The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Music "The Gambler" with Kenny Rogers

I have several songs with Kenny Rogers on my phone, I have "Ruby, don't take your love to town, " Tell it all brother" and several others along with this song. "The Gambler"   It is kinda a short song, but it tells a story and there are nuggets of wisdom in this story basically "know when to hold them and know when to fold them".  To me means "don't lose your head, and don't get caught up in the emotions of the moment, and if you have to fold them and take a small loss, that is better than trying to force your luck and lose big."
     Here some details of the song and the video.

"The Gambler" is a song written by Don Schlitz and recorded by American country music artist Kenny Rogers. It was released in November 1978 as the title track from his album The Gambler which won him the Grammy award for best male country vocal performance in 1980. Bobby Bare had recorded the song earlier that same year in his album BARE CBS KC35314 (1978). The song was written by Schlitz who had recorded it previously, and had charted at #65 on the country charts with it. It was one of five consecutive songs by Rogers to hit #1 on the Billboard country music charts. On the pop chart, the song made #16 in early 1979. It's become one of Rogers's most enduring hits and a signature song. As of November 13, 2013, the digital sales of the single currently stands at 798,000 copies. The song was also recorded by Johnny Cash for his 1978 album Gone Girl.

The song itself tells the story of a late-night meeting on a train "bound for nowhere" between the narrator and an unnamed man who is the gambler. The gambler tells the narrator that he can tell he is down on his luck ("out of aces") by the look in his eyes and offers him advice in exchange for his last swallow of whisky. After the gambler takes the drink (and a cigarette), he gives the following advice:
You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table,
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.
The gambler then mentions that the "secret to survivin' is knowing what to throw away, and knowing what to keep" and that "the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep". At this point, the gambler puts out the cigarette and goes to sleep.
At the end of the song we are told that "somewhere in the darkness, the gambler, he broke even", and that the narrator finds "an ace that I could keep", in his final words. Rogers' rendition in an appearance on TV's The Muppet Show indicates the gambler actually dies in his sleep when he "broke even".


  1. That one also got a LOT of play with the aviators in the military... And I'd never seen the Muppets version. That was good!

    1. Hey Old NFO;

      Thank you, I thought it was a good song and I had used it in English class in High School to tell a story.