The idea of listening to music while playing poker is not an uncommon one. For some, it calls to mind images of professional players sitting at World Series Of Poker tables and wearing large headphones to cancel out surrounding noise. This is a tendency that stems from decorated champion Phil Hellmuth, who has himself claimed that he was the only one wearing headphones in his earlier days. Since Hellmuth’s rise to prominence, headphones on major players have become semi-regular sights. What’s morepopular, however, is the use of headphones by amateurs playing poker at home.
While live tournaments in Las Vegas and other casinos around the world are still the prevailing images of the poker world. Over 40 million people around the globe played online in 2020, and this number jumped to 140 million in 2021. Here, players can try their hand at both high-stakes, competitive tournaments and more casual games against friends. In large part, this can be attributed to the fact that mastering the rules of poker at home is a more casual and relaxing experience than playing at poker tables in a casino. While this type of poker does involve live multiplayer interaction, it’s ultimately a more isolated and private experience — and thus one a lot of players are more comfortable wearing headphones for.
The question, of course, is what they actually listen to! And while this is clearly a matter of personal preference for each individual player, there are a few arguments we’d make in favour of Scandipop as the perfect poker background music.
Space & Scale
The primary quality that makes so much Scandinavian pop ideal for poker background (at least as far as we’re concerned) is actually difficult to describe. But it’s essentially the sense of immersion that can be brought about by synth and electronic sounds. This sense was characterised nicely in a piece on the growing influence of synth soundtracks in television, which referred to the “examination of space and scale” such music provides. This is applied differently in a TV soundtrack than in pop music, but it speaks to the notion that synth and electronic music can almost build sensory cocoons around us. It provides an immersive separation from real-world surroundings that can make it easier to focus on something specific — such as an online poker game.
We don’t need to dive too much into this idea, but it’s a given that music of this sort tends to include repetitive, engaging rhythm. There’s a trance-like quality even to some of the most upbeat Scandipop, and to some poker players it can offer another boost to focus. Granted, some others might find that the “trance” can go too far, and make it harder to concentrate on the game. But for a lot of poker players, repetitive beats and steady rhythms make it easy to “zero in” on the task at hand.
There’s also an encouraging quality to Scandinavian pop music — or at least a lot of it — that might just help some players stay positive. Even among some recent examples like Alex Alexander singing about Dopamine, or the latest music from Clara Rubensson featuring lyrics like “It doesn’t matter if we stumble and fall, we’ll make it through,” there are a lot of positive lines and inspirational messages. Of course, this isn’t universal, and most of the lyrics have to do with relationships. But while you’re zoning in on a poker game with synth music surrounding you, it certainly can’t hurt to hear some positivity!
If you’re an online poker player looking for a new soundtrack, you should of course focus on finding music that you like to keep you engaged with the game. While you can always find the latest on your favourite music in our online magazine, our recommendation — for the reasons just covered — is to at least try some Scandipop!
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