The 10 Best Poker Songs You Can Play Along To

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Everyone knows that poker is a game that is inherently linked with music. From the first tunes that floated across the Mississippi riverboats, to the latest pop song that builds a lyric around a familiar poker phrase, the game is everywhere.

Whether the buck stops here, another pop star is ‘all in’ for love or someone is complaining about where chips fall, music constantly references the game of poker. We’ve picked ten tracks to kickstart your next grind in the spirit of the game.

1) Lady GaGa, Pokerface

It’s pretty hard to ignore the poker-related content of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, also known as Lady GaGa. This track dates back to 2008, just five years after Moneymaker won the Main Event, which is a very long time ago and already makes us feel old.

GaGa’s tune, which is very loosely a tribute to her rock ‘n’ roll boyfriends and features a very freaky video, shot to fame, although it took three months to reach number one in the U.S. back in 2009. A top-selling hit around the world, the single cover features the letter ‘a’ I Pokerface replaced by a spade. We’re not sure that works.

2) Kenny Rogers, The Gambler

A story within a song about a young man receiving some aged wisdom from an old man whilst the two men share a carriage on a train, this is a poker classic. ‘The Gambler’ in question swaps a bottle of whisky for some pretty basic strategic advice, being that you have to ‘know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em’, which let’s face is kind of obvious.

With a music video that features the late Kenny Rogers himself doling out said guidance, the song went to number one on the U.S. Country music Billboard chart, but only reached #16 on the main chart. Weirdly, despite now having a cult following in the British Isles, it only reached number 22 in the UK singles charts.

3) Garth Brooks, Two of a Kind Working on a Full House

This rather sweet-natured song about starting a family is another country song on the least, confirming that cowboys like cowboys, whether they’re of the hat-wearing man variety or pocket kings pre-flop.

Garth Brooks is a musical institution, so his attempt at blending poker and the notion of adding a baby to an otherwise perfectly fine relationship is forgivable. But the thing is, turning two of a kind, which is called a ‘pair’ Garth, into a full house, requires an awful lot of luck, specifically three cards worth.

The song featured on Brooks’ best-selling album of his career, 1990’s No Fences, proving that Brooks is as inept about setting up restrictive farm boundaries as he is about chasing full houses down the board from having just one pair.

4) Clint Black, A Good Run of Bad Luck

Clint Black’s track about contradiction featured as part of the official movie soundtrack to the 1994 poker movie, Maverick, starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. Maverick himself experiences exactly what Clint is singing about, and the song fits perfectly with the film, including lyrics such as ‘A high roller even when the chips are down’.

The music video — directed by Clint Black himself – is a hoot, if you like knockabout country folk prancing around on the floor while movie clips play at inopportune moments, which we very much do. The song shot to the top of the U.S. and Canadian country music charts, too.

5) Sting, Shape of My Heart

It’s easy to deride the tantric love machine that is Gordon Sumner, but he struck gold with this killer track that features on the soundtrack of the 1994* Film Léon. Sting described the song as being about “a card player, a gambler who gambles not to win but to try to figure out some kind of mystical logic in luck, or chance; some kind of scientific, almost religious law.”

That’s a bit much for us, but some of the lyrics are great, such as the chorus, which goes:

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.

Clever, huh? The song, released in 1993, went to #57 in the UK, but would eventually go to number two and eleven in the singles charts when sampled by Sugababes and Craig David.

*What is it about movies in 1994 that were obsessed with poker?

6) Stevie Nicks, The Dealer

This one is a real hidden number, barely released back in 2014 but originally recorded by Stevie for the 1979 album Tusk by Fleetwood Mac, eventually being dropped from that album. That it would end up on a Greatest Hits album of solo work entitled 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault is something of a tragedy, but the song itself is a corker.

Featuring some great lyrics, such as the opening verse: ‘It was my fault, my move, my game, if I’d known a little more, I’d have run away. It was dark out and I held the cards, I was the dealer and it wasn’t hard’, the song is well worth checking out.

7) Frank Sinatra, Luck be a Lady

It’s hard not to love a Sinatra song when he talks about gambling because he was a bit of a rogue — and let’s be honest, he knew that world intimately. What’s it about, though, other than lady luck. Actually, it’s more about how Frank defines a lady, which gives us some great lyrics like ‘A lady doesn’t wander all over the room and blow on some other guy’s dice.’ But should be taken with a handful of salt from a man who was married on four separate occasions.

When Sinatra sings ‘A lady wouldn’t make little snake eyes at me, when I’ve got my life on this roll’, you have to wonder if the lady in question was just concerned about the flow of alimony.

8) AC/DC, The Jack

We have to put out a disclaimer about this heavy rock track. While it’s a) excellent and b) references a playing card used in poker, it is also c) extremely dated and a little sexist. The ‘jack’ that is sung about actually refers to a sexually transmitted disease — if you’re reading this at a poker table, we apologize if you just retracted your three-bet — not the playing card.

It is, essentially, nonsense, but it contains the highly sing-a-long line: ‘She was holdin’ a pair, but I had to try, her deuce was wild, but my ace was high’.

Whatever the heck that means, it’s gold.

9) Elvis Presley, Viva Las Vegas

Can’t ignore the king in this list and there can be no better exposition of the seedy side of Vegas than in this classic. Essentially, it’s a travel brochure advertisement for Sin City wrapped up in possibly the catchiest song ever produced.

A love letter to the capital city of poker, Elvis threw himself into the performance of this song every time he did it live and while it only reached #29 in the charts on home soil, posthumously, it has become one of the king’s most royalty-earning hits.

10) The Weepies, Vegas Baby

Essentially a road trip song about driving to Las Vegas and spinning up your stack, this sleeper song by cult band The Weepies refers to believing in luck and shooting for the moon as so many people do every year at the World Series of Poker.

Released as part of the 2003 album ‘Happiness’, Vegas Baby was never a single, but perhaps should have been. If it doesn’t feature in a poker movie soon, we’ll write one just to crowbar it in.

From pop to country, rock to roll, and everywhere in between, poker and music go together like aces and kings. Load up your playlist and if these tracks help you win millions in Las Vegas this Autumn at the 2021 World Series of Poker, just remember where you found your inspiration.

Ready? Fire up your playlist and play some online poker, or discover your favorite poker site.

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