The world of poker certainly has its influences on pop culture and music is one of them! There are two truths we ought to know, musicians love metaphors and life is a gamble after all! Poker has been intertwined with the rock and roll culture and lyricists draw a parallel between poker winnings and the ups and downs in life most often. Let’s take a look at the greatest rock poker songs!
The Clash – The Card Cheat
Poker Players pretend to have things they don’t and pretend to not have things they do, but that’s all part of the game and well within the rules. Bluffing is a skill of its own and players spend years developing the skill to outfox their opponents and know when they’re being duped also. However, for people outside the poker world, it could all account for cheating. Cheating in poker is frowned upon like in any other sport and cheaters certainly pay a heavy price for it!
The Clash’s song celebrates a poker player getting this comeuppance as he’s caught, seized and “…forced to his knees”, indicating that out and out cheating is of zero tolerance on the poker felts.
Joe Strummer’s unmistakable vocals make it a timeless track, perfect for any poker night playlist.
Of a Revolution – That Was a Crazy Game of Poker
This song could actually put a poker player to test as it has several poker terminologies intertwined in its lyrics. So you better know your full house from your royal flush or Omaha from Texas Holdem! Inspired by Stephen King’s epic novel, The Stand, the song tells the story of a man who loses everything in a poker game with the devil: His money, his gold, his possessions, but won’t give up his soul.
AC/DC – The Jack
Poker players might wonder why AC/DC was so fixated on the Jack, the lowest face card. The truth being ‘The Jack’ is Australian slang for gonorrhea, more commonly referred to as ‘The Clap’. While the lyrics make you believe its all poker-related, what everyone misses is the euphemism relating to a time when the band caught the venereal disease.
“…all the cards were comin’
From the bottom of the pack
And if I’d known what she was dealin’ out
I’d have dealt it back”
Grateful Dead – Deal
Robert Hunter’s affinity with western and outlaw culture vocalizes itself in this cautionary tale. As poker play reflects certain life lessons, listener’s are urged to consider beware of their actions: of what they’re “staking”, of predicting the future and watching other players carefully and not becoming a victim of the game.
The elements of blues, rock, and country are fused into one upbeat, all-American track.
Motorhead – The Ace of Spades
For the sheer energy, it’s hard to beat Motorhead’s Ace of Spades: Its relentless riff is paired with lyrics that describe a hedonistic life and surrendering to chance, enjoying anything that comes your way:
“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools
But that’s the way I like it baby
I don’t wanna live forever”
This quick-hit seems to reflect the song’s message that we’re not here for long, and to take life on a lighter note and enjoy it!