From the Poker Table to the Centre Stage

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Martin Bradstreet shares his love for music and poker

Anyone able to catch a World Series of Poker or a World Poker Tour tournament on TV will surely notice the increasing number of players sporting mp3 players and headsets. More than a fashion statement, this trend actually offers certain tactical advantages to many players.

First up, listening to one’s favorite tunes during inherently long poker tournaments can definitely do wonders to stave off the boredom. More importantly, however, is the ability of music to act as a mood enhancer – or even modifier – to help players adjust their games accordingly when necessary. Because of these two reasons, it’s no wonder that even PartyPoker’s Mike Sexton – who has always championed the cause for poker having a more formal dress code – can be seen carrying his earphones to games every now and then.

Of course, the connection between music and poker doesn’t end there. In fact, you can find famous rockstars dabbling in the card game including most notably, Scott Ian of Anthrax. He even hosted an online tournament called “Scott Ian’s Home Game” a few years ago. Only 20 lucky contestants had the chance to compete with other rock icons such as Slash of Guns N’ Roses, Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Vinnie Paul of Pantera, and Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains.

Aside from the aforementioned musicians, poker pros like Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke also joined this once-in-a-lifetime tournament. A different form of poker called the “poker run” is also often seen included in large music festivals such as the annual Riverfest in Arkansas. Seeing musicians play poker isn’t new, but seeing a poker player rock the stage is rare. Aussie-born poker player Martin Bradstreet, who currently lives in Canada, surprised everyone when he showed off his talent for singing, and playing both guitar and piano.

Bradstreet together with his brother Matthew and Jonah Dorfman have formed a band called Alexei Martov, which was also his nickname in the online poker community. The Montreal-based band is known for their psychedelic rock music that resembles that of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. But before entering the music world, Martin Bradstreet name in the poker world became more noteworthy, when in 2011 he finally reached one million Canadian dollars in winnings. Just like most of the young poker players, Bradstreet started out playing StarCraft before he got into online poker. After finally gaining financial independence from playing cards, the Canadian poker superstar focused more on his music career. Bradstreet shared with iGaming how he balances poker and music, “There are a few factors that I have introduced to my life to create structure. It’s pretty hard to have structure as a poker player. The two things I do are poker and music, and neither of those things have any structure in them. I tend to do better when I have some sort of structure and I think most people do.”

Despite the lack of structure, Martin Bradstreet continues to excel in both fields. In fact, Alexei Martov is set to release their debut album Neural Awakening in 2014, and fans can already get a copy of the limited edition 7-inch blue vinyl of Way of the Crow, which is included in their upcoming album. The vinyl record has a bonus track on the B-side, which is a piano cover of the classic Jimi Hendrix hit “Manic Depression.” Alexei Martov’s much-awaited LP wouldn’t be possible without the help of Steve Albini, who also worked on albums such as In Utero by Nirvana and Walking Into Clarkside by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.

It just goes to show that by excelling in one career, it can open up more exciting doors along the way. Maybe Alexei Martov will cover Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” next?

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