Las Vegas is the gambling and entertainment capital of the world, known as much for its magic, comedy, and miscellaneous jaw-dropping shows as its casinos and casino games. Vegas, which has taken on an almost larger-than-life personality, is a city unlike any other with its bright lights and non-stop action. Its highs and lows have been captured in movies like "Leaving Las Vegas," on television shows such as "Las Vegas", and of course, in song. We've all heard the phrase "you gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em," just one of the most popular casino songs that people love to sing in Vegas casinos, especially when they win.
"The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers
This song about poker and life, recorded by country and western legend Kenny Rogers in 1978 tells the late-night tale of a meeting between a man (voiced by Rogers) and a gambler on a train. The gambler is not doing well ("out of aces") and after a "last swallow" of whiskey, he gives him some life advice in the language of poker to the chorus:
You 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 youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done.
This poker song ends with the gambler dying (he "broke even") and the narrator taking his advice ("an ace that I could keep.")
"Luck Be a Lady" by Frank Sinatra
"Luck Be a Lady" first appeared in the musical "Guys and Dolls" in the 1950s. Sung by Marlon Brando, it tells the story of a gambler whose future with his dream girl rests on the outcome of a bet. It is remembered today not for this version but for the remake, sung by Frank Sinatra.
"Blackjack" by Ray Charles
Another popular gambling song, "Blackjack" is about a man who has no luck when it comes to the game of 21. Charles sings, "Hey hey hey yeah; How unlucky can one man be; Well every quarter I get;
Lord, blackjack takes it away from me." No matter what happens, he can't seem to win like when the dealer flips a five on sixteen to beat the singer's two tens.
Charles wrote the song in honor of classic blues guitarist T. Bone Walker after taking all his money in blackjack.
Here are some of peoples' favorite gambling songs to sing when piling up the winnings:
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