Gambling is when a person plays a game of chance/luck and they bet money on the outcome. Think of a casino where you can play roulette, slot machines, blackjack etc. They are all games chance where you can bet your hard-earned cash in the hopes of winning more.


A few of the idioms come from cards as there are many card games that you can play with multiple players.

cards and gambling idioms and sayings

Many idioms originated from gambling and here is a list of them with examples.

  • above board
    meaning – legal, honest
    example – I’ve got a new business opportunity. It’s all above board, would you like to know more.
  • across the board
    meaning – including everything and everyone in a particular group
    example – New punctuality rules apply across the board. If you’re late, your wages will be docked.
  • call a spade a spade
    meaning – talk about something truthfully even if it’s not polite
    example – Mickey calls a spade a spade. He’s a bit blunt but at least he’s honest.
  • cash in one’s chips
    meaning – quit or exchange your winnings for money
    example – The business isn’t making money, we should cash in our chips in and move on.
  • chip in
    meaning – each person contributes labour/money to a cause
    example – If you have the party at your house, we’ll chip in with the cleaning.
  • have an ace up one’s sleeve
    meaning – have a secret advantage
    example – I’ll get the job. I have an ace up my sleeve; my dad is friends with the boss.
  • hit the jackpot
    meaning – the best prize, great success
    example – I found an antique vase worth millions in my attic. I’ve hit the jackpot.
  • hold all the aces
    meaning – have all the power/advantages
    example – If Kieron gets promoted, he’ll hold all the aces. He’ll be a nightmare to work for.
  • put one’s cards on the table
    meaning – be honest and open about one’s feelings/ideas/intentions
    example – He put his cards on the table and told me he didn’t love me anymore.
  • under the table
    meaning – in secret as it’s usually illegal
    example – I gave the interviewer some money under the table. Hopefully, I get the job.

cards and gambling idioms and sayings WITH PICTURES

gambling sayings and phrases
gambling expressions - above board
gambling expressions - across the board
gambling expressions - call a spade a spade
gambling phrases - cash in one’s chips
gambling phrases - chip in
gambling phrases - have an ace up one’s sleeve
gambling phrases - hit the jackpot
gambling sayings - hold all the aces
gambling sayings - put one’s cards on the table
gambling sayings - under the table

You can download a table of cards and gambling idioms and sayings below.

If you’ve enjoyed this page, don’t forget to check out some more sports idioms by clicking on the links below.