The Best Poker Songs of All Time

2 years ago
The Best Poker Songs of All Time
14:30
22 Sep

Poker and the life of the gambler has always held a mystical appeal to singers and music artists, the game allowing for the ups and downs of life’s crazy adventures to be metaphorically represented. Today we have a list of the top 5 ‘Best Poker Songs of all time’ for you – read’em and weep!


5. Lady Gaga /Poker Face

For some, myself definitely included, Lady Gaga’s nonsense barely passes as music or lyrics worth the paper they are written on, but for millions it became the song of the year.

Classic lines such as 'Cause I'm bluffing with my muffin, I'm not lying I'm just stunning with my love glue gunnin' may well have some poker reference hidden deep inside, but it’s hard to tell for sure because her ‘muffin’ pretty much gets in the way of everything she does.

Nevetheless, her attempts at a poker-themed song did at least have some elements of the game in it, but part of me can’t help wishing all the chambers were full when she sang: ‘Russian Roulette is not the same without a gun, And baby when it's love, if it’s not rough it isn't fun, fun.’


4. Ray Charles/Losing Hand

Charles was an amazing character, and his song ‘Losing Hand’ does a pretty good job of using every clichéd poker phrase and metaphor in the book – not bad for a 4-verse tune with plenty of repetition.

‘I thought I'd be your king baby, yes and you could be my queen, But you used me for your joker cause I thought you're deal was clean’, may just sum up about half the relationships of my own life – but it pales in comparison to the soul singer’s own love life – twice married and father to 12 children by nine different mothers!

So, it’s quite clear his own experience lies within the lines: ‘I gambled on your love baby and got a losing hand, Your ways keep changing like the shifting desert sand’, though not changing as much as his women of course.


3. Elvis Presley/Viva Las Vegas

‘Bright light city gonna set my soul, Gonna set my soul on fire, Got a whole lot of money that's ready to burn, So get those stakes up higher,’ sings the legendary Elvis - and he’s not wrong!

A touch of the Vegas lifestyle is on pretty much every bucket list from here to Timbuktu, and the ‘King of Rock’n’Roll’ caught the mood perfectly with his hip-swaying classic which has seen a hundred covers since it appeared in the movie of the same name.

‘Oh, there's blackjack and poker and the roulette wheel, A fortune won and lost on ev'ry deal, All you need's a strong heart and a nerve of steel,’ sings our man, and without spoiling the ending of a 53-year old film for you, racing driver Elvis may just have won enough at the tables to buy that new car he so desperately wanted.


2. Kenny Rogers/The Gambler

It’s one of the best-known poker songs ever written and sung by a legend of the country music scene, Kenny Rogers, whose chorus of ‘You've got to know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away, Know when to run,’ has become a poker player’s mantra ever since.

With over 50 years in the music business it might even come as surprise that ‘The Gambler’ is still his favourite song, perhaps due to the 5 movies it spawned, and honoured by Rogers titling his farewell tour ‘The Gambler’s Last Deal’.

The bearded legend has obviously played the game, as the lines, 'Cause every hand's a winner, And every hand's a loser, And the best that you can hope for, Is to die in your sleep", show - probably as true as any poker lyric ever written.


1. Motorhead/Ace of Spades

Though many would have Rogers’ ballad as number one in any list such as this, as an old punk and sometime metalhead there can be only one true poker song - the incredible bass intro jumping into my head every time the card appears on the felt – the Ace of Spades, by Motorhead.

The hedonistic approach of the old-school heavy metal band is evident in the very first version: ‘If you like to gamble, I tell you I'm your man, You win some, lose some, it's all the same to me…The Ace Of Spades!’

Though frontman Lemmy has sadly departed, the song is unlikely to ever disappear from the classic lists, the aces and eights of the final verse - which is claimed to have been the hand Wild Bill Hickock held as he was shot dead - sure to resonate for as long as poker itself is played: ‘Pushing up the ante, I know you got to see me, Read 'em and weep, the dead man's hand again’.


Articles 1875

Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more

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