Updated date:

63 Songs About Gambling

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Whether you play card games, the lottery, or the slot machines or believe that life is already full of enough risk, make a playlist of pop, rock, country, and R&B songs about gambling. May you always beat the odds.

Whether you play card games, the lottery, or the slot machines or believe that life is already full of enough risk, make a playlist of pop, rock, country, and R&B songs about gambling. May you always beat the odds.

Love Is the Largest Gamble

Some people gamble away their money, risking it all at the poker and blackjack tables, the slot machines, or spending a few bucks on the lottery. Others, however, are more astute and forgo losing propositions, knowing that life itself is a gamble, a complex blend of luck and calculated risk. All of the following, for example, are influenced to some extent by chance: the parents you're born to, your health, educational and career success, and whether you successfully cross the street instead of getting killed by a texting driver.

Perhaps the biggest gamble in life that each of us takes is with love. Often at a tender age, we make what could be a 50-plus year commitment to a partner we assume we know and can trust. We hope we can grow with them instead of apart. We contractually bind ourselves legally and financially. We blend our DNA with theirs in having children, adjust our social identity, and often change our last name, too.

Love is inherently risky. Choose wisely. Many songs about gambling thus use gambling as a metaphor for finding or keeping love. Make a playlist of pop, rock, country, and R&B songs of songs about gambling. May the odds always favor you.

Reader Poll

1. "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga

Sex surely can be a gamble if you don't know your partner well, and in this contagious 2008 synth-pop song, the narrator blends gambling and lots of sexual innuendos. As she plays Texas hold 'em she teases a potential partner that "a little gamblin' is fun when you're with me," then remarks that she's proud of maintaining a p-p-p-poker face that doesn't betray her next move. Lady Gaga's Grammy Award-winning song was a chart-topping hit across the globe.

2. "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers

Some of the best pieces of life advice come in the form of stories told through song. This classic 1978 country crossover hit was Kenny Rogers' signature song, and it snagged him a Grammy Award. He was not, however, the first artist to record the tune. Bobby Bare Sr. and Johnny Cash both beat him to it.)

The ditty describes a narrator who plays cards with an old stranger on a train "bound for nowhere." Down on his luck, the gambler trades the following advice for the final swig of the narrator's whiskey:

You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away, and know when to run
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

3. "Last Dollar (Fly Away)" by Tim McGraw

For someone who is down to their last dollar, the guy in this 2007 country song sure is perky. He admits that now that he's broke, there truly is nothing left to lose. He, therefore, has abandoned all worry. (I wonder if he lost his fortune playing those Tim McGraw slot machines?) The narrator perceives his financial woes as an opportunity to fly away, traveling to wherever the winds of life blow.

This autobiographical number was written by McGraw's friend, Big Kenny of Big & Rich after an especially ruinous night of blackjack in Vegas. Big Kenny was wrapping up Alabama's farewell tour, New Year's Eve 2002. He entered the game with $200 and $140,000 of credit card debt. Unfortunately, he lost all but $21 and the shirt off his back. After giving the dealer a $20 tip, the singer-songwriter found himself literally down to his last one-dollar bill. It rarely happens like this, but thankfully, the artist's career grew wings from there:

And one, two, three, like a bird, I sing
'Cause you've given me the most beautiful set of wings.

4. "The Lottery Song" by Harry Nilsson

There's more than one way to get to Vegas, according to the man in this upbeat 1972 pop-rock song. Addressing his lover, the narrator generates three options for winding up in Sin City together:

  • pin their hopes on a winning lottery ticket
  • save their money all summer, then sensibly vacation there or
  • make a record together, sell a lot of copies, and appear in Vegas with their name in lights.

Life is a gamble. Which one would you choose?

5. "Walking Away a Winner" by Kathy Mathea

There's an unfortunate tendency in both financial transactions and relationships to double down when you have already invested much in a selected decision path. It's difficult to give up on what you believe in and have worked for. (Gamblers beware: similar principles are at work with betting.)

Rather than fall into the psychological trap of "escalation of commitment to a dying course of action," the woman in this 1994 country song has decided to walk away from a love affair that is clearly untenable. She realizes that the stakes were high, and she lost when she gambled on committed love—at least this time. Instead of wallowing in her pain, however, the narrator holds her head high, pride intact, and walks away a winner, right back into her life. You go, girl, and don't look back!

6. "Love Is a Losing Game" by Amy Winehouse

This contemporary R&B number depicts a woman feeling disappointed and lovelorn. The partner who rejected her gambled and won, leaving her feeling foolish as she holds a losing hand in love.

Winehouse wrote the 2006 track regarding her troubled and ill-fated relationship with then-ex-boyfriend/future husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. A heroin addict, he was widely panned by fans as a key figure in the substance abuse problems that led to Winehouse's death. The songstress didn't know it at the time she released "Love Is a Losing Game," but it rang eerily prophetic. She had only five years to live. The song appeared on her second album, Back to Black.

7. "Gambling Man" by The Overtones

When you feel like you've met your perfect match, you're understandably willing to gamble everything just to get them to notice you and love you back. This vibrant 2010 pop song features a narrator who is so enthralled with his sweetheart that he places all his bets on her. Not usually a gambling man, he believes that this love affair feels different. Playing the odds like this leaves him trembling below the surface. But it's a good kind of nervous.

8. "Still the Same" by Bob Seger

In this 1978 rock single, the narrator happens upon an old acquaintance who is a successful professional gambler. The fellow is charismatic, confident, and appears invulnerable. As such, he attracts attention as he bets.

Bluffing for a living, the gambler puts his faith in the cards rather than in people. He walks away just in time to avoid loss. Whereas others may be fooled by the gambler's bravado, the narrator realizes that beneath the fellow's shiny casino veneer, odds are that the guy is a hollow human being, and he will never change. We've all probably known someone similar to this, am I right?

9. "House of Cards" by Tyler Shaw

A deck of cards and gambling are often used as metaphors for the risks that people undertake in finding loving companionship. The guy in this 2015 pop song had built an emotional house of cards. While seeming strong externally, inside he led a weak life devoid of love. He felt incomplete and yearned for a forever bond, finally winning the jackpot when his partner became his Queen of Hearts.

10. "A Good Run of Bad Luck" by Clint Black

This 1994 chart-topping country ditty is uptempo and so packed with gambling-related terms that you'll have fun trying to identify all of them. The song pertains to an avid gambler with a crush on a special lady. He's on a mission and is prepared to spend a lot of money to win her over. Although the gambling man has had a prior stretch of bad luck, he engages in self-talk to boost his confidence.

11. "Ace of Spades" by Motörhead

This 1980 signature song of British heavy metal group Motörhead celebrates the thrill of wagering a bet. The narrator declares that gambling is for fools, but he plays for the love the game, win or lose. He teases his opponents about the current hand he's holding and pays homage to the ace of spades, one of the most highly valued playing cards, dubbed "the death card."

12. "Desperado" by Eagles

The guy at the center of this rock tune is a desperado, meaning a reckless person, bandit, or lawbreaker. He has submersed himself in the finer things life has to offer and relished personal freedom. However, as age sets in, the desperado's lack of commitment to personal relationships and a more structured life leaves him feeling hollow.

The narrator uses playing card analogies to caution the desperado against growing old alone. He specifically warns against drawing the Queen of Diamonds, a bad omen symbolizing a jealous, toxic, and powerful woman. Although the desperado may be magnetically drawn to such a vixen, the narrator infers that the gambler is much better served by seeking a Queen of Hearts type of partner instead—that is, a reliable sweetheart he can settle down with. The classic 1973 hit was named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

13. "From a Jack to a King" by Ricky Van Shelton

Someone had an ace up their sleeve! I don't know precisely what moves the fella in this 1988 country song made, but they were convincing. He got promoted in his relationship from a lonely boy toy to a prospective groom. Well played, my friend:

From a Jack to a King
From loneliness to a wedding ring
I played an Ace and I won a Queen
And walked away with your heart.

14. "Queen of Hearts" by Juice Newton

The lady in this 1981 country crossover hit is getting played like a deck of cards by a man who is only in the relationship for fun. The gal knows she's outclassed and accepts that she's a fool and will only get her heart broken. Her love interest must be a fine piece of work, however, because she's gonna go for it anyhow. Odds are that her reluctance is well placed.

15. "When It Rains It Pours" by Luke Combs

The protagonist's breakup with his girlfriend is the trigger for a series of good luck events in this fun 2017 country song. Right after his girlfriend walked out, redneck Lady Luck smiled sweetly upon him as he won $100 on a scratch-off lottery ticket at the corner convenience store.

Then the lucky fella was caller number five on the local radio station, garnering him a four-day, three-night beach vacation for him and a Hooters waitress he just met. The guy was so lucky that he even won a used ATV and a round of golf for three friends in a Moose Club raffle. How lucky can one person get?

"If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time." - Chinese proverb

"If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time." - Chinese proverb

16. "Viva Las Vegas" by Elvis Presley

One of The King of Rock n' Roll's most recognizable songs, "Viva Las Vegas" is the ultimate gambling anthem and appeared in an Elvis film by the same title. The lively 1964 tune describes admirably the essence of Las Vegas:

  • bright lights of the strip
  • high stakes
  • nervous, excited energy
  • beautiful women and
  • money to burn.

With the prospect of fortunes being both made and lost overnight, the narrator is ready to risk it all at the roulette wheel and slot machines. They don't call Vegas "The Gambling Capital of the World" for nothing.

17. "Ace in the Hole" by Saint Motel

In this 2014 rock number, the narrator realizes he has just one shot to make an impression on the drop-dead diva he's fawning over. She's a classy lady—a real jackpot—so the standard pick-up lines won't work. This situation calls for a truly impressive strategy to win her over.

In poker, an ace in the hole is a card that confers a hidden advantage. With the stakes being so high and there being only one chance to get this right, the narrator says it's time to reveal the ace in the hole. However, that just leaves me wondering what exactly the ace in the hole is here: a winning personality, fame, wealth, a sense of humor? What's your ace in the hole?

18. "Lottery" by Train

Simply besotted with his lady friend, the man in this 2017 pop tune finds himself enthusiastically confessing that when they are together he feels like he has won the lottery. It's as if his heart is holding the winning Powerball numbers. He declares that his love for her is deep, true, and lasting.

On second thought, maybe this narrator's gambling analogy isn't actually so flattering when you consider that multiple studies have found that around 70% of lottery winners end up filing for bankruptcy within five years. That wouldn't be so lasting.

19. "Beatin' the Odds" by Molly Hachet

Rev up your engine, say a prayer because you might need it, and hold on tight. We're driving dangerously in this 1980 rock song because we're young and like to gamble with our lives. The narrator knows he's risking his soul with high-stakes driving, but he's "playing to win" and beating the odds, at least so far.

20. "Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House" by Garth Brooks

In this 1991 country track, Wifey plays Lady Luck and Hubby is her wild card man. These well-matched newlyweds are Southern, backwoods, and they love as hard as they work.

Brooks' honky-tonky ditty uses several casino metaphors to describe the couple's perfect marriage. The reference "two of a kind working on a full house" signals that they are attempting to have children. "Full house" is a poker term meaning a pair plus three cards of the same number or face value. The song was a #1 Billboard country hit for Brooks.

"Gambling is a way of buying hope on credit." - Alan Wykes, English writer

"Gambling is a way of buying hope on credit." - Alan Wykes, English writer

Even More Songs About Gambling

Do you know a song that should be on this playlist? Make a suggestion in the Comments Section below.

SongArtistYear Released

21. The Jack

AC/DC

1975

22. Fun and Games

Kelsea Ballerini

2017

23. When You're Hot You're Hot

Jerry Reed

1971

24. That Was A Crazy Game of Poker

O.A.R.

1997

25. The Angel and the Gambler

Iron Maiden

1998

26. Poker Face

Ghostface Killah (featuring Shawn Wigs)

2006

27. Luck Be a Lady

Frank Sinatra

1965

28. Reno

Doug Supernaw

1993

29. Casino Queen

Wilco

1995

30. All I Wanna Do Is Play Cards

Corb Lund

2005

31. The Card Cheat

The Clash

1999

32. The House of the Rising Sun

The Animals

1964

33. Kentucky Gambler

Merle Haggard

1975

34. Gambler

Madonna

1985

35. House of Cards

Radiohead

2008

36. Ace in the Hole

George Strait

1989

37. Losin' in Las Vegas

Merle Haggard

1989

38. Shape of My Heart

Sting

1993

39. Solitaire

Carpenters

1975

40. No Cheap Thrill

Suzanne Vega

1996

41. Lay Your Money Down

Bread

1977

42. Easy Money

Billy Joel

1983

43. Diamond Jack

Wishbone Ash

1977

44. Bad Bad Leroy Brown

Jim Croce

1973

45. Playing to Win

Little River Band and John Farnham

1984

46. Tumbling Dice

The Rolling Stones

1972

47. Honey (Open That Door)

Ricky Skaggs

1984

48. The Dealer

Stevie Nicks

1981

49. Roller

April Wine

1979

50. The Cowboy Rides Away

George Strait

1985

51. Do It Again

Steely Dan

1972

52. Gambler

Whitesnake

1984

53. Rovin' Gambler

Dierks Bentley

2010

54. Ace of Hearts

Alan Jackson

1990

55. Every Time I Roll the Dice

Delbert McClinton

1995

56. Roll the Dice

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

2017

57. Queen of Hearts

Lauren Alaina

2017

58. Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

Bob Seger System

1968

59. Ace in the Hole

Struggle Jennings & Brianna Harness (featuring Jessi Colter & Jenni Eddy Jennings)

2019

60. Life Is a Gamble

Big K.R.I.T. (featuring BJ the Chicago Kid)

2014

61. Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Warren Zevon

1978

62. I Feel Lucky

Mary Chapin Carpenter

1992

63. The Winner Takes It All

ABBA

1980

© 2020 FlourishAnyway

Comments

Robert Sacchi on August 09, 2020:

Yes, it is a great spin on the pinwheel of life.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 09, 2020:

Bob - Thanks for the song suggestion which I added. I bet the military was a gamble!

Robert Sacchi on August 07, 2020:

Another great list. What about "The Winner Takes it All" by Abba?

My biggest gamble, joining the military.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 07, 2020:

Emge - Thanks for your support. Have a fabulous rest of your week.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on August 06, 2020:

Never gambled but the selection of songs is wonderful. Great to listen

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 06, 2020:

Nell - Glad you enjoyed this! Have a wonderful week!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 06, 2020:

Dora - I hope you are doing well. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Nell Rose on August 06, 2020:

I love all the songs! Great list and I learned some that I had never heard of before.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 05, 2020:

Sure, life and love are brimful of gambles. I remember hearing and singing the lyrics of Number 13. That was way back in the old, old, old days.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 05, 2020:

Andrienne - I appreciate your stopping by. Have a terrific day.

Adrienne J. Farricelli on August 05, 2020:

Wow, so many songs on gambling. I never realized there were so many! Thanks for pointing all of these out.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 04, 2020:

Linda - Especially in this economy the last thing folks need to do is gamble away their money! I knew a person with a massive scratch-off lottery ticket habit and it financially sank them. They died with not enough money for the family to bury them. Hopefully people will get help if they need it

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 04, 2020:

Rajan - Thanks for stopping by. Even though they were new to you I hope you found a few you enjoyed.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 04, 2020:

Heidi - It seems like we're losing so many of our older folks. Ol' Kenny had some great advice in that song -- a real classic, both the song and him. Have a wonderful week.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 03, 2020:

You've created another interesting list of songs and descriptions, Flourish. I like the fact that you included the helpline number in the article, too.

Rajan Singh Jolly on August 03, 2020:

You seem to have songs for any topic and plenty of them at that. They are all new to me. Thanks for sharing.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on August 03, 2020:

Of course, with Kenny Rogers passing earlier this year, I thought of The Gambler right away.

I'll bet (pun intended) you got every song I could ever think of in this list.

Hope you have a lovely, lucky week!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 03, 2020:

Shyron - Thanks for stopping by. I hope you are doing well and are safe.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on August 02, 2020:

You got me, I can't think of one you don't have. Maybe I will think of one later.

Blessings my friend

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 02, 2020:

Chitrangada - It's a heck of a gamble if you think about it. Many people choose a partner as a twenty-something after knowing someone for only a short period of time. They haven't seen how the person will react in most types of situations and often just throw caution to the wind, not really knowing who the person truly is. That person is a large determinant in whether you are rich or poor, happy or miserable, safe or at risk. It's a crapshoot.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 02, 2020:

Bill - All of those decision points certainly have huge implications for success and happiness in life. Thanks for your support and have a great week.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 02, 2020:

Stella - We all gamble a little each day just by crossing the street or eating junk food, I guess you could say. Glad you don't risk your hard-earned money gambling it away! Thanks for stopping by.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 02, 2020:

Linda - You're right. It is a gamble just to get out of bed! Have a wonderful week and stay safe!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 02, 2020:

Peggy - Love is a gamble but if you hit the jackpot it sure is awesome. My husband and I are probably the happiest married couple that we know. I'm like you -- not a lot of interest in seeing my money poured down the drain in Vegas.

Glad to hear from you. I hope you continue to be safe given the virus levels in Texas.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 02, 2020:

Bill - Oh, no. That sounds like a story in itself. I like trading stocks and do so not only for myself but also several relatives.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 02, 2020:

Pamela - I'm glad you enjoyed this. Have a wonderful week ahead. I hope the hurricane didn't affect you too badly.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 02, 2020:

Excellent list of songs about gambling.

Your opening paragraph is interesting and so true. Even if we may not be a gambler in the literal sense, but we do gamble in so many ways in our lives.

Choosing a life partner is of course one of the most important in this regard. Then there are other risky decisions in life. I like the theme of your article and the orher detailed information.

Thanks for sharing.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on August 02, 2020:

Another great list, Flourish. I’m not much of a gambler in the wagering sense, but certainly all of the big decisions in life are a gamble. Selecting a partner, buying a house, getting an education, choosing a job or career, they all have huge ramifications on our life and ultimately help to determine how happy we are as we go through life. Great job. Stay safe and have a great day.

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on August 01, 2020:

Enjoy reading and know most of these songs, I'm afraid I have never been much of a gambler. Stay safe

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on August 01, 2020:

Excellent list Flourish. Gosh, I think I take a gamble every time I get out of bed. You found all the oldies but goodies and gave me a new list to listen to as well. As for actual gambling, it's not for me. I've worked too hard for my money.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2020:

I agree and voted that finding and keeping love with the right partner is the greatest gamble of all. I know that you have chosen well in that department. Soon we will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. It takes work and commitment but is well worth the effort.

As to gambling with money, I went to Las Vegas once. I just could not get caught up in seeing those machines gobbling up my money. Once again, you have found many songs addressing the topic of gambling.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 01, 2020:

I was sure I was going to get #1 with The Gambler...darn it, foiled again!

My addictive personality will not allow me to gamble. I found that out at the race track one sunny Sunday.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 01, 2020:

There are always more songs about a topic than I would have guessed. A couple of my favorites are the Eagles and Bob Seger. This is an interesting article and a good topic.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 01, 2020:

Eric - It can be fun to discover new music. Sometimes I surprise myself. I hope you find some good songs. Have a wonderful weekend.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 01, 2020:

Umesh - I appreciate your kind support.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 01, 2020:

Devika - Thank you for your kind comment. I'm not a gambler either. My husband won a new car in a raffle several years ago. He bought a $5 ticket from a work customer of his just to be kind and support the guy's charity. It shocked us big time. So did the taxes on the winfall.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 01, 2020:

Liz - You're absolutely right! If you think about it, every time you go to the supermarket, you're potentially gambling with your life, especially if someone there sn't wearing a mask and you happen to be medically vulnerable and in an area where the numbers are ticking up. I think about the people in Florida who are actually mask wearers and are just unfortunate victims in all of this. The gamblers who go barefaced and believe this is all a big hoax are playing Russian Roulette with the rest of our lives.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 01, 2020:

Lora - That was one of his best songs. RIP Kenny Rogers. Thanks for commenting and be safe.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 01, 2020:

DowntroddenInDC - Thanks for the suggestion which I added.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 01, 2020:

Excellent list. This will be my songs for the day. I sure have no clue about 1/3 of them.

So don't blame me if I lurk ;-)

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 01, 2020:

Elaborate and exhaustive compilation. Good work.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 01, 2020:

Songs about Gambling that I had no idea of. I listened to the songs but never gave it a thought of how many there are. I like that you are sharing your knowledge of songs it is interesting and well thought of in your research.

Liz Westwood from UK on July 31, 2020:

You have compiled an interesting list of songs. I am not a gambler, but I am intrigued by how many songs you have found on the subject. Then again, would you describe a recent hotel stay in current circumstances as a gamble?

Lora Hollings on July 31, 2020:

It is true that even if we don't gamble in the true sense of the term, we do gamble when we choose a profession and choose our mates. In fact, we gamble every time we make a choice in life as we never know the final outcome. Some of us might be more intuitive than others which can help but yet life remains unpredictable and we have to go with our feelings. Great list of songs that highlight the uncertainty of our relationships, Flourish. My favorite song is "The Gambler" sung by Kenny Rogers.

DowntroddenInDC from Houston, TX on July 31, 2020:

One I love that is tangentially related is "Lawyers Gun and Money" by Warren Zevon. :)