Gambler Tuesday

A coder’s lament

Doing what I normally do when leading up to Gambler Tuesday, I search around Twitter looking for people talking about “The Gambler.” One day, a couple weeks back, I came across this twoot:


I thought to myself, “Self, this seems really interesting. You should click on it.”

So I did.

What I found was nothing short of magic. It’s a parody of “The Gambler” from the perspective of a commuting code monkey. Here’s a small sample:

Now every coder knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
Cause every lines a keeper and every line is buggy,
And the best that you can hope for is to manage project creep.

I would love to hear somebody cover this. It’s just absolutely brilliant.

Jim Santanella gives us a new ‘Gambler’ and an interview

Do you hear that? Do your ears deceive you?

Oh, yes that’s a new cover of “The Gambler” by Seattle musician Jim Santanella who was kind enough to send it our way and let us feature it in the playlist. I gotta tell you, in the few years I’ve done this, this might be the best Gambler Tuesday ever.

Not only did Jim gives us this great cover, he also answered a few burning questions.

Who are you? Where are you from and what’s your musical background?

My name is Jim Santanella and I am a singer-songwriter originally from the New York/New Jersey area. I moved to Seattle from New York City in 2000 and continue to call the Pacific Northwest home. I have released three albums, as well as “The Gambler” single, independently on my Squatter Records label.

What drew you to covering “The Gambler”?

I was always drawn to “The Gambler” as a kid because my parents were playing that Kenny Rogers album constantly throughout our house in NJ and still have their original LP in my record collection. (I toyed with the idea of replicating the cover with a modern day photo shoot for my version.) But I really ended up recording it because “The Gambler” popped in my head while I was checking out my friend Perry Morgan’s band, Blue Spark, play at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard (a Seattle neighborhood). I remember thinking the singer, Garth Reeves (previously of Goodness), would sound great singing a version of “The Gambler”. I told Perry that they should cover the song. Perry laughed a little and said yeah, yeah, yeah. But I could tell he was never even gonna tell him. So, I decided to do it instead. I originally started working on it as an acoustic version. While working on it, I was also messing around with a drum loop that was pretty punk. Next thing I knew, I was laying “The Gambler” chord structure over the loops on the electric guitar. The vocals were a mix of me singing laid back in a low register and a backup screaming vocal that was strait up New York Hardcore (I was going for Agnostic Front/Cro-Mags). When it was done, I played it a few times and then my wife came in to our detached garage where my studio was and asked me to play it again. That moment of acceptance is probably the only reason this song made it this far. I then sent the song to longtime friend and engineer Tom Camuso (Steve Earle, Madeski Martin & Wood, John Scofield) for a listen and he wanted to get involved. He asked to send the ProTool session over to him in NYC and said he would fool around with it and make it sound better. Tom added some guitars and brought in Anthony Krizan (Spin Doctors, John Waite, Noel Redding) for the drums and additional guitars including the solo and Greg Faiella to play bass on the final mixes.

Have you figured out when to hold ‘em or when to fold ‘em?

Such a great line that can apply to almost every aspect of your life. Let’s put it this way, I am getting better at these types of decisions.

What’s the best advice you’ve received you consider an ace you’ve kept?

You never fail until you stop trying.

What’s the most you’ve ever had when the dealing was done? Did you walk or run?

My favorite gambling story is playing black jack when I was in Puerto Rico and I had the first seat to the left of the dealer. I was new to the game at the time and clearly inexperienced. The people to my left were pissed that I was taking cards when I shouldn’t be and I ultimately ended up taking their face cards. The whole table was cursing and talking under their breath about my lack of blackjack knowledge. Even the dealer shook her head at me on one occasion. I played a few hands but ran away before it got too out of hand. Advise: If you are new to blackjack, sit to the right of the dealer, not the left.


I’d like to thank Jim for taking the time to answer these questions. As you can tell, he has some deep musical roots and great musical connections. I’d recommend gonig out picking up not only the single for “The Gambler,” but I also recommend you picking up one of his albums. Get them at emusic, Amazon, iTunes, or CD Baby.

Punk version of “The Gambler” coming soon

According to Seattle-based songwriter, Scott Andrew, musician Jim Santanella is working on a “punked-up version” of “The Gambler.”

This is already album art:

Jim Santanella - The Gambler

According to Santanella’s web site, it should be coming soon and will be available at all the major online mp3 stores including Amazon, iTunes, and eMusic.

I can’t wait to hear this. I have a feeling it’s going to be awesome.

Mike Doughty explains when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em

About a week ago, Mike Doughty played a Question Jar show at The Independent in San Francisco. I was hoping he’d play “The Gambler” and even brought my Flip in anticipation that he’d play it.

Unfortunately, over two shows, he didn’t play it. I was a little disappointed.

Luckily, though, early in the first set, he was asked “How do you know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em?”

I freaked out and quickly fired up the the Flip and got most of his answer.

On a quick note about finding new versions of “The Gambler,” I’ve started trolling through ReverbNation, PureVolume, The Live Music Archive, and, of course, the stand-by of all stand-by’s, MySpace. If you know anybody that’s recorded or if you’ve recorded it yourself, please send it in, and I’ll add it to the playlist.

Penny Arcade loves The Gambler

Apparently, the fellas over Penny Arcade are just as excited as I am that “The Gambler” is hitting Rock Band.

A new Gambler and a way to create your own

It’s been a while since I’ve done a few things here.

1) I haven’t written anything in a good long while. I apologize for this.

2) I haven’t posted a new Gambler.

Luckily, today, I’m remedying both.

I’m what you could call something of a video game player. I’m not necessarily good at them, but they make for great stress relievers. I also peruse video game news sites/blogs. With that said, I got excited when I saw that a country track pack was being produced for Rock Band, and that it includes the immortal classic “The Gambler” on it. I don’t own the game, but this really makes me want to buy it.

With all that said, if you were to pick up the track pack and, say, record yourself performing “The Gambler” with friends or even by yourself, I will post your video right here on

Up next: A new Gambler.

While trolling through Amazon’s MP3 store, I came across a version by the venerable Johnny Cash. I heard there was one out there, but never really tried to chase it down, but now that I’ve actually found, I posted it. On a quick side note, Cash is one of my all-time favorite musicians.

I hope you enjoy his take on “The Gambler” as much I have.

Life’s little lesson

There’s no denying the greatness “The Gambler.” Just listen to the lyrics. They can help you come to a solution for any problem life hands you.

Girlfriend problems? You got to know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em.

Found a big satchel of money a few hundred feet from drug deal gone wrong? Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

Stephen over at created a nice flowchart mapping out the epic classic.


Hello world!

Welcome to the new

The site has been redesigned and reworked to act as more of a music blog and celebration Kenny Rogers’ epic classic “The Gambler.”

As with the spirit of the site, I will post performances of “The Gambler” I find on different social media sites including YouTube, Vimeo, MySpace, Facebook, and many others.

If you should ever find a performance that you think should be played on this web site, feel free to email me.

If you have a recorded performance of the classic, once again, send it to me, and I’ll put into the rotation above.

What’s the deal with the music player?

The player above features performances that I have found on the Live Music Archive. The player will only show up on Tuesday (hence the name of the web site). I should note that Monster Boy Flappy Bat submitted his own version. Thank you for that.

I feel I’m using all the music in the spirit of Fair Use. If your music is featured in the player above and you don’t want it there, I will gladly take it out.

With that said

Please enjoy the web site and have a great time. Below, I’m featuring the song done by the man himself, Kenny Rogers.

© 2008-2009 Gambler Tuesday
Powered by Wordpress and made by Guerrilla