Hold All the Cards

Used metaphorically since the 1900’s.

Meaning of Hold All the Cards

To hold all the cards means to have all the resources or advantages needed to be in control of a situation. To be the dominant person in a group, to be in the strongest position, to have an edge, or to have everything in your favor.

Compare to hold all the aces.

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Also used as have all the cards or hold all the aces.

“I have to break up with her, it’s like she holds all the cards in our relationship.”

“The building coordinator is blocking the building and there is nothing anyone can do. He holds all the cards.”

Holding all the best cards


This idiom comes from card games and is based on the idea of someone holding all the most valuable cards in the game. It has sometimes been expressed as holding all the aces simply because aces tend to be the most valuable suit. To hold all the best cards is to control the game, thus the metaphor.

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