Top 30 Gambling Phrases and Idioms In 2023

 Top 30 Gambling Phrases and Idioms In 2024

Hi dear English learners! I hope you are enjoying learning English online. Have you ever participated in gambling and betting events?

Do you know what to say while gambling and how to talk about it? If you are unexperienced in this area, don’t worry!

Follow me through this lesson to learn everything you need to know about gambling.

Today I’m going to teach you the top 30 gambling phrases and idioms in 2023. Lest begin!


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Top 30 Gambling Phrases and Idioms In 2023

1- Ace in the hole

Meaning: a hidden advantage

Example: The new engine design is our ace in the hole – but we have to keep it secret from our competitors.

2- According to Hoyle

Meaning: properly, in accordance with established procedures

Example: Barbara always tries to take shortcuts, but i like to do everything according to Hoyle.

3- All bets are off

Meaning: If all bets are off, then agreements that have been made no longer apply.

Example: If interest rates rise, all bets are off when it comes to our travel company investments.


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4- All the marbles

Meaning: the entire prize or reward

Example: The tennis match came down to a single tie-breaker for all the marbles.

5- Bet the farm

Meaning: risk everything; spend all one’s money on something in hopes of success

Example: I bet the farm on that investment, and it failed. Now I’m completely broke.

6- Behind the eight ball

Meaning: at a serious disadvantage

Example: After losing our star goalie, our team was behind the 8-ball.

7- Bet your bottom dollar

Meaning: bet all money you have on something.

Example: He was so excited that he bet his bottom dollar on the horse race gambling.


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8- Busted flush

Meaning: a failure, someone or something that seemed promising but did not develop well

Example: It’s true that our new striker hasn’t done well this year, but it’s too soon to call him a busted flush.

9- Break the bank

Meaning: exhaust one’s financial resources

Example: let’s take our daughter out to dinner. One restaurant meal won’t break the bank.

10- Call a spade a spade

Meaning: to speak frankly and directly about a problem

Example: Let’s call a spade a spade: Mary wasn’t “borrowing” company funds; she was stealing.

11- Cash in one’s chips

Meaning: to take advantage of a quick profit

Example: It’s better if we cash in our chips now – there are too many dangers if we try to reinvest the profits we’ve made.

12- (come) down to the wire

Meaning: uncertain to the very last moments

Example: As we go into the fifth round of this title fight, one well-timed punch could win it for either fighter right now.

We can expect it to go down the wire, as the winner could well be determined in the last seconds.

Note: this idiom comes from racing, when a winning racer (horse or human) breaks a small wire at the end.

13- (The) die is cast

Meaning: It refers to a situation where the decision has been made, things are already in motion, and there’s no going back, so you have no control over it.

Example: The die was cast from the moment i made a huge all-in bluff on the river, and I had to sit and wait till my opponent made a decision.

14- Dark horse

Meaning: an unknown or little-known person who suddenly wins in a competition.

Example: No one expected that dark horse to win the bet tonight.

15- Have an Ace up your sleeve

Meaning: If you have an ace up your sleeve, you have something that will give you an advantage that other people don’t know about.

Example: The coach has an ace up his sleeve – he has a new forward rested and totally ready to go.


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16- Have a lot riding on (something)

Meaning: be depending on the successful outcome or development of something

Example: After problems with their emissions systems damaged sales, volkswagen has a lot riding on their new products.

17- Have hand of aces/hold all the aces

Meaning: to be in a very strong position in a competition

Example: Right now, don has a hand of aces as he tries to get a new job – he’s smart, he’s young, and he has a long record of accomplishments already.

18- Hit the jackpot

Meaning: unexpected good luck that brings everything the person desires or even more.

Example: I really hit the jackpot when i invested in Brazilian energy stocks.

19- Luck of the draw

Meaning: When the situation comes down to the luck of the draw, the players can’t do much but hope that luck is on their side

Basically, this means that you got a favorable outcome in something that you have no control over, like games of chance.

Example: Most of the players at the online poker table I played yesterday were beginners, so I came home with more money than I hoped for.

Talk about having the luck of the draw. I wish I could always find myself in such soft games.

20- Make bets in a burning house

Meaning: betting on a positive outcome when the circumstances around you state otherwise.

Example: it’s not wise to double down in blackjack when you have a weak hand, unless it’s part of your strategy.

21- (To) play one’s ace

Meaning: to deploy one’s strongest asset

Example: it’s time to play our ace and put our strongest player back on the field.
Note: this idiom is rather rare. “Play one’s ace card” is also used.

22- Play the percentages

Meaning: bet on or rely on what is most likely to happen

Example: In this case it’s best to play the percentages rather than making an unconventional choice.


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23- Play your cards right

Meaning: the action of exploiting a situation in the best way possible to gain the maximum chance of success.

Example: I’ve been preparing for this interview for two weeks now, and I think I’m finally ready to go in.

If I play my cards right tomorrow, I’ll start making enough money to retire in a couple of years.

24- Put your money where your mouth is

Meaning: This gambling idiom refers to backing up one’s actions with a financial commitment.

It’s usually said to a gambler who’s making too many statements but not backing them up with any bets.

Example: I am going to play in an upcoming slots tournament in one of my favorite online casinos, but cards are stacked against me in this game since the house has an edge.

25- Roll the dice on

Meaning: take a risk

Example: I’m going to roll the dice on the plant renovation. If the market collapses, we’ll be in trouble, but I think it’s needed.

26- Run the table

Meaning: win every game or contest

Example: Even if we run the table, the best we can do is a tie for the conference championship.

Note: The origin is in the game of billiards, where to run the table is to sink every ball. This is still used most often in sports contexts.

27- Show your cards

Meaning: reveal your resources or plans

Example: Don’t show your cards too early in the negotiations. Keep them guessing as long as you can.

28- Tip one’s hand

Meaning: reveal one’s advantages; reveal useful information that one possesses

Example: We want the contract. Be open in the negotiations, but don’t tip your hand too soon.


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29- Upping the ante

Meaning: increasing the stakes in a specific situation or wagering more than was initially planned.

Example: He has really upped the ante this year as his focus on high roller tournaments resulted in huge profits. His decision to play higher buy-in events was very rewarding.

30- When the chips are down

Meaning: when a situation becomes urgent or difficult

Example: Jerry often seems lazy, but when the chips are down you can depend on him to help.

Note: This expression comes from poker, where “chips” are used as tokens.

Gambling phrasal verbs

Now that you learned the top 30 phrases and idioms about gambling, it is also good to review a few phrasal verbs that you need to know when talking about gambling.

1- Gamble on (someone or something)

Meaning 1: to risk an amount of money by betting on a particular person or outcome.

Example: If you gamble on the winning boxer, you’ll make a lot of money tonight.

Meaning 2: to predict or anticipate something.

Example: I’m hiding in the closet because I didn’t gamble on my ex-boyfriend coming to this party too!

2- Gamble (something) away

Meaning: to lose or deplete the entirety of something through gambling.

Example: Please tell me you didn’t gamble away our savings at the poker game tonight.

3- Take a gamble

Meaning: to do something risky or attempt something that might fail in order for a chance at success, fortune, etc.

Example: I know I’m taking a gamble by starting a business in a recession, but I don’t want to put off my dream any longer.


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Concluding note

Today we learned 30 top phrases and idioms about gambling.

Whether you participate in gambling events or not, it is necessary to know the most common phrases and idioms that are used in this field so that when

you hear about or want to talk about it you can use the right words and phrases. I hope you enjoyed this lesson today.

Try using these phrases and idioms in your conversations to learn them better. And visit my web page for more interesting English lessons!



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Hi there, welcome to my website! I’m Omid and now you are reading the text of a passionate teacher. I’ve been teaching the English language for about 12 years while applying different updated methods of teaching. It’s my absolute pleasure that you are visiting my website. Here we go with the hope of improving your English language capabilities using various methods. Let’s learn English together here.