put cards on the table

L - P

put (or lay) one’s cards on the table


  • be open and honest
  • reveal one’s position or intentions
  • used to show conversations need to take place in an honest way without holding information back from the other party without fear or intimidation

Example Sentences

  1. When John met up with Jane on their first date, John laid his cards on the table for Jane to know what he wanted.
  2. During the meeting with his partners, Vincent laid his cards on the table about how he felt in regards to the company’s resources and how they were being used.
  3. When Daniel visited his therapist, he put his cards on the table so that he could get help.
  4. When I met with the group of partners, I laid all of my cards on the table, so I told them the intentions I had for the company in the near future.
  5. Shawn thought it was the right time to put his cards on the table and tell his friend that he had no intention of continuing with him in the partnership.


The saying has been in use since the year 1800. It was a famous phrase coined during card game events when players were playing poker. The winner in a poker game had to lay his cards on the table to show and to prove that he had the winning card combinations. This idiom has been in some of the leading newspapers and has been published in articles like The Chicago Times and The Star.


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