Music Titan and Two-Time WSOP Bracelet Winner Steve Albini Passes at 61

Steve Albini, titan of the world of alternative rock and two-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 61. Albini’s influence stretched across both the music and poker, leaving a legacy that will be remembered by fans and peers alike.

Musical Legacy

Steve Albini was not just a music producer but a pivotal figure in the alternative rock scene. His work with Nirvana, particularly on the album In Utero, catapulted him to the top of the music industry. Albini was known for capturing the raw and unfiltered essence of the bends he worked with, especially behind the mixing board. He worked with a plethora of influential bands, including the Pixies and PJ Harvey.

Passion For Poker

Beyond the recording booths, Albini was (almost) equally passionate about poker. Describing himself as a recording engineer who also played billiards and poker, he was deeply embedded in the poker community, particularly in his hometown of Chicago.

At a young age, he learned the game from his family and later became a regular on the local scene, playing mainly stud cash games. It was here that Albini met and befriended Brandon Shack-Harris, a fellow Chicagoan who supported him from the rail during his last WSOP victory.

Albini only played tournaments during the World Series of Poker, where he thrived in mixed games, the format in which he won both of his WSOP bracelets. His first major victory came in 2018 at the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event, where he got his first bracelet and a prize of $105,629, beating a Stud specialist, Jeff Lisandro, in a heads-up. “I’ve been playing stud my whole life. I love it, so I’m very comfortable playing stud. And I ran pretty f***ing good as well,” Albini told in his unfiltered style.

Four years later, with the WSOP’s move to the Strip, Albini won his second bracelet in a $1,500 HORSE event, navigating through a field of 773 players, including many professionals and mixed-game specialists. His victory was a testament to his focused approach to poker, which he described as an essential part of his life.

“Everything in my life is in bits and pieces,” Albini told after winning $196,089. “Poker is one aspect of my life. As a result, when I play poker, I strive to give it my all. I make an effort to take it seriously. I make an effort to give it the attention it deserves as a profession. However, it is merely a portion of my year. I exclusively participate in World Series of Poker tournaments. In Chicago, I play cash games on the side. It is a source of income for me, but it is not my vocation.”

Steve Albini’s TwoPlusTwo AMA and Top 5 Poker Tips

Steve Albini was a regular on the biggest poker forum, TwoPlusTwo, particularly in the mixed games subforums, often sharing his insight and advice on the hands with other forum members. He also did an Ask Me Anything (AMA) thread with hundreds of replies and tens of thousands of views.

Albini shared some of his poker wisdom on Twitter as well. Here are the five tips he learned while playing. Apply at your own risk!

  1. When you beat somebody stuck bad in the game, make them feel better about it by explaining your thought process in detail.
  2. All chip stacks have good chips and bad/haunted chips. Everyone knows this. You need to keep your stacks organized and be diligent about using the haunted chips to ante so they become someone else’s problem, while clinging to the good chips.
  3. Looking for a way to pass the time while waiting for good hands? Bet on sports. Lots of your fellow players will accommodate you with odds, and if you’re not sure what to bet on, the rest of the table will have good advice.
  4. The deck is not random! All the cards have friends they like to hang out with, so keep track of who your favorite cards have as buddies, so you know which cards are coming next. Give them nicknames.
  5. Nobody likes regular government card names. Instead of saying “Deuces,” announce your hand using your own pet name, “Tim Horton, the Double-Double,” or “Ducky Duck,” or “Bottomest Pair…” there are lots of these and everybody likes them always.

Reactions From the Poker Community

Steve Albini’s passing is a big loss for both the music and poker communities, and he will be missed by many.

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