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.