Skip to content

From Elvis Presley to Lady Gaga: Five Most Popular Casino-Themed Songs

Casinos have inspired some of society’s best art and entertainment. For decades, songs about casinos or inspired by gambling have been popular. They’ve been recorded by some of the biggest names in music, including Elvis Presley and Lady Gaga. Whether you’re trying your luck at a land-based casino, or on the site,  you can enjoy some of these classic hits while playing your favorite games:

Elvis Presley, Viva Las Vegas! (1964)

The iconic casino song is Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas. It describes the thrill of being in Vegas in the 1960s and risking everything on a big bet. Of course, because it’s Elvis, the song also references all the lovely ladies of Las Vegas. Look for the song’s featured percussion, the underappreciated ‘rock’n’roll bongos!

Kenny Rogers, The Gambler (1978)

The Gambler contains one of the most frequently quoted lines in any casino-themed song: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em when to fold ’em, when to walk away, and when to run.” It’s a song about an older gambler offering life advice to a young man he meets on a train.

Kenny Rogers plays a Wild West card shark in the video for The Gambler. He enters a saloon casino and sits at a poker table after taking off his jacket and revolver. Everything from the six-shooter and whiskey to the string tie and Cahill hat is classic Western imagery. The song’s message is timeless, so it’s nice to see a different era of casinos represented.

Motörhead, Ace of Spades (1980)

Ace of Spades is a high-octane anthem to betting and living fast, regardless of the consequences. It adopts the energy of taking big risks for the sake of taking big risks, irrespective of whether or not the bet pays off. Lemmy from Motörhead perfectly captures the wild mood of a gambler at the end of a long night.

Many casino-inspired songs only make passing references to the card games themselves. Ace of Spades does use some casino jargon. The song mentions raising the stakes, doubling one’s stake, and rolling snake eyes. Of course, this is a combination of dice and card game terms, but it does demonstrate that the band most likely enjoyed spending time at the casino when they could.

Iron Maiden, The Angel and the Gambler (1998)

Casinos inspire more than just country singers and rock stars. Iron Maiden is one of the world’s most popular metal bands, so much so that an orchestra has even covered their songs! The song The Angel and the Gambler appear on their 1998 album Virtual XI. The song is written from the angel’s point of view, and it asks the Gambler to reconsider his life.

The full song is over nine minutes long, but the radio version is only about four minutes long. The video’s CGI was avant-garde for the late 1990s, with the band in space playing poker against Eddie, their zombie-mummy-cyborg mascot.

Lady Gaga, Poker Face (2008)

Lady Gaga’s Poker Face was one of the songs that catapulted her to fame. It appeared as a single on The Fame (2008) and The Fame Monster (2009). Poker is used as a metaphor for a relationship in the song. Other casino games, such as roulette, are also mentioned.

The song conveys its message through clever wordplay and puns. For example, the song begins with the line “I want to hold ’em like they do in Texas, please,” a reference to the poker variant and what she wishes to do with her love interest. It is a pop masterpiece that, like Viva Las Vegas, will be popular for many decades to come.