A Full House of Bands – Where Music Meets Poker

Poker players listen to music at the table. Notable musicians try their hand at poker. The mix of beats and cards is ever-growing as more music festivals incorporate poker into their acts. Below are some places to be in 2014 if you’re a fan of good music and good hands.

American Folk Music Fest and Poker Tournament

April 26-27, Calabasas, California

The Music: This two-day festival features a western-themed casino night on Friday and a folk music festival on Saturday. Performers include The True Willie (Nelson) Band, Dust Bowl Revival, The Show Ponies, Modal Tease String Band, The Potcheen Ramblers, Mike Stein & The Rolling Steins and Suzie Glaze & Hi Lonesome Band.

The Poker: For $100 you gain entry into a Texas Hold ’em tournament, chips for blackjack, dinner, drinks and access to the music festival. Proceeds benefit the Jennifer Diamond Cancer Foundation.

Electric Daisy Carnival

June 20-22, Las Vegas, Nevada

The Music: Mysteriously, the Vegas stop of the EDC has still yet to be announced but the New York stop will feature DJ Tiesto, Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafia and Calvin Harris. Harris, Fatboy Slim and Steve Aoki highlight the festival’s U.K. stop.

The Poker: What better place to blend music with poker than Vegas? Poker-playing personalities such as Vanessa Rousso, who as PokerNews notes moonlights in music production while making a killing at the tables, are known to surface at the EDC and if you get the poker itch, well, you’re in Vegas.

Las Vegas Bike Festival

Oct. 2-5, Las Vegas, Nevada

The Music: Ok, so this one is probably considered less of a music festival and more of a bike festival. Although not the focal point of this gathering, live music does play throughout the day during this four-day marathon.

The Poker: What this festival lacks in music it more than makes up for in poker. There’s a $10,000 poker run, a poker walk (think poker run but with your legs), biker bingo, a slot tournament, and a charity poker tournament. And again, Vegas.

Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival

May 23-26, Las Vegas, Nevada

The Music: There’s almost too many bands to name in this four-day punk music get-together but a good place to start is with NOFX, Anti-Nowhere League, The Slackers, Face to Face, Good Riddance, Masked Intruders, Peter & The Test Tube Babies and Bad Cop/Bad Cop.

The Poker: Despite the name of the festival (yes, there’s bowling too) poker is one of the main side attractions. A $100 buy-in lets you compete at Texas Hold ’em against the punk artists performing on stage, all the while punk music is blaring through the casino. And if you’re looking to mix poker and bowling even more, apparently the Palms Casino Resort, known for its poker tables, offers a room that features an entire bowling alley.

Osceola Heritage MusicFest

May 16-17, Osceola, Arkansas The Music: Cashtown, The Brad Messer Band, The Shotgun Billys, Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster (Friday); The Beware Band, Lucious Spiller, Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers, The Eric Hughes Band, Kirk Smithhart, Tragikly White, Blackberry Smoke (Saturday).

The Poker: A poker run from 10am to 1pm on Saturday with music beginning at 12:30. $25 gets you admission to Saturday’s festival, a hand of poker in the poker run, a t-shirt and lunch.


May 23-25, Little Rock Arkansas

The Music: This festival is high on household names, featuring the likes of Ceelo Green, Hank Williams, Jr., Chicago, The Wallflowers, The Fray, Lee Brice, Easton Corbin, Buckcherry and even — brace yourself for this one — Salt-N-Pepa.

The Poker: The $30 fee for the poker run (which benefits the Wounded Warrior Project) gets you admission to all three days of the festival.

Swamp Pop Music Festival

July 18-19, Gonzales, Louisiana

The Music: This festival is “swamp pop” themed. If you aren’t familiar with swamp pop, think cajun music meets rock n’ roll. Friday night features Warren Storm, Willie Tee & Cyprus, South 70 and Don Rich. Over 12 hours of music on Saturday features Cliff Nickens, Ronnie Melancon and Friends, Kenny Cornett & Killin’ Time, Kenny Fife & Bac Trac Band, TK Hulin & GG Shin and Ryan Foret & Foret Tradition.

The Poker: The “Cruisin’ for a Cure Poker Run” benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.