play your cards right


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play (one's) cards right

To act adeptly and with good judgment; to make the best and most effective use of the resources at one's disposal. Primarily heard in US. The bosses have been impressed with your work so far. If you keep playing your cards right, you could see a promotion inside of a year. I'm really hoping Janet will agree to go on a second date, but I'll have to play my cards right tonight! That's the last time you play hooky, mister! From now on, I'm dropping you off at school every morning!
See also: card, play, right

play your cards right

mainly BRITISH
If you play your cards right, you use your skills to do what is needed in order to succeed. Soon, if she played her cards right, she would be head of the London office. He was convinced he could actually win the election provided that he played his cards right. Note: The reference here is to a player in a card game who can win the game if they use their cards well enough.
See also: card, play, right