On a warm summer's evening on a train bound for nowhere
I met up with a gambler, we were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin' out the window at the darkness
Til boredom overtook us and he began to speak
He said,"Son,I've made a life out of reading people's faces
Knowing what their cards are by the way they hold their eyes
And if you don't mind me saying, I can see you're out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey,I'll give you some advice."
So I handed him the 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 face lost all expression
Said, "If you're gonna play the game,boy, you got to learn to play it right.
You gotta 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 while you're sitting at the table
There'll be time enough for counting when the dealin's done.
Now every gambler knows that the secret to survival
Is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep
Cause every hand's a winner, just like every hand's a loser
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep"
When he finally finished speaking,he turned back toward the window
Crushed out his cigarette and drifted off to sleep
But somewhere in the darkness the gambler he broke even
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep