90% of Poker Pros Listen to This Kind of Music (It Might Surprise You)

Should You Listen to Music While You Play Poker?
Many people ask me if I listen to music while I am grinding out the long hours, especially at the online poker tables.

And the answer is yes, I do!

However, I have found that some types of music allow me to perform better and also help me manage my tilt control better as well.

But of course, this is just going to be my personal experience. Music is one of those things where everybody has different tastes and so you will need to experiment with what works best for you.

However, I have found some surprising similarities in what most poker pros listen to while playing poker.

In fact, I have found that about 90% of my poker pro friends listen to the same kind of music as I do while playing poker.

Should You Listen to Music While You Play Poker?

The first question we need to ask is should you even listen to music while you play poker in the first place?

For me, and for most poker pros that I know, listening to music helps us focus at the poker tables and keeps us feeling the flow during those extra long sessions.

Because let's face it, if you want to be highly successful in this game, you are going to have to almost live at the poker tables!

I didn't become a 10+ year poker pro, traveling the world, with some of the highest winnings of all-time at the lower limits online by half assing it.

No, I got here by ruthlessly grinding it out both at the poker tables and away from them, long after most other people had already given up for the day.

As the famous running back and three-time Super Bowl champion Emmitt Smith once said:

“All men are created equal; some work harder in preseason.”

This has always been my approach as well, to out-work absolutely everybody else at the poker tables. And so music has been a big part of getting me through all those long gruelling sessions.

Positive Uplifting Music With Minimal Vocals While Playing Poker

Alright, so right off the bat let me tell you that my #1 preferred style of music to listen to while playing poker is something that is uplifting, positive and has minimal vocals.

And once again, having discussed this with many of my online poker pro friends in particular, around 90% of them have told me the exact same thing.

This pretty much nails the definition of several mid BPM types of electronic music such as:
  • Trance
  • House
  • Progressive
Coincidentally this also happens to be among the types of music that I actually personally enjoy listening to the most as well, so it has always been a win/win for me.

The reason trance, house and progressive works well for me during long poker sessions is because the lyrics and the feeling of the music is almost always positive and uplifting.

This is something that you really want when the cards go south on you!

Should You Listen to Music While You Play Poker?

This is also why I spend much of the year living on a tropical beach these days. The sound of the waves and the view keeps me relaxed and in the zone when playing poker.

Also, when I am playing poker I want as much of my concentration as possible to be focused on the cards and implementing the proven winning poker strategy that I use.

So therefore, any kind of music that is lyric heavy (think: hip hip especially) is 100% a no way for me while playing poker.

And this sucks because I personally love hip hop music also, but I want minimal vocals and a background feel, which is what you often get with electronic music like trance and house specifically.

By the way, people often ask me what artists in particular that I would recommend for trance, house and progressive.

There are way too many to name but here are a few of the most popular groups and artists these days:
  • Armin Van Buuren
  • Ben Gold
  • Above and Beyond
  • Ferry Corsten
  • Arty
  • Gareth Emery
  • Markus Schulz
  • Cosmic Gate
  • Aly and Fila
  • Super8 and Tab
Honestly, these easiest way is to just load up Armin Van Buuren's weekly radio show called A State of Trance where he plays a two hour set of all the latest trance and progressive.

You can find it very easily on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music or pretty much anywhere else that you listen to music these days.

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What Types of Music Do I Avoid While Playing Poker?

So I already touched on this a bit.

The types of music that are no-gos when playing poker for me are stuff that is too negative in nature, too slow/too fast, and has too much in terms of vocals.

So this often includes stuff like:
  • Hip Hop
  • Metal
  • Most Rock
Now, once again, these are actually among some of my favorite types of music to listen to normally, when I am NOT playing poker.

While I am in the gym for example, I often have some metal playing between my ears (or rock or hip hop, sometimes even classic rock).

But when playing poker, I find these genres to be counter-productive to my goal of 100% focus on the cards. I also want something that provides a consistent uplifting positive feeling.

There are several other types of music as well that I will never listen to while playing poker such as Jazz, Country or Classical.

Now, none of these types of music are really my cup of tea anyways (which makes it easy). But I also find some of these genres to be too slow at times or they have too many vocals.

How Do I Listen to Music While I Play Poker?

There are so many different ways to listen to music these days, but for me personally I usually just stream it on Spotify.

In fact, this is pretty much all that I use these days.

Here is where I can find all the latest Trance, House and Progressive on demand and just stream it for hours and hours while I grind it out at the poker tables.

However, there are tons of other options such as Apple Music or YouTube. Heck, if you are really old school you could even use a CD player or a cassette tape!

What Do I Actually Use to Listen to Music While I Play Poker?

Again, easy answer here. I just stream music on Spotify on my iPhone and listen through my Airpods.

Really nothing ground breaking here.

This is also the exact same setup when I am in the gym or on the go running on the beach for example.

It takes me two seconds to load up the app on my phone and start playing whatever music I want.

Should You Listen to Podcasts or Watch Netflix While Playing Poker?

Let me answer one more question that I get asked very frequently. And that is should you listen to podcasts or watch Netflix while you play poker?

There are tons of great poker podcasts in particular these days. I have actually been a guest on many of them myself.

However, should you listen to poker podcasts while you play poker?

Sorry to say, but that is going to be a big no-no for me as well. And it just goes back to what I was talking about before.

Too much vocals/talking and too much information to get me distracted from the #1 most important thing I need to be focusing on, which is playing every single hand to the best of my ability.

For this reason, I also never have any movies or Netflix going on in the background on TV, or poker training videos or Twitch streams going, while I play poker.

And yes, this even includes my own free videos on YouTube!

Even though I put out tons of advanced poker training videos on my YouTube Poker Channel:

I would NOT recommend that you watch my YouTube poker videos while you play poker.

Because once again, this is going to probably be too distracting and take away from your focus at the poker table.

Now, when you are not playing poker, I absolutely do suggest listening to poker podcasts, watching my YouTube poker videos or studying a good advanced poker training course.

This is all the kind of stuff that has helped me tremendously over the years to stay on top of the latest cutting edge strategies, and continue to crush the opposition when I am playing poker.

But when I am at the tables playing poker, I am dialed in and it's all business. So there are absolutely no distractions.

What About No Music While Playing Poker?

Lastly, what about having pure silence while you play poker or listening to the table banter if you play live?

I actually think that this is a solid strategy as well. And quite frankly, when I am running extremely bad at the poker tables, I often turn the music off completely.

And this is because I want to remove any distractions at all and look for every single edge I can possibly get.

Also, there are many people out there who just prefer to play poker without any kind of music at all, and let me tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all!

Once again, this is all about figuring out what works best for YOU.

Final Thoughts

So what type of music should you listen to while you play poker?

Well, I need to stress once again that this is something that is going to heavily depend on your personal tastes and what works best for you.

But for me personally, I do everything in my life to improve my performance at the tables. This includes my nutrition, my fitness and yes even what type of music I listen to as well.

Because my goal is always to play every single hand to the absolute best of my ability and stay mentally focused and confident at all times.

This after all, is a big part of the reason why poker pros continue to win. They don't have "off days" like amateurs do. We are always "on."

So for me the best type of music for that is something upbeat, positive and which has minimal vocals. And so specific electronic genres like Trance, House and Progressive work perfectly for me.

And this is why I also very rarely listen to hip hop, rock or metal while playing poker.

I personally enjoy all of these genres and listen to them all the time when I am not playing poker, but I feel that they are not optimal for peak performance (for me personally), when I am playing poker.

Lastly, I also love poker podcasts, poker training videos, poker on YouTube and Twitch but I never listen to or watch this stuff while playing poker.

And that is because it is far too distracting. This stuff is perfect for study time after my session is over or I am commuting somewhere or walking in the park though.

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Should You Listen to Music While You Play Poker?