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40 Best Songs of All Times About Poker, Dice, Cards and Addiction
40. Go Down Gamblin’ - Blood Sweat and Tears
Released in 1971, Go Down Gamblin’ by Blood Sweat and Tears is a song describing a gambler who is “born a natural loser.” He never wins, no matter what game he plays, but, he doesn’t feel like a loser. As the song goes – “Cause I've been called a natural lover by that lady over there, Honey, I'm just a natural gambler but I try to do my share.”
39. Gambler - Madonna
Gambler is a song written and played by Madonna, made for the film Vision Quest. Although the song reached the top 10 in the charts of the UK, Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, and Norway, Madonna performed it only once on her 1985The Virgin Tour. It’s a catchy song, we suggest you play it as you spin the reels of some of your favourite retro online slots.
38. The House of the Rising Sun - The Animals
Our list wouldn’t be complete without the 1964 hit song - The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals. Everybody knows the famous lines ”My mother, she was a tailor, sewed these new blue jeans, my father was a gamblin' man way down in New Orleans.” This single had a major success and made it to the top 10 songs on mainstream rock radio stations in the USA. Likewise, the hit was featured in the video game Guitar Hero Live.
37. The Winner Takes It All - ABBA
Whether we admit it or not, we all love at least some songs played by the very well-known Swedish pop group, ABBA. According to some sources, Bjorn Ulvaeus wrote the 1980 hit song The Winner Takes It All which was inspired by his divorce to his fellow band member, Agnetha Fältskog. The winner takes it all is a sort of a comparison to a divorce (especially the part ”I've played all my cards and that's what you've done too, nothing more to say, no more ace to play”), where one of them is the winner and the other one is left with nothing. And things are just the same when it comes to gambling, so we’ve decided to put the song on our list.
36. Shape of my Heart - Sting
We’re all aware of the fact that our gambling behaviour can be influenced by certain types of music and that's because online gambling and music go hand in hand. So, we suggest you start playing your preferred games with one of everyone’s favourite songs by Sting called The Shape of my Heart. It was released in 1993 and used for the end credits of the film Léon. In one of his interviews, Sting explained that the lyrics of the song tell the story of a card player who places bets not in order to win but to figure out something that’s been bothering him - “some kind of scientific, almost religious law.”
35. All I Wanna Do Is Play Cards - Corb Lund
“Well, I guess I really oughta be makin up songs but all I wanna do is play cards. I know it's dumb and sick and wrong but all I wanna do is play cards. Got the studio booked in Tennessee, and my record producer's callin me, the tape will roll in just three weeks and all I wanna do is play cards.” Does it sound familiar? It’s a 2005 hit by Corb Lund called All I Wanna Do Is Play Cards, once you hear it you’ll be playing it on repeat.
34. Gambling Man - The Overtones
When you’re falling in love, it’s perfectly normal to feel like you want to gamble everything just to attract that person’s attention to notice you and love you back. Well, Gambling Man is a lively 2010 song that tells a story of a guy fascinated with his love, so he places all his bets on her, as the song goes - “I played my hand, I rolled the dice, now I'm paying for my sins, I got some bad addiction.” This time, he feels that this love affair is different from any other – “Baby, it's you, yeah, yeah, that's right.” The song was released in 2010 and has been popular ever since.
33. Poker Face - Lady Gaga
Although the Poker Face song is more about the game of romance rather than the game of poker, the catchy refrain that starts with “Can't read my, no he can't read my poker face” kinda reminds us of winning at the tables, so we couldn’t skip it this time. Released in 2008, the song achieved worldwide success, topping the charts in the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and several European countries.
32. Little Queen of Spades - Robert Johnson
Moving on to the Little Queen of Spades, a song title by the American blues musician Robert Johnson who recorded the song in 1937 and first released it in 1938. The first version of this gambling-themed song has a playing time of 2:11, whereas the second one lasts 4s longer (2:15), and is considered an alternate take and first appeared on Johnson's album The Complete Recordings, in 1990.
31. Train of Consequences - Megadeth
Another great song Train of Consequences is the title created by Megadeth, released as the first single from their sixth studio album Youthanasia in 1994. The song was later included on their compilation albums and its music video was the 26th most played video on MTV. There’s this part of the song “No horse ever ran as fast as the money that you bet, I'm blowing on my cards and I play them to my chest” – which is about a person’s gambling problem, who realises something’s wrong with this lifestyle, but it still hunts him down. Could be just the thrill, but he just can’t stop playing.
30. Gambler - Whitesnake
Released on the album Slide It In (1984) and appearing on the compilation album Gold (2006), Gambler is the song by the British hard rock band Whitesnake. These words may sound familiar - “No fame or fortune, no luck of the draw, when I dance with the Queen of Hearts, a jack of all trades, a loser in love, it's tearing my soul apart”. And in case you’ve never heard it, we think you should give it a shot, the chances are you’re going to love it!
29. Gambling Man - Woody Guthrie
Now here’s one single from 1957 - Gamblin' Man. The song was taped live at the London Palladium and published as a double A side, with Puttin' On the Style. Reaching #1 in the UK Singles Chart in the summer 1957, it was “the last UK number 1 to be released on 78 rpm format only, as 7' vinyl had become the norm by this time.” Written by Woody Guthrie and Donegan, this gambling themed song was produced by Alan Freeman and Michael Barclay.
28. Roll of the Dice - Bruce Springsteen
According to Songfacts, Roll of the Dice was the first Springsteen’s song he didn’t write by himself. In fact, E Street Band’s pianist Roy Bittan helped with the music, while Springsteen was in charge of the lyrics, starting with – “Well I've been a losin' gambler, just throwin' snake eyes, Love ain't got me downhearted. I know up around the corner lies, My fool's paradise in just another roll of the dice.” After he broke up the E Street Band in October 1989, Springsteen wrote lyrics for the Roll of the Dice (with two other songs) and liked them to the point where he began writing and recording more songs.
27. Queen of Diamonds - Tom Odell
Here’s one song about a gambling fanatic who’s trying to satisfy his own addiction but also someone else, hoping it’s going to save him. Released in 2018, Queen of Diamonds is Tom Odell’s song from the album Jubilee Road, based on the local characters that inspired this British songwriter to include the whisky-soaked gamblers who regularly visited one betting shop.
26. The Angel and the Gambler - Iron Maiden
Now, this song may divide Iron Maiden fans and it’s most probably because of its repetitive lyrics that can be a bit annoying. The release we’re talking about is The Angel and the Gambler. Truth be told, the melody in general is very catchy and, even a bit similar to The Who in some moments. As the song was released in 1998 while Blaze Bayley was its frontmen, it’s missing the well-known high-pitch vocals from Bruce Dickinson.
25. Ramblin' Gamblin Man - Bob Seger
We’re moving on to a rock single from 1978 - Ramblin' Gamblin Man by Bob Seger. The author meets an old acquaintance, a professional gambler who happens to be a swagger. As such, he attracts people’s attention whenever he bets. Putting so much of his faith in the cards (rather than in people), he walks away every time, just before avoiding loss. Along the way, the narrator realises that, if you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find he’s a very cynical man, who will never change. Another gambling-themed song worth mentioning by Bob Seger is Still The Same.
24. Blow Up The Pokies - The Whitlams
Blow up the Pokies is the next song on our list, played by The Whitlams. It is the second single by the group from their 4th studio album, Love This City. Released in the year 2000, the song became a hit and made it to number 21 on the ARIA Singles Chart. According to several resources, the lyrics written by singer Tim Freedman were inspired by the destruction he saw in original Whitlams bassist Andy Lewis's life, due to his gambling addiction.
23. A Good Run of Bad Luck - Clint Black
Now here’s one 1994-song packed with gambling-related terms. As you listen to A Good Run of Bad Luck, recorded by American music artist Clint Black, you'll have a bit of fun as you try identifying what all these gambling terms mean. The song is a bit fast and is about falling in love by using gambling metaphors. The main character is willing to spend a lot of money to win his special lady over and, although he has had a period of bad luck, he is not giving up – “I've been to the table, and I've lost it all before, I'm willin' and able, always comin' back for more.”
22. When You’re Hot, You’re Hot - Jerry Reed
Jerry Reed won a Grammy for the song When You’re Hot, You’re Hot which was released in 1971. Most people remember it as it was a major hit, ranked as number 1 in the country charts, also making its way up the Pop Top 40. It’s an enjoyable novelty song about the ups and downs of the gambling life, about one’s winning streak caught in an illegal game of Crap. Country star Jerry Reed also came up with a version The Uptown Poker Club in 1973.
21. Lawyers, Guns and Money - Warren Zevon
Next one up - Lawyers, Guns and Money is a song by Warren Zevon, the closing track on his album Excitable Boy, released in 1978. An edited version of this song was distributed as a single and found itself on the A Quiet Normal Life best of compilation on the CD and LP. The song goes like this - “I went home with a waitress the way I always do, how was I to know she was with the russians, too? I was gambling in Havana, I took a little risk Send lawyers, guns, and money Dad, get me out of this, hiyah!”
20. The Lottery Song - Harry Nilsson
According to the man in the 1972 pop-rock song The Lottery Song by Harry Nilsson, there's more than one way to get to Vegas. Addressing his lover, the narrator mentions a few different options for buying a ticket and going to Sin City – “We could win the lottery we could go to Vegas,” and “We could wait till summer, we could save our money” as well as “We could make a record, sell a lot of copies, we could play Las Vegas.”
19. Casino Queen - Wilco
Now here’s one black-humoured gambling-themed song, released in 1995 and titled after a casino. Featuring a dirty electric guitar, Casino Queen was composed by an American songwriter, Jeff Tweedy, who wrote this song after playing a game in a riverboat casino accompanied by his dad. Inspired by the event, the author wrote: “Casino Queen my lord you're mean, I've been gambling like a fiend on your tables so green.”
18. Have a Lucky Day - Morphine
Another song on our list that you simply must check out starts like this: “I feel lucky, I just feel that way, I'm on a bus to Atlantic City later on today. Now I'm sitting at a blackjack table and swear to God the dealer has a tag says, "Mabel." Hit me, hit me! I smile at Mabel, soon they're bringing complimentary drinks to the table.” Check it out yourself - it’s called Have a Lucky Day by Morphine.
17. Kentucky Gambler - Merle Haggard
Written by Dolly Parton and released in 1974, Merle Haggard’s Kentucky Gambler is another song on our ultimate gambling playlist that you should pay attention to. It’s about a miner from Kentucky who leaves his family to gamble, under the bright lights of Reno. Unsurprisingly, his winning streak comes to an end, and he loses all his winnings. All broke, he decided to return back home only when he arrived, he found out his wife was involved with someone else.
16. The Jack - AC/DC
The next song on our list will give you some adrenaline boost, for sure. It goes like this - “She gave me the queen, she gave me the king, she was wheelin' and dealin', just doin' her thing, she was holdin' a pair, but I had to try…” Sounds familiar? This song from the 1975s is called The Jack and is played by AC/DC and there’s no way you can skip it.
15. Blackjack - Ray Charles
Moving on to something a bit different - a melody that blackjack lovers can listen to as they play is Ray Charles’ Blackjack. Apart from being a good quality song from 1955, it carries an important message with an emphasis on how brutal the game of blackjack can be. Some sources say that Ray Charles wrote it after beating T-Bone Walker at a blackjack game session. Yet another Ray Charles’ famous song about gambling is called a Losing Hand.
14. Ooh Las Vegas - Gram Parson
“Ooh, Las Vegas, ain't no place for a poor boy like me”... is a song-into for Ooh Las Vegas which was written by Gram Parsons and Ric Grech. It was first released by Gram Parsons with Emmylou Harris in 1974. Playing this song would be perfect for the beginning of the road trip (i.e. to Las Vegas), especially if you have the energy to sing along.
13. The Stranger - Leonard Cohen
Published in 1968 and performed by Leonard Cohen, The Stranger appears in the The Ernie Game movie about a man released from a mental asylum. More appropriately, it is the perfect opening song in the 1971 Western McCabe & Mrs Miller, in which Warren Beatty plays a gambler. As you listen to this song (without watching the movie), it makes you see fascinating images of card games, smoky dreams, and concepts of risk versus safety.
12. Desperado - Eagles
Written by Glen Frey and Don Henley, Desperado song is one of The Eagles’ greatest hits from their 1973 album of the same name. The song features a classic tune while the ballad tells the story of a lone wolf imprisoned by his loneliness. As for the lyrics, they have loads of card references mentioning the queen of diamonds, the queen of hearts, and so on.
11. Huck's Tune - Bob Dylan
The next song on our list is about the risks of poker, money, and relationships, which are precisely what the movie Lucky You is all about. Does it ring a bell? That’s right, this 2007 song is called Huck’s Tune and is performed by Bob Dylan. Each of us can all relate to lines "You push it all in, and you've no chance to win, you play 'em on down to the end." Play the song and you’ll enjoy more than 4 amazing minutes of Bob Dylan. Likewise, Bob Dylan recorded Rambling, Gambling Willie and Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, both excellent and both inspired by gambling.
10. Four Little Diamonds - Electric Light Orchestra
A song by the British rock band Electric Light Orchestra Four Little Diamonds was released in 1983 and found itself on the album Secret Messages. The single wasn’t so popular in the US, being only 2 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, at number 86, and number 84 in the UK. This song refers to the singer’s cheating lover who tricked him out of a ring which had 'four little diamonds' on it.
9. You Can't Beat The House - Mark Knopfler
Moving on to our next choice for the day, You Can’t Beat the House. It’s the third song on the Get Lucky studio album released in 2009 by British singer-songwriter and guitarist Mark Knopfler. The album and the songs received favorable reviews with the album reaching the top three positions on album charts in Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Poland. The singer’s divine voice combined with beautiful music and lyrics goes like this – “You can't bear the house, you can't bear the house, tell the man somebody, you can't beat the house.”
8. Deck of Cards - Don Williams
Deck of Cards is a recitation song that tells the story of a soldier who gets caught while playing cards in church and then faces a sentence from a superior officer. The soldier defends his case, explaining he wasn't about to deal a hand of poker, but was rather confirming his faith with the cards. Performed by T. Texas Tyler, the song managed to become a major hit in the 1940s and 1950s. Also, Wink Martindale had an even bigger hit with his 1959 cover, with a successful version by Don Williams featuring Tex Ritter and Buddy Cole.
7. Gambler’s Blues - B.B. King
First recording of the song Gambler’s Blues by B.B. King was in 1966, and it was released in 1967. The song appears on the album Back in the Alley (1970). Some say gambling and blues go hand in hand, so if you (gambling fans) haven’t heard it, listen and see for yourself.
6. Tumbling Dice - Rolling Stones
One of our favourite songs on the list is Tumbling Dice, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It tells the story of a gambler who can’t remain faithful to any woman. Being released in the 1970s and featuring a blues boogie-woogie rhythm, the song was and still is one of the greatest singles of all time. Rolling Stones also recorded Casino Boogie, and it’s from their 1972 album, Exile on Main St.
5. Luck Be A Lady - Frank Sinatra
The next song on our list is about a gambler who hopes that he will win a bet, the outcome of which will decide whether he is able to save his relationship with the girl of his dreams. You probably know what song we’re talking about; it’s called Luck be a Lady released in 1965 and performed by one of the most popular musical artists - Frank Sinatra.
4. Deal - Grateful Dead
Next one up is the song Deal. It was first performed by the Grateful Dead in 1971, as a regular part of the repertoire through their 1970's tour. Although being less common to the fans during the 1990s, the band continued to perform it. The singer opens with the message: “Since it cost a lot to win and even more to lose you and me bound to spend some time wondering what to choose,” that later kicks off with a chorus: “Don't let your deal go down...” Loser is another song first performed by the Grateful Dead in 1971 as well, heavily played during 1971 and 1972.
3. Ace of Spades - Motörhead
Ok, the next song is loaded with some great gambling verses like "The pleasure is to play, makes no difference what you say, I don't share your greed, the only card I need is the Ace of Spades" will definitely set you in the right mood for hitting some winning combinations. Released in 1980, the song was inspired by slot machines that the lead singer Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister played in London pubs.
2. Viva Las Vegas - Elvis
As soon as you start playing the second song from our playlist “Viva Las Vegas,” you’ll probably picture a huge casino and a great gaming atmosphere. Performed by the legendary Elvis Presley, the 1964-released song brings the glamour of the city, and its beat will get you in the mood for some serious gameplay. This song was written for the movie of the same name starring Elvis Presley, in which he plays a race car driver waiting tables at a hotel to pay off a debt. There’s this famous scene when he performs this song at the talent competition alongside many showgirls.
1. The Gambler - Kenny Rogers
Performed by the legendary country singer Kenny Rogers, The Gambler song is our number 1 - it's full of some betting advice that are relevant today, even though it was released more than 40 years ago, in 1978. Here’s how it goes… “If you're gonna play the game, boy you gotta learn to play it right, you've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” These classic chorus lines were told from the first-person perspective inspired by a conversation the author had with an experienced poker player on a train. Written in the form of poker metaphors, Schlitz wrote the tune in honor of his late father. Johnny Cash is also among other musicians who recorded The Gambler in 1978, on Gone Girl.
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