In hip-hop, beefs and diss tracks aren’t uncommon. Feuds happen in plenty other arenas also, but you probably only hear about the ones that involve athletes or politicians going at each other in public forums like social media or during television interviews. But who would have thought that the poker world had its own share of drama and tiffs.
This doesn’t come as too much of surprise. Poker is a big stakes game, with millions of dollars often on the line. The poker professionals themselves often come off as egotistical, greedy, and obsessive super-competitors who never expect to lose, which oftentimes leads to arguments, badmouthing, and a general dislike of each other. In a 2012 blog post, Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton even went as far as to lambast his younger, fellow poker players for wearing flip-flops.
Sometimes these issues reach even more ridiculous territory, like recently, when the four-time poker champion and founder of a notorious, online poker site, Howard Lederer, was the target of a rap diss video. Back in 2011, Lederer’s gambling site was one of the country’s many sites to be shut down by the United States Department of Justice on the day known to most poker enthusiasts as “Black Friday.” Months later, Lederer was charged with running his website as a Ponzi scheme used to defraud the site’s players. Following a $2.5 million settlement, he still denies any wrongdoing.
Now, after a few years away from the game, he’s rumored to be returning to gambling at one of this summer's large poker tournaments. There are some folks in the poker world who aren’t too happy about this. Poker enthusiast and internet jokester Thomas “SrslySirius” Keeling is one of these people. To mock Hederer’s return, Keeling made a rap song entitled, “Without Me.” The song borrows from Eminem’s song of the same title, and Keeling even made a goofy video to go along with the diss track. The video portrays Hederer as a selfish poker player who feels like the poker world needs him in order for it to succeed.
Here's the way the song starts off: “People say I’m a monster/ and nobody want’s to see Howie no more/ They want me out of the game, hiding/ Well, if you want that, that’s just too bad. Bite me.” Keeling's rapping isn't as bad as you'd expect, but some of his references might lose you if you're not familiar with all of the names and nuances involved the Black Friday scandals. Hederer is returning to poker at a peculiar time—one when questions are being asked about poker's uncertain future and more states are pushing to legalize online poker. Rap music diss tracks, on the other handdon't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. As you can see, absolutely anyone can make them. Just make sure you don't give them a reason to.