The Gambler
Johnny Cash

The Gambler

About 20 years ago, 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' through the window at the darkness
Til' boredom overtook us and he commenced to speak

He said: Son, I've made a life out of readin' people's faces
And knowin' what their cards were, by the way they held their eyes
And if you don't mind my sayin', I would say you're out of aces
"And for one taste of your whiskey, I will give you some advice

So I handed him my bottle, and he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette; then he bummed a light
The night got deathly quiet and his face lost all expression
He said: If you're gonna play the game, boy, you better learn to play it right

'Cos ev'ry gambler knows that the secret to survival
Is knowin' what to throw away and knowin' what to keep
And ev'ry hand's a winner, just like ev'ry hand's a loser
And the best that 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; know when to run
You don't ever count your money while you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin' is done

You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away; know when to run
You don't ever count your money while you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin' is done

And when he finished speakin', he turned back t'ward the window
Put out his cigarette; faded off to sleep
And somewhere in the darkness, the gambler he broke even
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep

You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away; know when to run
You don't ever count your money while you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin' is done

You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away; know when to run
You don't ever count your money while you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin' is done

You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away; know when to run
You don't ever count your money while you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin' is done