One of the newest World Series of Poker champions should be a familiar face to music fans.
Steve Albini, the famed 55-year-old producer (Nirvana, Pixies) and musician, took down a $1,500 buy-in seven card stud event early Sunday morning at the Rio. Albini won $105,629 for outlasting 309 other players in the three-day event and a coveted WSOP golden bracelet. “I’ve been playing stud my whole life,” Albini told WSOP.com after his victory. “I love it, so I’m very comfortable playing stud. And I ran pretty f*cking good as well.”
Albini traveled to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker following a European tour with his band, Shellac. A longtime poker player, Albini is no newcomer to the World Series of Poker. He cashed in one tournament every year from 2013 to 2016 but had never advanced to a final table until this past weekend. He encountered a daunting set of opponents once there, including a pair of six-time bracelet winners in Chris Ferguson and Jeff Lisandro.
Albini and Lisandro were the final two and played a two-hour heads-up session that saw numerous lead changes before the former pulled through. Ferguson, last year’s WSOP Player of the Year, had the early chip lead before Albini took the majority of his stack in a massive hand that might have wound up as the important of the tournament.
Ferguson bet aggressively with an ace-high flush, unaware Albini had a superior full house.
“There was a hand we played on Day 2 when he rivered aces full with a board that was very similar,” Albini said. “In that hand, he whiffed a check-raise on the river. The way the hand played out was almost identical.”
Drawing on the experience of an earlier hand to extract maximum value against a world-class player shows that more than luck went into Albini’s win, even if he was self-effacing about his poker ability—calling himself, “a sucker.”
Albini headed back to his native Chicago, where he runs the legendary Electrical Audio studio, with no word on if he would return to the Rio for any more tournaments this summer. The $1,500 seven-card stud tournament was Event No. 31 out of 78 scheduled for the 2018 World Series of Poker.
Poker’s world championship, the $10,000 buy-in Main Event, is scheduled to run from July 4 to July 14, also at the Rio.