A lot of famous figures who are enthusiastic about poker and casino games make no secret of it. Rappers like Jay Z and Nelly are known to frequent the tables. Famous athletes from Boris Becker to Gerard Piqué have been associated with the game. And in Hollywood circles, some celebrities like Tobey Maguire and Shannon Elizabeth are said to be good enough to be considered professionals. This is only a small spattering of examples but it speaks to the fact that usually when celebrities take a serious interest in poker, we see them at high-stakes tables, charity events, and tournaments.
For enigmatic Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, however, this isn’t the case. This is perhaps particularly odd given that the last few years have shed light on fairly deep connections between GNR and the gaming world. We wrote about the Guns N’ Roses pinball game just last year, and many fans of the group have by now stumbled on the internet slot machine that uses GNR music and imagery.
One would think, given these undoubtedly profitable side projects for the band that Slash might look for ways to capitalize on a legitimate personal gaming interest. And yet, the main reason we know of his love for poker is that way back in 2011 he put his home up for sale and an LATimes.com write-up of the property included mention of a “custom poker table.” The table reportedly sat 10 to 12 players, which is a step up from your average fold-out table topper. You don’t have a custom table of that size unless you’re really into the game.
In a way, Slash’s at-home hobby seems almost vintage in retrospect. Today, even with real-money games mostly prohibited in the U.S., it’s simply gotten easier for people to play their poker online. This is in part because one can find virtually any sort of game or tournament on the internet, but also because references and learning materials make it easy for new players to join in. Poker.org has a downloadable cheat sheet that is perhaps the best example of just how easy it’s become for players to learn online — providing a sort of digital guidebook of different poker hands and their values. And even without external references, most sites and apps at least post detailed rules on their own.
All of that convenience — the ease with which people can find places to play and even learn the game online — has largely changed the meaning of playing poker at home. Now, it means going online or opening up an app. But here again, Slash’s table speaks to a deeper and more developed hobby. Just as you don’t have a table that seats 12 players unless you’re fairly serious, we’d suggest that you wouldn’t have your own in-person poker table at all in 2011, unless you’d harbored a love of poker since before it became a primarily online activity.
Whether or not we’ll see Slash make his poker hobby more public — say through some kind of gaming partnership or celebrity tournament appearance — remains to be seen. He has played with Anthrax guitarist and famed poker enthusiast Scott Ian in the past, and he’s known to be fairly industrious beyond his music. Just recently in fact, he unveiled new signature Epiphone J-45 acoustic guitars that fans will soon be able to buy. And in the past, we’ve seen him associate with numerous business and philanthropic ventures alike.
For now though, he appears to be the rare celebrity poker enthusiast who keeps the hobby at home.