, but it can also be a source of inspiration, especially at in-person and online poker tables.
Listening to music during a poker game offers many benefits. It can help reduce boredom when you’re having a dry spell, lift your spirits after losing a big hand, and even keep you calm when the going gets tough. Although, for all of its benefits, detractors argue that it can be a distraction that can cause players to miss out on big opportunities. But is music really so necessary for a game of poker that you need a poker playlist? Read on to find out.
Potential Benefits of Music in Poker
It’s a common belief that music can have a positive impact on productivity by boosting mood and focus. Upbeat music can be a motivational boost, while calm music can reduce stress and increase concentration.
This is true for online poker games, too. Music can help players block out unnecessary noise and distractions from fellow players and/or away from the table. It creates a conducive atmosphere that reduces anxiety and helps players make better decisions that could improve their gameplay and outcomes.
What Do Poker Players Listen to?
If you’re wondering what genre or type of music is common among poker players, there really isn’t a simple answer. It’s a matter of preference or even mood at times.
But, considering the benefits and drawbacks of listening to music while playing poker, the best type of music is one with minimal lyrics that still offer the necessary boost of creativity and concentration. Instrumental and classical music fit these criteria. These genres are uplifting and have minimal vocals, so they won’t distract you while you’re playing a hand.
Another good genre is nature sounds. Daniel Negreanu, a six-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner and third on the all-time money list, said in his interview with Askmen that he listens to “massage music” during games — something he described as “sounds of the ocean and birds chirping.” He also admitted to listening occasionally to Missy Elliot.
If you’re not too keen on any of these genres or you simply prefer some other genre, maybe you’ll prefer these options.
Rock ‘n’ Roll
If you’re into music with strong beats, you could add rock to your poker playlist. You should, however, do so with care. You want to look more into soft rock than metal since the latter can be too loud and exciting, which might distract you from the game at hand.
Jazz compliments poker well — it’s actually ideal poker music. Whether you’re in an online poker game, a live table, or taking part in poker tournaments, there’s a good chance that jazz will get you in the groove and keep you there.
Songs About Poker
What poker music playlist would be complete without songs that reference the game itself? If you’re having a game night with friends, set the perfect casino mood with the best songs about poker.
Music To Avoid When Playing Poker
Just as listening to the right music can boost performance, the opposite can happen if you choose the wrong music. Knowing what music to avoid when playing a game of poker will largely depend on your preferences and mood.
But in the poker world, some types of music are considered less than ideal for a poker playlist for various reasons. For starters, you should avoid slow- and fast-paced music because they affect the heart rate, which may, in turn, hurt gameplay.
A study by the University of Wisconsin on the psychological effects of music with varying tempo on the body discovered that fast-paced music (120-130 bpm) increased heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety, while slow-paced music (50-60 bpm) had the opposite effect. As a result, you should ideally look to find a balance between fast-paced and slow-paced.
Thus, genres such as metal, hip-hop, and rock should be off the table when it comes to choosing music for your playlist. Except, of course, if they’re your favorite, in which case, you should totally go for it. The important thing is to get positive energy from the music as a result of the positive sentiments attached to it rather than the genre.
Considerations for Creating a Poker Playlist
If you use music for poker, especially if you play poker online, keep the following considerations in mind.
Genre and Mood
The genre and mood of your playlist will have a direct effect on your emotional and mental state throughout the game. Your playlist should, therefore, consist of calm, tranquil music that’ll help you stay focused.
Lyrics can distract some players. This is one of the drawbacks of playing music while playing poker. But if your playlist is properly curated, this drawback can be turned into a strength. Select music with calm, solemn lyrics rather than catchy ones. Instrumental music is also a good alternative.
Ensure that your playlist is set to an appropriate volume that won’t distract you or negatively impact your concentration levels. Correct music volume is essential for an optimal gaming atmosphere.
Flow and Transition
This is all about the arrangement of the songs in your playlist. Arrange them so that the change from one song to the next is seamless and uninterrupted. This can help keep your focus and concentration and reduce distractions.
Listening to music while playing poker is largely about having something familiar around your mental state, and it’s highly personal. So, for the best result, choose something you’re comfortable with. Create a playlist of familiar music you like rather than taking suggestions or trying new music.
The right music can be a powerful tool that can positively affect your decision-making. By taking the right steps, you can curate the perfect poker playlist for your style and preferences that’ll make the music feel like a trusted companion at the tables.
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