You may know Steve Aoki as mastermind behind Dim Mak Records, but did you know that he’s also a world-class poker player? The mustachioed dance music maven is just as likely to be seen at the poker table as the turntable. In a recent interview with Stryker at Los Angeles’ KROQ, Aoki talked Vegas life, celebrity friends, and some crazy bets that he’d been roped into.
Dim Mak Mondays at Club XS on Las Vegas’ strip have become a notorious spot to see Aoki’s antics at their craziest. Known for throwing cake and spraying champagne, the DJ is also noted for his on-stage celebrity guests. The most recent guest was Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Aoki sets the scene.
“He’s the man. It was actually the first time I’d ever met him face to face. We have a few mutual friends, like poker friends, and Soul Republic. We’re connected through them. He came out and was like “I love No Beef. I used to play it before races.” He came out with me on stage, we ‘white-raver rafted’ over the crowd. I was a bit worried. I was like “all right Michael, you go and do it on your own.” And he was like “No man! We do this together!” There were a lot of girls right there and they were in heels. But I jumped in first; he was at the tail end. Then 10 seconds later I look back and he’s already out. I think he capsized.”
If you can’t imagine it, here’s a picture of the ‘whiteraver rafting’ from Aoki’s instagram. Rafting over a sea of fans isn’t the only thing that Aoki and Phelps share. Aoki elaborates, “Right after my set, we played [poker] from like 4 in the morning ’til 10am straight. He’s still probably at the table.” No stranger to placing a bet or two, Stryker asked who Aoki would rather sit at a poker table with; Phil “the Unabomber” Laak or Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari.
Aoki laughed, replying, “Both those guys are good friends. Antonio actually taught me. I would have to say Antonio because I know him better but at the same time I don’t. We have prop bets going on throughout the whole year. We made one that actually changed my lifestyle. It’s 12 workouts every month and every time you miss it, you play $100. It’s a gentleman’s bet. It’s just your word and you stick to it.”
Aoki describes his sleepless DJ’ing-poker-filled benders. “Vegas is a really strange anomalous place where your brain doesn’t switch off when it’s supposed to. I’m a poker fiend; I’ve been a poker fiend for 6 or 7 years now. That’s the one thing that will always keep me going. That’s usually my routine. I go play in the club then I go play in the poker room until I leave the town. I don’t even see my bed.”
The secret to being an internationally successful musician and dance music producer boils down to avoiding bed at all costs, playing poker and crowd surfing on the regular.
Aoki is about to celebrate 34 years of living the good life. On November 21st he’ll go “whiteraver” rafting across the Shrine Auditorium along with a few special guests. Dmitri Vegas, Like Mike, and Dirtyphonics are just a few of the artists that will be the night’s live soundtrack. He apologizes in advance to party-goers who may get flying birthday cake fronting and champagne overflow. Doors open at 9 and you must 18 or older to attend.
Meanwhile, Aoki is gearing up the release of his latest EP, a 3-song collaboration titled It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, due in-stores December 11th via his own Dim Mak Records.
The track listing:
1. Steve Aoki & Angger Dimas feat. My Name Is Kay – Singularity
2. Steve Aoki feat. Dan Sena & Miss Palmer – Omega
3. Steve Aoki feat. Rune RK – Transcend
— Robyn Lutrell, KROQ Los Angeles