Casino Music Playlist - Top 11 Gambling Songs of All Time
Gambling songs have always been excellent additions to the playlist of any casino enthusiast. Put your headphones on and prepare to listen to the best gambling-related songs.
While the music mentioned on our list has many casino references, most of them are metaphors for life, risk-taking, or even love. The truth is, many aspects of life can be expressed using poker slang, and many artists use it as a way to send a powerful message to the audience.
While you’re taking a break from your online casino sessions, have a peek at the greatest gambling songs in history:
Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley
Launched in 1964, “Viva Las Vegas” is an all-time hit song by the legendary Elvis Presley, which was the soundtrack of the eponymous musical movie released one year later. Even though Elvis never sang the song live, it has become prevalent and many performers sang it. In 2002, after difficult negotiations with the copyright holders for the song, “Viva Las Vegas” became the official song of Las Vegas.
“Viva Las Vegas” captures the signature glitz and glamour of Sin City. In the movie, Elvis plays a character that visits Vegas and becomes fascinated with the chance of becoming rich from playing casino games. The song’s lyrics have about every gambling archetype, including roulette, dice, blackjack, slot machines, bright lights, and pretty showgirls.
The song could as well serve as advertising for Las Vegas, and it even offers some consolation to the losers:
I’m gonna keep on the run
I’m gonna have me some fun
If it costs me my very last dime
If I wind up broke up well
I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time.
In essence, Elvis Presley emphasizes that gambling is a form of entertaining, and even if you lose against the house, you can still have a blast on the casino floor. Since the release of the song, hundreds of companies and moviemakers used “Viva Las Vegas” as a reference to the luxurious life of a gambler in Vegas.
Poker Face – Lady Gaga
While some might argue that Lady Gaga’s hit “Poker Face” is not the most excellent gambling song in history, we have to give it some credit. Released in 2008 on her debut studio album “The Fame,” the song Poker Face is a tribute to bisexuality and was a critically acclaimed worldwide success, selling over 14 million copies.
The message behind the song is sexual attraction, hidden in poker slang. The poker face refers to the facial expression she makes when she’s having sexual intercourse with a man, but secretly wishes she was with a woman.
For us, the most insightful lyrics from Poker Face are:
I wanna roll with him, a hard pair we will be
A little gambling is fun when you’re with me (I love it)
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)
The meaning of the song’s lyrics isn’t directly related to gambling, but rather to the risks involved in having a relationship with the artist. The reference to Russian roulette is a classic metaphor in the pop-culture community, referring to the fact that there is no love without somebody eventually getting hurt.
Russian Roulette – Rihanna
Russian roulette is a common theme in pop culture. Many stars have been using the metaphor of this deadly game as a reference in their songs. Rihanna’s Russian Roulette is by far the best-executed one so far. Even though the song is not explicitly about gambling, it helps people understand how to deal with pressure and difficult moments in your life.
Ne-Yo, the co-writer of this song, said in an MTV interview that his vision was not only to create a three-minute song but an actual movie. He wanted to create something darker, edgier, and even more morbid, to see how the audience will react.
Of course, the public was taken by surprise, but they loved it. Here are some of the lyrics from Russian Roulette that even to this day, people can sing from memory:
And you can see my heart beating
Ohh-oh, you can see it through my chest
Said I’m terrified, but I’m not leaving, no
I know that I must pass this test.
After a closer analysis of the lyrics, we’ve concluded that Rihanna uses Russian roulette as a metaphor for love. Passing the test means going through pain before reaching the blissful feeling of loving someone, and even then, the risks of losing it all in a heartbeat is still a possibility.
Motörhead – Ace of Spades
For diehard heavy metal fans, “Ace of Spades” by Motörhead is one of the classic gambling songs from their playlist. Motörhead sealed their immortality with this song, especially since it has such a powerful meaning and unforgettable title.
“Ace of Spades” refers to the dead man’s hand, which was the poker hand of Wild Bill Hancock, a sheriff shot dead during an illegal poker game. Despite being sick of the song after years of playing it, Lemmy kept it in the setlist because it was one of the crowd’s favorite tunes.
Here are some legendary lyrics from Motörhead
If you like to gamble, I tell you I’m your man
You win some, lose some, all the same to me
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.
Essentially, the Ace of Spades is a metaphor of death, and it is used to emphasize that taking risks has its consequences. Lemmy is known for having a relationship with casinos, especially the one-armed bandits(slot machines). At least he wasn’t expecting to win every time, and he knew that games of chance have their ups and downs.
AC/DC – The Jack
AC/DC is famous for taking their songs much more seriously than the lyrics. They would finish their masterpieces by writing lyrics that they found funny. “The Jack” is a perfect example of their signature technique. Released in 1975 on AC/DC’s second album T.N.T., this gambling song seems to be related directly to a poker game, more explicitly, a girl that is good at the game.
Let’s have a look at some of the lyrics from “The Jack”:
She was holdin’ a pair
But I had to try
Her deuce was wild
But my ace was high
In an interview with Sounds, lead singer Bon Scott explained the actual meaning of the song. In Australia, “The Jack” is used as a slang for a venereal disease called Gonorrhea. The reason why they used this metaphor to describe an STD is that they were continually getting “friendly” with a lot of ladies. Eventually, all the AC/DC members got “the clap.”
To top things up, during live performances, the artist was pointing fingers at the girls from the front row responsible for the infection. Eventually, whenever they were singing the song, the girls from the audience would run to the back of the crowd so they wouldn’t have to go through an awkward moment.
Kenny Rogers – The Gambler
“The Gambler” is a famous song written by Don Schiltz and recorded by several artists, including Johnny Cash and Bobby Bare. Still, the most popular version belongs to Kenny Rogers. The song was the fifth Rogers hit to become No.1 in the country music charts at the Billboard. The hit also made it to the pop charts at a moment when country songs would rarely cross over with other genres.
The story from “The Gambler” is about a meeting on a train bound to nowhere. The discussion happens between the narrator and a man known as the gambler, who tells the narrator that he noticed he’s out of luck. Therefore, the gambler offers him a great deal – if the narrator gives him the last sip of his whiskey, he will grant him some quality advice:
He said, “Son, I’ve made a life
Out of readin’ people’s faces
Knowin’ what the cards were
By the way, they held their eyes
So if you don’t mind my sayin’
I can see you’re out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I’ll give you some advice.”
The advice is impressively useful, even for a non-gambler. Essentially, the gambler tells the narrator that the secret for survival is knowing “when to hold ’em” and “when to fold ’em.” To be more explicit, knowing what to keep and what to throw away will save you a lot of time and effort. At the end of the song, the narrator mentions that somewhere in the darkness, the gambler broke even. Many critics think that breaking even is a reference to the death of the gambler.
Bob Seger – Still the Same
Bob Seger’s midtempo ballad “Still the Same” is a masterpiece that has a catchy piano melody combined with harmony vocals that give the song an R&B vibe. The story of this beautiful song is about a gambler that Seger looked up to, but eventually changes his mind because he remains the same:
You always said the cards would never do you wrong
The trick, you said, was never play the game too long
A gambler’s share, the only risk that you would take
The only loss you could forsake
The only bluff you couldn’t fake.
One of the most common questions that Bob Seger receives from the press is regarding the meaning of the song. Apparently, the gambler he presents is an amalgamation of characters he met during his first visit to Hollywood. In a nutshell, “Still the same” is about a type of person that uses persuasion to get others to do whatever he/she wants.
Sting – Shape of my Heart
As one of Sting’s greatest hits, “Shape of my Heart,” is an impressive song used at the end of the film Leon starring Natalie Portman and Jean Reno. His explanation for the meaning is that he wanted to describe the life of a gambler who plays to try figuring something out, like mystical logic in luck or a scientific law:
I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart
According to Sting, the derivation of playing cards are a reference to tarot cards. Each suit represents something – diamonds are money, spades, and clubs are weapons used in war, and the hearts are a symbol of love. “That’s not the shape of my heart” is a metaphor for the conflict between fantasy and reality, since the human heart has a different shape compared to the hearts in playing cards.
The Eagles – Desperado
At first glance, “Desperado” describes the story of an outlaw that avoids falling in love. However, after analyzing the lyrics, the song could be about a young artist that learns guitar, joins a rock band, pays his dues, and eventually starts suffering for art. The struggling artist is a recurring theme in songs by The Eagles, and the meaning of “Desperado” might be related to how one must suffer to make great art.
Don’t you draw the queen of diamonds, boy
She’ll beat you if she’s able
You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet
Now it seems to me, some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
For those that enjoy playing poker, this song is filled with meaning. “The queen of hearts” is a reference to a woman you love. The Eagles are trying to point out that choosing money(queen of diamonds) over happiness might be a poor decision. While love requires sacrifices and compromises, it’s a better choice than pushing people away and focusing on riches.
Kendrick Lamar – Vegas
Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer prize in 2018 for his album “DAMN.” which is regarded as a virtuosic collection unified by its authenticity and dynamism, offering affecting vignettes that capture the difficulties of the modern African-American life. Still, Kendrick has some lesser-known songs which are compiled in his Unreleased Songs album.
In “Vegas,” which is one of his greatest unreleased songs, Kendrick opens up about his gambling adventures:
Leave it all on the table even if they catch me cheatin’
Doin’ blackjack, twenty-one, twenty thousand in it
Probably twenty more before I’m done
If gambling’s a sin, then I’m rollin’ dice with Lucifer
To make sure I ain’t losin’ you
Kendrick Lamar is a dynamic artist who can adapt to any music style or message. Despite being an unreleased song, “Vegas” paints a beautiful image of the glamorous City of Sins and warns the audience about the risks of temptation. From good-looking casino waitresses to thrilling blackjack bets, Kendrick’s song is a successful representation of Las Vegas and gambling in general.
The Overtones – Gambling Man
“Gambling Man” is the first single released in 2010 by the British boy band The Overtones. This vintage pop song is tight, having simple lyrics that perfectly combine gambling with love. While this song might not be exactly about gambling, we can all agree to some extent that being in love is similar to a game of chance:
My odds are stacked
I’ve never been a gambling man
I’ve never had the winning hand
But for you, I’d lose it all
“Gambling man: tells the story of a boy that falls in love so hard that, despite not being an actual gambler, is willing to risk it all for a chance to hang out with his girl. Through the use of poker metaphors, like “you could be the queen of hearts” or “blinded by those diamonds,” The Overtones successfully expresses his feelings without overcomplicating the meaning.
The music industry has an abundance of gambling songs, but the majority are not precisely related to casino games. However, this should not stop anyone from enjoying a quality song, which has a powerful message. If you’ve already found your casino bonus codes, open your Youtube or Spotify app, play some casino music and let the fun begin!