The Gambler: Someone once sung this song to me as words of advice.

Some years ago, an much older person gave me, well rather sung this song to me instead of stating their advice when I asked them a question. They even sung it with the classic chorus lines, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,” I thought at the time it was oddest piece of advice I ever received but as life progressed I found it so not odd at all.

The song is told from the first-person perspective about a young man’s conversation with an old poker player on a train. The card shark gives life advice to him in the form of poker metaphors, before dying in his sleep. Actually, the song isn’t really about a card game at all – it’s about handling whatever life gives you. Sometimes it’s called “playing the hand you’re dealt.” The phrase “hold ’em/fold ’em” is quiet a common saying down south of the USA.

In the end, the person speaking to me didn’t die or did they go to sleep. They went in their kitchen and fixed a sandwich but they did say do all you can to make things works and that which doesn’t don’t fall into despair over it for five years from now it won’t matter.  They made it clear they wasn’t speaking of dreadful, horrifying situations you have no control over when they said play the hand you have been dealt.

Kenny Rogers Lyrics
“The Gambler”

On a warm summer’s eve
On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with the gambler
We were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin’
Out the window at the darkness
The boredom overtook us, he began to speak

He said, “Son, I’ve made a life
Out of readin’ people’s faces
Knowin’ what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes
So if you don’t mind me sayin’
I can see you’re out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I’ll give you some advice”

So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly quiet
And his faced lost all expression
He said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

You’ve 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

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep”

And when he finished speakin’
He turned back toward the window
Crushed out his cigarette
And faded off to sleep
And somewhere in the darkness
The gambler he broke even
And in his final words
I found an ace that I could keep

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And 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

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
(When to hold ’em)
Know when to fold ’em
(When to fold ’em)
Know when to walk away
And 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

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And 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

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About unholypursuit

A. White is a long time member of Romantic Time and Publisher's Weekly who has been writing for over fifteen years. She took classes in creative writing in college, specializing in ancient myths and legends. and at a local community center while living in Chicago. In college she won the national contest to verbally list every country in the world, it's capital and ingenious language. Her works are mainly horror, fantasy, extreme, and sci-fi as well as, as some may says, "the truly strange predicament and puzzling." Books that I've written are "Clash with the Immortals, and eleven others which are part of the "Unholy Pursuit saga," which should be finished this year. She has been working on the Chronicles since 2007. She wished to complete them all before introducing them to public so the readers wouldn't have to for the continuation to be written. The ideas of the book came from classic literature such as whose work greatly influence the world world such as Homer, Sophocles, Herodotus, Euripides, Socrates, Hippocrates, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle and many more. The "Book of Enoch" influenced the usage of Azazael as a main character and love interest. I created the primary main character from the Chronicle of Saints. I wanted to show them as real flesh and blood with thoughts, desires and yearning as any human. Not as they are so often depicted. So I created one of my own to show her as a real human that everyone can relate to.
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One Response to The Gambler: Someone once sung this song to me as words of advice.

  1. By the way, the person was of the “Greatest Generation,” a former Rosie the Riveter.

    On Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 4:19 AM, The Novel: UnHoly Pursuit: Devil on my Tra

    Like

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