Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
The explosion of poker from the casino into the mainstream has been well documented, and anyone who’s anyone in the rap game has also followed suit.
Rappers and hip hop stars are showing up at big events all across the world – further evidence that poker has become firmly established as part of rap culture.
In the Beginning
The man who started it all was Nelly, who made the headlines after taking down a Celebrity Poker Tournament at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas.
Since then Nelly has taken his passion worldwide; from European Poker Tour events to the king of them all: the World Series of Poker.
And while the St. Louis rapper has yet to take down any big tournaments, he has appeared in a Grand Final of the EPT in Monte Carlo.
“I play a lot on instinct, but being who I am has a double edge,” he said when asked about how his rapping background affect his poker game. “Players will call more often ‘cos then they can tell their friends they knocked out Nelly.”
If you’re going to make a play in the world of poker, you might as well make friends with one of the best in the game.
Ja Rule has been a known poker fan for years, and his friendship with superstar, Phil Ivey, has obviously helped to improve his game somewhat. He claims to have made bank against numerous other rappers and hip hop stars in home games across the US.
He even established his own online poker room, but this fell victim to increased US gambling laws.
T.I Cashes Out
After an action-packed show in St. Louis, T.I decided to try his luck on the poker table in the nearby Lumiere Casino.
In his first ever public game of Texas Hold ‘Em, T.I cleared up and chased out – netting $3,000 from his $500 buy in.
Why Do Rappers Love Hip Hop So Much?
There are plenty more in the rap game who love nothing more than to get their poker on; who can forget Ghostface Killah’s classic jam ‘Poker Face’, for example?
The two are such a perfect, natural fit: there’s big money to be won, and then there’s the prestige and status of beating down on your fellow players and walking away at the top. That’s a metaphor for hip hop culture right there.
Putting it all on the line and standing tall; that’s why so many rappers are engaged in online poker and heading to sites like Yeboyes Casino, amongst others.