The 7 Greatest Songs About Gambling
Gambling has been around almost as long as music, so it’s no surprise that there are so many songs about it. Whether it’s an upbeat tune about winning or a slow ballad about losing it all, songs about gambling can be found in nearly every genre of music, from country to pop and even rap. While there are too many to mention them all, here’s a list of what we consider to be the 7 greatest songs about gambling:
1. “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers
An oldie but a goodie, this pop-country crossover hit from 1978 is arguably the most well-known song about gambling. It features a relaxed tempo and the deep, knowing vocals of one of country music’s brightest stars telling the story of meeting a gambler on a train and offering his now-famous advice: “You’ve got to know when hold ‘em.”
2. “Viva Las Vegas” by Elvis Presley
The King of Rock was also the King of Las Vegas, although Elvis Presley’s 1964 hit—the theme song of the film sharing the same name—dominated the airwaves long before his famous Vegas shows. Elvis starred in the movie and sang the song as a love letter to America’s own City of Lights. It’s still a great “pre-game” song to listen to before hitting up your local casino.
3. “Waking Up In Vegas” by Katy Perry
Another love letter to Las Vegas, this 2009 pop hit is about a couple trying to piece together the events of the night before—a common scenario in a city with the unofficial motto of “What happens here, stays here.” While most people don’t accidentally get married in Vegas, there are plenty of other lyrics most visitors to the gambling capital of the U.S. will find relatable.
4. “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead
Gambling isn’t limited to casinos, with gamblers spending many a quarter on electronic or manual games set up in bars. That’s where Motorhead’s lead singer got inspiration for the 1980 hit—slot machines he used to play in London pubs—although he reportedly couldn’t find a good place to include imagery of spinning fruit into the song.
5. “Shape of My Heart” by Sting
Sting’s 1993 hit dives into the psychology of gambling, following a poker player who doesn’t play for money, rather the chance to crack the code of the game and discover the mysteries of luck—winning or losing is secondary to his quest. While Sting doesn’t offer any hints or tricks to help listeners win, he definitely inspires players to think of poker as much more than a simple game.
6. “Pokerface” by Ghostface Killah
If you think there aren’t many rap songs about gambling, you’d be surprised at the variety out there. Samples of clanging poker chips mix with lyrics about Ghostface’s love of poker, including several obscure references to the game that experts will recognize. In the end, the song’s advice is simple: Always trust your gut.
7. “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga
The second “poker face” entry on the list might not seem like it could be categorized in songs gambling luck or skill, considering it’s primarily about the singer’s lover. However, the lyrics are filled with metaphors about the game of poker, and its status as a chart-topping hit also has much to do with the era it was released. In 2008, the gambling world experienced a worldwide boom in poker popularity, which Lady Gaga wisely took advantage of in the song that launched her career.
Play These Casino Songs and More to Get Hyped for Your Next Night Out!
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This text is purely a perspective based on the research using the following sources: