call someone's bluff

call someone's bluff

Expose someone's deception, invite a showdown, as in I don't believe they have enough capital; I'm going to call their bluff. This term comes from poker, where bluffing (pretending) that one has better cards than one's opponents is an intrinsic part of the game, and calling someone's bluff means forcing them to show their cards. By the late 1800s it was being applied to other enterprises. Also see show one's hand.
See also: bluff, call

call someone's bluff

COMMON If someone has made a threat and you call their bluff, you tell them to do what they are threatening to do, knowing that they probably will not do it. Mr Lukanov warned that he would deal severely with any protest actions in the universities. Now that the students have called his bluff, it remains to be seen what Mr Lukanov can do. The Socialists have finally decided to call the opposition's bluff, and it looks as if they have succeeded. Note: In poker (= a card game), a player who is bluffing is playing as though they have good cards when in fact they have bad cards. If another player calls the first player's bluff, they increase their stake (=the amount of money that is risked) to the required amount and ask the first player to show their cards.
See also: bluff, call

call someone's bluff

challenge someone to carry out a stated intention, in the expectation of being able to expose it as a false pretence.
In the game of poker (which was formerly also known by the name of bluff ), calling someone's bluff meant making an opponent show their hand in order to reveal that its value was weaker than their heavy betting suggested.
See also: bluff, call
References in periodicals archive ?
Whatever you're told check up on the reality of the situation - call someone's bluff.