play cards close to chest

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Related to keep cards close to chest: keep distance, keep abreast of

play (one's) cards close to (one's) chest

To keep one's plans, intentions, or tactics secret from other people. Refers to holding one's playing cards close to one's chest in a card game, so as not to allow other players to see one's hand. We're all curious about what the boss has been discussing in those meetings with the lawyers, but she's playing her cards close to her chest. Sorry for not being more straightforward about my plans, but I'm playing my cards close to my chest for the time being.
See also: card, chest, close, play, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play one's cards close to one's chest

 and play one's cards close to one's vest; keep one's cards close to one's chest; keep one's cards close to one's vest
Fig. to keep to oneself or be very cautious in one's dealing with people. (As if one were playing cards and not permitting anyone to see any of the cards.) He is very cautious. He plays his cards close to his chest. You seem to be playing your cards close to your vest.
See also: card, chest, close, play, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

play one's cards close to one's chest, to

To be secretive. The analogy to holding one’s hand so that no one can see what cards are in it has been used since the mid-twentieth century. Agatha Christie had it in The Pale Horse (1961): “I couldn’t afford to give hints. You have to play these things close to your chest.”
See also: card, close, play, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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