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The Gambler

Kenny Rogers

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 my 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 
 

 

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