Top 10 Greatest Songs About Gambling

Gambling Musical Background

There have been scores of great songs written about or referencing gambling through the ages, covering genres like the Blues, Country, Rock N’ Roll, and even Synth-Pop, but my research shows Mozart wrote no Classical sonatas about 3-team, 6-point NFL parlays.

Gambling Songs like Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady” (1950), Ray Charles’ “Losing Hand,” (1957), BB King’s “Gambler’s Blues” (1967), Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” (1973), and The Jack by AC/DC (1975), all have some gambling themes or references. Other songs about gambling like “House of the Rising Sun” (1964) by The Animals, “Kentucky Gambler” (1975) by Merle Haggard. “The Card Cheat” (1979) by The Clash and “The Angel and The Gambler” (1998) by Iron Maiden also touch upon the subject.

Although no one has really touched on online gambling in songs just yet, most gamble songs can range from being the whole point of the song or include a lyric or two, so let’s look at my 10 Greatest Songs about Gambling with sound being an important factor.

Top 10 Gambling Songs and Artist in Order

1. The Gambler by Kenny Rogers

  • Genre: Country
  • Year: 1978
  • Album: The Gambler
  • Highest Spot on Charts: #1

This classic song was penned by Don Schlitz in 1976 and made famous by Kenny Rogers as the title track for his popular 1978 released album which hit #1 in the Country charts, earning Rogers 1980 Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1980.

About Poker, the classic line “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em” has become iconic and because of the popularity, thematic subject matter, great lyrics, and title, this song is the top song on a number of great Gambling Songs lists.

2. Ramblin’ Gamblin Man, Bob Seger System

  • Genre: Rock N’ Roll
  • Year: 1968
  • Album: Ramblin’ Gamblin Man
  • Highest Spot on National Charts: #17

This song was written by Detroit native Bob Seger and the original studio version was actually released in mono and was never available to the public until 2011. The song was Seger’s first Top 20 song and was off the popular album bearing the same name.

3. Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley

  • Genre: Rock N’ Roll
  • Year: 1964
  • Album: Released as single
  • Highest Spot on BillboardHot 100: #29

“Lady Luck please let the dice stay hot, Let me shoot a seven” Elvis sings on this classic which The King never sang live and which was released as a single with his classic film Viva Las Vegas back in 1964. Bright light city gonna set my soul, Gonna set my soul on fire…

4. Poker Face by Lady Gaga

  • Genre: Synth-Pop/Dance-Pop
  • Year: 2008
  • Album: The Fame
  • Highest Spot on Billboard Hot 100: #1

This catchy song done in in the key of G♯ minor reached #1 in at least 20 countries and was the debut single from lady gaga’s second studio album and was written by her (Stephanie Germanotta) and was the b-b-b-best-selling single worldwide in 2009.

5. Ramblin’ Man by The Allman Brothers Band

  • Genre: Country Rock
  • Year: 1973
  • Album: Brothers and Sisters
  • Highest Spot on Billboard Hot 100: #2

Written and sung by group guitar player Dickie Betts, Ramblin Man was the Allman Brothers Band only single to ever reach the Top 10 and was inspired by the song with the same title by Hank Williams back in 1951 and topped at #12 on the Easy Listening chart.

6. (Tie) Dead Flowers and Tumbling Dice by The Rolling Stones

  • Genres: Country Rock, Rock N’ Roll
  • Years: 1971, 1972
  • Albums: Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street

Written by the Glimmer Twins, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Dead Flowers was recorded at Olympic Studios in London in April 1970, and was influenced by Gram Parsons, a friend of Richards’ then when the World’s Greatest Rock N’ Roll band dabbled in Country music.

7. Ace Of Spades by Motorhead

  • Genre: Rock N’ Roll
  • Year: 1980
  • Album: Ace of Spades
  • Highest Spot on UK Singles Chart: #15 (November, 1981)

The title track of British rockers Motorhead 4th studio album, Ace of Spades—#408 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time—the song Ace of Spades was released on October 27, 1980 and was the group’s debut single released in the US (Mercury Records).

8. Vegas by Doja Cat

  • Genre: Hip Hop
  • Year: 2022
  • Album: Elvis

The lead single from the 2022 Elvis Presley biopic, “Elvis,” for superstar Doja Cat and very popular right now, Vegas contains a sample from the song “Hound Dog,” recorded in 1952 by Big Mama Thornton and covered and made famous by Memphis native Presley.

9. Mo Money, Mo Problems by The Notorious B.I.G.

  • Genre: Hip Hop
  • Year: 1997
  • Album: Life After Death
  • Highest Spot on Billboard Top 100: #1

Produced by Sean “Puffy” Combs for Bad Boy Records, this song about gambling went all the way to #1 for two weeks and was the Notorious BIG’s second posthumous #1 (Hypnotize) and which has a wonderful sample of the song “I’m Coming Out” by the great Diana Ross.

10. Vegas by Kendrick Lamar

  • Genre: Hip Hop
  • Year: 2015
  • Album: To Pimp A Butterfly

One of the original 40 songs recorded for Lamar’s album To Pimp A Butterfly as an interlude, the lyrics in this song talk about Casino games Craps, Blackjack, and 21, and are used in the context of trying to gamble to win the heart of a Woman he was in love with.

Conclusion: “The Gambler” Still the Cream of the Crop

A 23-year-old Schlitz had no idea his gambling song would be performed by so many people and ultimately become a theme song in a way for Gambling and be considered by many as one of gambling songs of all-time. Kenny Rogers put it on the map, but Schlitz wrote it.

Shel Silverstein asked Bobby Bare to record this gambling masterpiece but his version never became that popular so Schlitz decided to record it himself and it hit #65 on the charts. Country legend Johnny Cash also used it on his album Gone Girl.

But the now 81-year-old Country Hall of Fame member (2013) Rogers helped make this one of the greatest songs about gambling and usually the first song most over the age of 30 think about when considering what are some of the best gambling songs of all-time.

About the Author
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Rick Rockwell
Sports/Casino Writer
Blog and News
Rick has been a professional writer for over 14 years with an extensive resume spanning projects and clients from around the world. But, his passions have always been sports and sports betting. Whether it’s being a credentialed media member to major sporting events, climbing into a racecar or a pro wrestling ring, Rick’s sports and sports betting knowledge, passion and versatility is on display with each article he writes for TSG.

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