This past weekend, multi-instrumentalist and decorated record producer Steve Albini showed off one of his other, unrelated talents in a big way, winning the World Series of Poker‘s $1,500 Seven Card Stud tournament, one of many events hosted by the World Series of Poker (WSOP) each year. Albini bested 309 other players in the high-profile tournament, taking home the nearly-$106,000 prize in addition to his first WSOP gold bracelet, the most coveted prize in the world of professional poker.
As Albini told the WSOP after his win:
I am ecstatic that a player as mediocre as me can outlast all of these better players and end up with a bracelet. There’s still hope for everybody! … This year the stud event occurred simultaneously with the Seniors Event, and simultaneously with the $50K [Poker Players Championship, both of which included many talented seven-card stud players]. So the field for the stud tournament, I think, was kind of historically weak, which allowed a sucker like me to make it to the final table. With some prescient coaching from my friends and a good run of cards – I ran pretty fucking good as well. I hit a lot of hands early in the final table.
The WSOP notes, however, that this humble self-deprecation “belied his long experience in the game, which he’s played since the ’90s, and his learning sessions via playing many of Chicago’s best mixed-games pros.”
ICYMI, Chicago recording-studio owner Steve Albini emerges from a final table featuring 15 prior bracelets to win his own first bracelet and $105,629 in Event #31, $1,500 Seven Card Stud. https://t.co/TfLv3OvLkh pic.twitter.com/2mYsNZUh0O
— WSOP (@WSOP) June 17, 2018
Of course, despite now being a poker champion, Albini is best known for his influential contributions to the music world. Steve Albini has, by his own estimation, worked on several thousand albums over the course of his career. He’s the founder, owner, and principal engineer at Chicago’s Electrical Audio, and is well-known for his decorated resume—including Nirvana‘s final album, 1993’s In Utero—as well as his unusual approach to the producer role, both in philosophy and in practice. In addition to simplifying the process and handing the band the reigns (“If a record takes more than a week to make, somebody’s fucking up”), he also declined to take regular producer royalties on moral grounds. As he famously wrote to the members of Nirvana after In Utero‘s release:
“I do not want and will not take a royalty on any record I record. I think paying a royalty to a producer or engineer is ethically indefensible. The band write the songs. The band play the music. It’s the band’s fans who buy the records. The band is responsible for whether it’s a great record or a horrible record. Royalties belong to the band. I would like to be paid like a plumber. I do the job and you pay me what it’s worth.”
Congratulations to [World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner] Steve Albini!