lay your cards on the table
lay (one's) cards on the table
To reveal something that one has kept hidden, such as one's motives, intentions, opinion, etc.; to be very candid. A reference to player in a card game revealing the cards that they were holding. You deserve honesty, so I'm going to lay my cards on the table: I can't offer you this job, but we may have another position that you'd be good for. Brian says he starts every relationship by laying his cards on the table—that way there's no secrets.
lay your cards on the tableor
put your cards on the table
If you lay your cards on the table or put your cards on the table, you tell someone the truth about your feelings, opinions or plans. I will lay my cards on the table. I am an atheist. I'm going to put my cards on the table and make you an offer. Note: The reference here is to players in a card game laying their cards face up for the other players to see.