20 Songs About Playing Cards

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Written By Julia Mehalko

Julia is a music journalist with a passion for retro songs. She holds a degree in journalism from University of Nevada.

Playing cards have been a popular pastime for many, and many songwriters have sung about playing cards in their songs as a result. In music, the idea of playing cards can be lighthearted, as you’ll see in these songs below. Songwriters find ways to express their love, hope for life, and outlook in this way.

However, songs with dark themes can also be found in this list, as many songwriters have also sung about playing cards with the devil, temptation, and addiction. Below, you’ll see all of these themes and how they revolve around the topic of playing cards!

1. “Deck of Cards” by Hank Williams

The classic song “Deck of Cards” has been covered by many artists over the decades. For the purposes of this article, we’ll just talk about Hank Williams’ version! Williams tells the story of a soldier who gets in trouble when he brings out a deck of cards while in church.

However, when he is asked why he did this, the soldier explains how he sees the story of the bible in this deck of cards — and explains exactly what he sees throughout the rest of the song!

2. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels

“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels is one of the best — and most popular — songs about playing cards. In particular, this song references playing cards with the devil!

The song follows the story of a young man who sells his soul to the devil. In one of the choruses, Daniels sings the lyrics, “’Cause Hell’s broke loose in Georgia and the Devil deals the cards / And if you win you get this shiny fiddle made of gold / But if you lose the devil gets your soul.”

3. “Turn the Cards Slowly” by Patsy Cline

Patsy Cline’s 1957 song “Turn the Cards Slowly” is one of the best country songs about cards! This classic country song opens with the lines, “Turn the cards slowly while you’re dealin’, darlin’ / Please don’t double-deal to win my heart / Turn the cards slowly while you’re dealin’, darlin’ / Don’t go breakin’ rules right from the start.”

Cline goes on to sing about the person she loves — and how they’re recklessly gambling with their relationship. She doesn’t want them to do this. However, towards the end of the song, this issue isn’t resolved, and Cline is left to worry about the state of her romance!

4. “Gimme Some Water” by Eddie Money

Eddie Money’s 1979 song “Gimme Some Water” details a story about a man who has murdered another and subsequently goes on the run. At the beginning of this song, Eddie Money narrates from the point of view of this man and sets the story up.

He sings, “Mama never understood what it’s like for a losing man / When her number one son goes bad playing cards with the Devil’s Hand.”

5. “Draw of the Cards” by Kim Carnes

In the song “Draw of the Cards”, Kim Carnes compares life to playing cards. She explains various aspects of life, both good and bad. However, she also explains that it’s all in the “Draw of the Cards”. We cannot control life. Instead, we must deal with the cards that we draw.

6. “Play Ya Cards” by Mac Miller

Mac Miller’s 2011 song “Play Ya Cards” follows the rapper as he talks about his life, romances, and more. Above all, he talks about women who want to be with him. He explains that he’s not just going to let everybody be with him. Instead, these women need to play their cards correctly!

7. “4% Pantomime” by The Band

The Band’s 1971 song “4% Pantomime” also discusses playing cards! There are many interpretations listeners can find from this song. However, the main gist of the song deals with poker — and how this can be a metaphor for life itself.

The band sings, “Oh, Richard, tell me, is the game poker / I can’t understand who the fool is that holds this joker.”

8. “Let the Cards Fall” by 311

311’s “Let the Cards Fall” compares the uncontrollability of life to playing cards. The band explains that we can’t really control anything. Therefore, why don’t we just “Let the Cards Fall” as they always will? Why put up a fight and try to control or change things?

The band clearly doesn’t believe in this and instead is willing to just go with the flow, in whatever way they can.

9. “The Jack” by AC/DC

AC/DC’s 1975 song “The Jack” follows the band as they compare romance with women to a game of poker. As a result, they explain how they can win and lose in these many different scenarios.

They sing the lyrics, “She’d have the card to bring me down / If she played it right.”

10. “Sweetener” by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande’s song “Sweetener” is another great example of a song that compares life to playing cards. Grande sings about how when life is bitter with the cards it deals you, you can always try to find positivity and light in it. Therefore, this song is really about being an optimist in life whenever you can.

Grande opens this song with the lines, “When life deals us cards / Make everything taste like it is salt / Then you come through like the sweetener you are / To bring the bitter taste to a halt.”

11. “Boondocks” by Little Big Town

Little Big Town’s hit song “Boondocks” discusses being proud of where you’re from no matter what. In this song, the country band explains how they’re from a rural area — and they love it. They don’t care what others think!

As they explain how happy they are with their upbringing, they also discuss some aspects of their life that they love. Therefore, they also mention poker!

They sing, “You get a line, I’ll get a pole / We’ll go fishin’ in the crawfish hole / Five card poker on Saturday night / Church on Sunday mornin’.”

12. “The Devil’s Right Hand” by Waylon Jennings

Waylon Jennings’ song “The Devil’s Right Hand”, which appears on his album Will the Wolf Survive, also talks about playing cards! This entire song follows the narrator as he buys guns — even though his mother warns him that guns are “The Devil’s Right Hand”.

Buying and carrying around guns eventually comes back to haunt the narrator when he kills a man at a card game. Jennings sings, “Well I get into a card game in a company town / Caught a miner cheating, I shot the dog down.”

However, even though the narrator is the one who shot this man, he pleads not guilty. In addition, he also says it was “The Devil’s Right Hand” who shot this man!

13. “Junior’s Farm” by Wings

Wings’ 1974 song “Junior’s Farm” opens with the lyrics, “You should have seen me with the poker man / I had a honey and I bet a grand / Just in the nick of time, I looked at his hand.”

Throughout the rest of the song, the band sings about different people and situations. However, they all end up singing about how they want to go down to “Junior’s Farm”. Above all, this farm is a place where they can lie low and feel free!

14. “Liquid Diamonds” by Tori Amos

Tori Amos’ 1998 song “Liquid Diamonds” can be interpreted in many ways — which is why listeners love this song so much. Amos sings about her feelings and emotions, as well as how an unnamed woman continues to call and seek her.

To better get this point across, she discusses cards. She sings, “Calling for my soul at the corners of the world / I know she’s playing poker with the rest of the stragglers.”

15. “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie” by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie” opens with the lyrics, “Come around you roving’ gamblers and a story I will tell / About the greatest gambler, you all should know him well / His name was Will O’Conley and he gambled all his life.”

As the story progresses, we learn all about this gambler. Dylan explains how he went from town to town and always won poker games. Nobody could beat him.

However, Dylan also explains how this man was a kind soul who never wore flashy outfits or showed off his wealth. Instead, he gave money back to the poor often.

Unfortunately, the story has a sad ending. Dylan explains that this gambler was shot dead by a man who had lost to him!

16. “Queen of Hearts” by Jason Derulo

Jason Derulo compares playing cards to romance in his song “Queen of Hearts”. He explains how the woman he loves is the “Queen of Hearts” in his life. He used to love chasing other things, such as money and cars. However, now he only loves her.

Throughout this song, he references playing cards as he talks about his love for his “Queen of Hearts”!

17. “Fun and Games” by Kelsea Ballerini

Kelsea Ballerini’s song “Fun and Games”, which appears on her 2018 album Unapologetically, compares an ongoing, complicated relationship to a game of cards. Ballerini explains that she and her romantic partner tried to end things. However, they just keep coming back to each other.

She further explains their relationship while talking about cards. She sings, “It’s all fun and games / It’s all poker face / Three a.m., your place / You hold me close like you do your cards.”

This relationship may never end if they continue to go on like this, according to Ballerini. Of course, things could change. Ballerini hints at this by singing, “It’s all fun and it’s all games ’til someone doesn’t wanna play.”

18. “I’m Waiting For Ships That Never Come In” by Kay Starr

Kay Starr’s 1955 song “I’m Waiting For Ships That Never Come In” is a classic example of how playing cards have long been used in songs about romance!

Starr sings about how life can be unfair, or at the very least uncontrollable. Above all, she says that we can’t do anything about what life deals us.

She sings, “Life is only a game of poker / And happiness is the pot / Fate deals you five cards in the cradle / And you play, whether you like it or not.”

19. “New Romantics” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s “New Romantics”, which appears on her hit pop album 1989, follows Swift as she discusses people (including herself) who are romantic, whimsical, and possibly dramatic in their quest for love and life.

As she details these feelings, she also talks about her own romantic scenarios — and compares these moments to playing cards! She sings the lyrics, “We hang back, it’s all in the timing / It’s poker, he can’t see it in my face / But I’m about to play my ace.”

20. “One Time” by Migos

Finally, we have the last song on our list! “One Time” by Migos, released in 2015, follows the rappers as they talk about their life, partying, wealth, and more. As they discuss their money and traveling, they talk about going to Las Vegas to gamble and play poker.

For example, they say, “I’m in Vegas in casinos and I’m betting my poker chips / Just like a spider, I web up the game / People they think it’s Peter Parker here.”