Shake the dice and steal the rice! What does it mean? No idea! But what we do know is good music about gambling. As far as vices go, the majority of vice-related songs are about sex (nod to Rihanna’s S&M), there are some about drugs (The Verve’s The Drugs Don’t Work), and plenty about drinking (J-Kwon’s Tipsy), but today’s musical vice list comes to you in the form of gambling.
Whether you’re having a little bit of a flutter, or having a binge, there is plenty of musical food for thought when it comes to gambling. Music and gambling have a long history, the best example of a successful partnership are music slot games that hit the right cord with music fans. Others include great commercials and fashion shows.
Here are our faves, but make sure to have a think about your faves too – or just add these 5 to your next Spotify gambling list.
1. Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley
“Got a whole lot of money that’s ready to burn, so get those stakes up higher”
Viva Las Vegas is the creme de la creme of Vegas tunes – an essential for any road trip or flight to the city of madness. Did Elvis put Vegas on the map or did Vegas put Elvis on the map? Either way, the two are still as intertwined as ever, with Elvis impersonators marrying excited folks at plenty of chapels in the city, the most famous being The Chapel of Love.
This song is about going all out in Vegas – needing more hours in the day to gamble, cause havoc, and having love affairs with others and yourself! Turn this one up loud and get rolling.
2. Ace of Spades – Motorhead
“If you like to gamble, I tell you I’m your man, You win some, lose some, all the same to me”
The devil is in the details with this one. Motorhead’s Ace of Spades is sure to get your motor running on a night out. Be careful of this song because you’re likely to lose it all due to getting too overexcited!
The Ace of Spades is about the gambling god drawing you in. He doesn’t care whether you win or lose, he just wants you to play until you go crazy – and you will if you keep listening to this banger. Set it to loud, let loose, and then keep going on a wild night out at the bar with your friends instead of blowing it all at once.
3. The Joker and the Thief – Wolfmother
“All the people that he see in the night, hold their dreams up to the light
The wild beast is searching for sight, and we are not goin’ home…”
The joker. That crazy cat in the pack who either gets discarded before you start or is the true wildcard. The Joker and the Thief is a Wolfmother classic from an Aussie rock band with street cred across the world. This song is cryptic in its messaging but it’s another one that makes you just want to go all out.
You might remember this song from the gambling scene in The Hangover where the guys manage to recoup all their money from doing the casino over by some clever tricks. Just don’t try the same thing as they do or you might end up in a lot of hot water – movies aren’t real life!
4. Poker Face – Lady Gaga
“I wanna hold ’em like they do in Texas, please, fold ’em, let ’em hit me, raise it, baby, stay with me (I love it)”
Pop superstar Lady Gaga came out the gates like a hurricane in 2008, and Poker Face was her second single hitting the number one spot on the charts around the world. This catchy pop-dance smash is really about love – he can’t read her poker face. Whether it’s high stakes in the love game or high stakes in Texas Hold Em, Poker Face is a great track to stick on while you either practice your poker face or hit the casino’s nightclub (request please, DJ!).
A special mention goes out to her follow up track, Love Game, another gambling pop anthem.
5. Luck Be a Lady – Frank Sinatra
“I know the way you’ve treated other guys you’ve been with, luck be a lady with me”
Lady Luck is a fickle mistress. Sometimes she comes to stay and plays nice with you, and at other times she “wanders all over the room and blows on some other guy’s dice.” For those that believe in lucky streaks or lucky tokens, Frank Sinatra’s Luck Be a Lady will remind them that Lady Luck won’t always be with them – but hopefully tonight.
This song was originally performed by Robert Alda, but is a feature tune in the classic musical smash Guys and Dolls. Frank Sinatra’s version is perhaps the best known of all, though. Stick it on and feel like you’re jetting back to the days of the 50’s.
6. The Gambler – Kenny Rogers
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away, know when to run.”
Possibly the most famous of all of the songs about gambling, the lyrics have become a part of the fabric of American life. This song is so wide spread that it was even taught to me for fun when I was in music class in grammar school.
You know a song is widespread when it gets its own made for TV movie! So iconic is the Gambler and Kenny Rogers himself that when seminal jam band Phish played Bonnaroo, they had Rogers onstage to perform the Gambler with them:
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