With a heavy heart, Poker News Daily reports on the passing of a man whose multi-faceted and iconoclastic approach to life resulted in excellence across many fields. Steve Albini, a two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and producer of one of the iconic rock albums of the Nineties, stunningly passed away on Wednesday morning at his recording studio, Electrical Audio, in Chicago. Albini passed away from a heart attack at the entirely too-young age of 61.

A Poker Champion

One of the passions in Albini’s life was poker. Arguably, Albini was one of the most unlikely poker champions – more on that in a moment – but he would win poker’s greatest trophy on two occasions. That achievement puts him among the 328 players in the history of the WSOP to have earned two bracelets on its biggest stage.

A noted mixed game specialist, Albini usually kept his play to the Las Vegas stage of the WSOP. In his career, Albini picked up nine official WSOP cashes, not including his final cash at the WSOPC Chicago in October 2023. At the 2018 WSOP, he grasped the brass ring – or gold bracelet, in this case – when Steve took down a $1500 Seven Card Stud event, defeating Esther Rossi, Frankie O’Dell, Chris Ferguson, and Jeff Lisandro on the way to the title.

In 2022, Albini would defeat a 773-player field in the $1500 H.O.R.S.E. event to capture his second bracelet. That win put him into “rare air” in World Series of Poker history, becoming one of only 328 players to ever take down multiple bracelet wins. Because he was not a part of the “big money” No Limit Hold’em action, Albini only earned $370,045 in his tournament poker career, but it was never about the money for Steve…it was more about the challenge of the play.

Not Just a “Degenerate Gambler”

However, Steve Albini created another life outside of taking opponents’ chips and winning WSOP bracelets. He was a noted musician, coming up on the streets of Chicago and playing guitar in the notable band Big Black. Interestingly enough, Albini and the band would end their run together because Albini, who shunned compromising to become a “hit making” band, were becoming too popular.

Instead of just jamming through the Chicago night, Albini decided to take another course and step to the other side of the board. Instead of being a performer, Albini became a record producer – he preferred to call himself an “engineer” – and would go on to work with some of the biggest names in alternative rock. Artists such as PJ Harvey, The Pixies, The Jesus Lizard, and former Led Zeppelin legends Robert Plant and Jimmy Page sat in the studio while Albini twisted the knobs.

By far the most notable contribution from Albini was his work with a groundbreaking band out of the Pacific Northwest. Albini went into the studio with Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic – otherwise known as Nirvana – in 1993 to oversee the engineering of what would be the final studio album from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band. In Utero was the result, with Albini adding to the band by playing guitar on the Nirvana classic “All Apologies.”

In Utero turned out to be the biggest album Albini had a hand in. It would go on to be certified platinum five times, with “All Apologies” giving a softer side to the hard-edged “Heart Shaped Box” on the same record. “All Apologies” would also serve as the coda to the run of Nirvana after the band performed the tune on MTV Unplugged in November 1993; Cobain committed suicide in April 1994 and the MTV episode and album were released a year after its recording.

Poker News Daily offers our condolences to the friends and family of Steve Albini as they deal with his untimely passing.

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