Can cards teach us Valuable Lessons about Life?Ever since Kenny Rogers penned "The Gambler", and possibly even earlier, card players have drawn parallels between poker games and life, and have extracted poker wisdom into sayings and truisms. In what is euphemistically known as "the game of life" (a.k.a. destiny, fate), we are all dealt different hands. (source: here)
As Kenny Rogers so aptly put it in his song, "The Gambler,"
"Every hand's a loser and every hand's a winner."
It comes down thus to how you play the cards you're dealt.
This is a great song for studying for many reasons! It is very rich on action, simple but important words that in this song are linked to the life picture so that they make sense and stay in memory. Not to mention its lyrics... making it very nice to listen to.
on a train bound to nowhere on the puppet show.
The song itself tells the story of a late-night meeting on a train "bound for nowhere" between Rogers (as narrator) and an unnamed old man who is the gambler. The gambler tells Rogers that he can tell Rogers is down on his luck ("out of aces") by the look in his eyes and offers him advice in exchange for the last swallow of whisky Rogers has. 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. So we asssume that he died.
the setting on the videoclip
NOTE: Although the gambler may have not died in the song and he may have "just been sleeping". This would hardly be "breaking even" (a phrase the song uses) after he states "the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep".
You 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
Every gambler knows that the secret to survive is
Knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep
'Cos every hand's a winner and every hand's a loser
And the best that you can hope for is that I end asleep
I met up with a gambler,
too tired to sleep
So we took turns
The boredom overtook us
and he began to speak
He said, son I've made a life out of ....
they held their eyes
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 his face lost all expression
Said, if you're gonna play the game, boy,
you gotta learn to play it right
when the dealin's done
when he finished speakin',
he turned back for the window
Crushed out the cigarette,
faded off to sleep
the gambler he broke even
Last summer I read:
Vernon set out to find the reclusive cardsharp, discovering a fascinating and dangerous kingdom of games and tricksters along the way of the elusive center deal.
Johnson details exciting anecdotes of scams, hoaxes, and instances of conjuring . . . His stories unfold like magic." --David Blaine, Entertainment Weekly
In the 1920s, during an era when Americans were crazy for magic, Dai Vernon earned a reputation as a genius of the magical arts. When hard times descended after the crash of '29, the lights of New York faded, audiences dwindled, and Vernon headed west. Little did he realize that his life was about to change.
In Wichita, Kansas, while swapping secrets with a Mexican gambler, Vernon was told a story he didn't quite believe, the tale of a legendary cardsharp who could pull off the impossible--dealing perfectly from the center of the deck. Vernon set out to find the reclusive cardsharp, discovering a fascinating and dangerous kingdom of games and tricksters along the way. Did he finally get his man or did the greatest cardsharp who ever lived just vanish into thin air?
A story with the nostalgic quality of an old-fashioned fable, The Magician and the Cardsharp is a unique and endlessly entertaining piece of history.