The Gambler

Album: The Gambler (1978)
Charted: 22 16
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  • In 1981, the fragrance company Jovan attracted many new customers by sponsoring the Rolling Stones tour. In 1983, they teamed up with Kenny Rogers, not just for the tour sponsorship, but also to launch two new scents: The Gambler and Lady. The Gambler is musky, with top notes of laurel and juniper.

Comments: 26

  • George Pope from Vancouver BcHow good was this gambler, that he now had so little he couldn't even light a cigarette with his own matches? (penny a pack) Chairman, I think you've covered this already; thank you; I just noticed after I posted.
  • Amankwa from Damongo,savannah,ghanaEducative song. Well done!
  • Chairman from JohannesburgThe glaring yet subtle message, overall, is that the conman always trumps the gambler. The stranger makes up a whole lecture on gambling, with made up gambling rhetoric, just to score a young drink & a smoke from a curious, rather helpless gambler. (ditto if he had a guitar instead of cards, the opportunistic conman would feign music speak, one imagines, to siphon same treats).
    The layers of irony are not lost, not least for their storytelling beauty & simple poetry. A poker lesson from a “non card playing” conman, whose true skill is picking out his potential victims (..reading people’s faces..) Every conman knows it’s the the appetite for quick wins/instant gratification that makes y’all blindly gullible.
    Now, my bet is you found this to be thoroughly insightful, accurate input. Or at least original.
    Wanna bet?
  • John Molineaux from FloridaSounds like a lot of good advice, doesn’t it? Well, it’s a scam: I see only one small piece of advice in the entire song. What does he advise us about walking away? Nothing, just that you ought to know when. About holding or folding? Nothing, just that you ought to know when. When is when?

    The only advice he offers is that if somebody’s trying to get your stuff from you, you ought not to tell him how much stuff you got. Not much return on the investment of a swallow and a smoke. And the evidence of his wisdom is that he doesn’t even have a cigarette to his name nor a match to light it with.

    Maybe the message here is that you ought to choose your advisers with care.
  • Marilu G.montalvo from Lake Jackson. TexasMet Ken when filming THE GAMBLER, along wth. Old Cowboys, R.I.P. KENNY RODGERS.
  • Ricky from CaliforniaInvesting is like gambling and you have to "know when to walk away". I walked away from my 60/40 investment portfolio to 100% treasuries in 2019 just before the 2020 crash. Thank you Kenny and you probably broke even and died in your sleep.
  • MiskicI love the part about not counting your money at the table. Its like the gambler told him to focus on the present moment and not to rush things, as many of us do in situations both good and bad.
    Later he tells why - cause every hand's a winner, and every hand's a loser, so its up to you to play them the best you can, no matter which cards you got.
    One of the best songs that tell about the focus on the now moment.
    At least how I see it.
  • OmikronJpgfile: that's a pretty funny comment.
    Though, if you want to look at it seriously, I guess the gambler explained that it's good to KNOW when to hold or fold, learning the when's is up to oneself I suppose.
    I'm guessing plenty of people have a 'playing' style that focusses either on going all in all the time, or fold as soon as they can. Being reminded of the alternative can be very insightful. all metafors for whatever you need it to be applicable to, naturally.
    Not counting your 'money' at the table, always kinda resonates with me like "don't worry too much about what you can lose."
    "When the dealin's done" can obviously be seen as a metafor for the gambler dying: worry about the sum of your life afterwards, not so much during it. If you know when to "hold" and when to "fold", everything will work out in the end.
    Again, figuring out the specifics is down to the individual and what they want to accomplish.
    I'm not quite sure if I agree with all of it, but it's a nice enough sentiment for a country song.
  • Jeff from WalkerJeff from St.Louis,MO.
    As a child from the 70's & 80's this song brings back memories of trips to see my grandparents. They lived in a double wide in Salem, MO. it would be so hot inside that trailer and wasps flying all over the place. Grandpa would say "don't show them that your scared son." Wasp don't care if your scared when you sit in a chair with a nest under it.
    And it was always a blast to ride in Grandpa's Diplomat Wagon, he drove like he was running late. FAST. We didn't wear seat belts so me and my cousins would get tossed all over those vinyl seats.
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenJpgfile: Yeah, what's the "ace that he could keep?" He told him what to know, but gave him no help in learning it.
  • Jpgfile from Galloping Hard On The PlainsEver notice how the old gambler never actually gives him any advice?
    "What can you tell me, friend?"
    "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em…"
    "Yeah yeah, I know that. But WHEN should I hold or fold?"
    "…know when to walk away, know when to run…"
    "When I'm several hands up? Or just a gut feeling?"
    "You never count your money…"
    "Oh, I'll know how much money I have. But when should I fold?"
    "…'til the dealin's done"
    "Look, mister, this is like Tommy Lasorda telling me I gotta know when to pitch to the batter and when to walk 'im. WHEN??"
    "You gotta know when to hold 'em…"
    "You mooched a cigarette, a lighter, and my last drop of liquor, and that's all you can tell me?"
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 29th 1978, "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #84; and seventeen weeks later on February 25th, 1979 it peaked at #16 {for 1 week} and spent 22 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on December 10th, 1978 it reached #1 {for 3 weeks} on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart; it was his third #1 record of the year, the other two were "Love or Something Like It" for 1 week and "Every Time Two Fools Collide", a duet with Dottie West, for 2 weeks...
    The song's composer, Don Schlitz, released his own version earlier in 1978; it peaked at #65 on the Hot Country Singles chart.
  • Scott from Bothell, WaAm I the only listener who ever wondered if the narrator murdered the gambler? ;-)
  • Luke from Manchester, United Kingdom- Dean, it's a JUKE Box as in "from a Juke Joint"
  • Shaun from Warrington, United KingdomA grand song and one that has got me through 32 years in an aggressive workplace, by knowing when to duck.
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, FlAn old simple CW tune that speaks to many people.
  • Hank Dahling from Fort Wayne , InThis song is played/ sung on the Hit TV show King of The Hill not once but twice!
  • Pep from Mexico, MexicoJust great one regardless of its meaning as of poker or life. cuts both ways.
  • Shawn from Green Bay, WiI know this is a poker anthem, but this song is not about poker; it is about life. The bridge is the thematic part of the song. It is saying none of us were dealt winner of loser lives. Our lives are what we make of them. You have to know what and who to throw away and what and who to keep. You have to know when to go for it, when to fold, when to walk away, and when to run. Classic song with a great message.
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI didn't know The Gambler died in his sleep.that's the way to go in your sleep.One of my favorite songs! It was used in the Muppet show,I want all seasons of The Muppet show,Kenny Rogers,Star Wars,Lynda Carter,Cheryl Ladd,and Christopher Reeve.
  • Dean from Sydney,What a great song to put on the duke box in the pub. A real drinking ditty. P.S. Guy, they don't 'hurry' the last bar, it's a syncopation which I don't think works as well recorded as it would in a live performance.
  • Scott from Boston, MaOne of my dad's friends sings this everytime there's karaoke at a cookout or party and it got me addicted to this song. I'm not a big country fan or a big Kenny Rogers fan, but I love this song. I'm 18 and I sing it every time I play poker w/ my friends and they just stare at me.
  • Jeff from Austin, TxThis song is the reason I started playing poker about 25 years ago. I was a very impressionable 6 yr old
  • Josh from TorontoOnly compared to a few songs in my walk down Memory Lane...in my Grampa's car which I was in near every day, he would play that too often, and whenever we played cards together. The metaphors in this mean nothing to me-just the beat, the sound and the good memories. Every time I hear this song I just stop what I'm doing and listen.
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaWeird how they hurry the dialog on the very last phrase.
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaFun story song. Replete with evey poker metaphor on earth. Still, kind fun & catchy.
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