Nelly is known to the world as a rapper, but the St. Louis native also has an affinity for poker, having played in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas and at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
He played in Day 1A Thursday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, and just before the cards flew, squeezed in a five-minute sitdown with yours truly. Quick update on Friday, though: Nelly has been eliminated from the tournament.
How come you’re coming here to play?
I’m actually coming down to have a little fun, doing the party Friday and we’ll be rocking out. I’m hosting the party and I had the chance to play a little poker so I thought that’d be cool
How much poker do you play?
I play when I get a chance. I didn’t make it out to the main event because I was putting out my album, getting it all ready and doing the promotions for it and filming “Real Husbands of Hollywood. I haven’t had a chance to play as much as I’d have liked.
Career poker highlight?
I haven’t quite made that yet, but I’ve played in the main event a few times.
As an artist, are you more of an intuitive player, rather than a straight math guy?
I’m more intuitive, so to speak, how I feel about it. I’m not really the math guy as far as breaking it down precise but obviously you want the odds in your favor.
If that doesn’t work I go with my gut.
With your life as it is now, do you think about the money when playing poker?
I try not to. I guess being who I am I have to remember that sometimes that has a double-edged sword. The majority of time I’m going to get called on a lot of hands because people just want a story. Some people to say “I got knocked out Nelly.”
Have you ever thought about doing a rap about poker?
I have, but no. People been saying that every since I’ve been playing. They said it’ll sell, but it’s one of the craziest thoughts I’ve ever heard. Nah.
What’s your next project?
My seventh album is due out Sept. 30. It’s a great project with a lot of energy and I worked with a lot of great people. I recently put out a single with Nicki Minaj and Pharrell and the first every Nelly and Nelly (Furtado), which is awesome. The album is really dope. Sept. 30 is the date.
Last thing. As a Cardinals fan, who do you fear most. The Reds or the Pirates?
Right now the Pirates. I think the Reds, with Cueto and everyone on the injured list … I think the Pirates, with them being health and scrappy. They kind of make me nervous.
And I love (Pirates center fielder) Andrew McCutchen. I think he’s awesome, one of those guys you wish you had on your team. He plays outside of himself. I love him. He definitely deserves the applause.
Quick update: Nelly did bust out of Day 1A, but he was spotted re-buying for Day 1B on Friday.