play cards right
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Related to play cards right: play one's cards right
play one's cards rightand play one's cards well
Fig. to work or negotiate correctly and skillfully. If you play your cards right, you can get whatever you want. She didn't play her cards well, and she ended up with something less than what she wanted.
play your cards right
to do the correct things to achieve a desired result If I play my cards right, I could be hired as a consultant on that project.
Etymology: based on the idea of playing (choosing and putting on the table) the right card at the right time in a card game
(if you) play your cards right(informal)
something that you say to someone which means that if they behave in the right way, they might succeed at something Play your cards right and you could be managing this place in a year or so.