Get Your Groove On!

There’s no denying that music has an influence on our moods and motivation and it has definitely found it’s way to the poker tables. At major events like the WSOP, white ear-buds are seen on almost every table. Major headphones manufacturers like Bose and Beats are popular and perhaps the most conclusive proof is that the event winners are now given headphones as part of their prize.

One thing is for sure, listening to music while playing poker isn’t just about listening to a favorite track. In the early rounds of a tournament, the action is a bit slow, which can cause players to err. So some players use music in order to keep their focus. It’s also great for hiding emotions, since their emotions and expressions are affected by the music.

Being a poker player, focus and concentration on the felts is key. While there are still researches being conducted on music’s effect on focus and concentration, it doesn’t hurt to test the hypothesis, and so far it seems the best choice is to stick to instrumental tracks. It makes sense: since when your brain is confronted with strong verbal stimuli like catchy lyrics, there is less brain power for you to use on your present task.

Another study suggests that listening to music you don’t have any strong feelings about is more beneficial. Basically, the more un-obstructive the background music is, the better. It’s no wonder the infamous Daniel Negreanu listens to meditative music or sounds of nature when playing.

It has been proven that classical music, particularly from the Baroque period, feature musical timing that mimics a human heart beat and creates a relaxing atmosphere in which to learn. This timing activates both the left and the right brain, allowing more information to be absorbed. In fact, learning potential increases a minimum of five times when using music with 60 beats per minute, according to The Center for New Discoveries in Learning.

Another interesting theory on this line talks about the ideal frequency that music should be listened to. 432 Hz is said to be the mathematically consistent frequency at which the vibrations with the universe unifies with our DNA and consciousness. It stands to reason that musical frequencies could also alter our own vibrational state. Check out the difference here:

There has been a long debate on whether or not poker players should listen to music on the felts. Those that oppose it say that music is a distraction, causing players to miss other players’ tells. Meanwhile, those that are for it do so for a multitude of reasons. While all the big guns have their earphones plugged in, not so surprisingly their playlists vary quite a bit! Daniel Negreanu enjoys his sounds of nature and relaxing massage music, while Phil Hellmuth tunes into 80’s and 90’s rock and as for Mike Sexton, it’s the old poker greats!

Whether it’s turning up the beat for a second wind at the gym, melancholic songs to nurse a bad day, or some old-school favorites to get a dance floor started – The results that you see will depend heavily on your own personal tastes. Trial and error is key to forming your ultimate soundtrack. The sweet wonders of YouTube and SoundCloud are that endless assortments of options are at hand for you to play in the background as you try and power through a game of poker.

Here are a few other noteworthy applications that will also help get your poker groove on:

1. Soundwave – Soundwave is a mobile-first app that lets you share what you’re listening to in real-time. Listen to a song on your device’s native music player, and it will be added to your profile, alongside the cover art. And in the wake of a recent update, you can now tap on any song’s image to reveal a history of who else has been listening to it, helping you find musical soul mates.

2. Shazam – Shazam needs little introduction, but it would be foolish to ignore what has become one of the most popular music-tagging and discovery apps out there. In a nutshell, Shazam listens to any song playing in the background – it could be on the radio, TV, in a shop…anywhere – and tells you the name of the song and artist.

3. Indie Shuffle – Indie Shuffle’s mobile app taps the SoundCloud API to provide curated, ad-free playlists based on similar artists and genres. So you can launch playlists starting with a specific genre, browse the ‘Popular’ list, or check out the latest recommendations. Each song also has a review written by one of their staff-writers.

4. Delicieuse Musique – This application is a music player that references all posts featured on webzine Delicious Music and an inventory of all outputs and news of Delicieuse Records label. Some well curated music is issued daily from and you can take your personalized playlist wherever you go.