Now, Words and Their Stories, a program in Special English by the Voice of America.
It is surprising how many expressions that Americans use every day came from the card game of poker. For example, you hear the expression, ace in the hole, used by many people who would never think of going near a poker table. An ace in the hole is an argument, plan or thing kept hidden until needed. It is used especially when it can turn failure into success.
In poker and most card games, the ace is the highest and most valuable card. It is often a winning card. In one kind of poker game, the first card to each player is given face down. A player does not show this card to the other players. The other cards are dealt face up. The players bet money each time they receive another card.
No one knows until the end of the game whose hidden card is the winner. Often, the ace in the hole wins the game.
Smart card players, especially those who play for large amounts of money, closely watch the person who deals the cards. They are watching to make sure he is dealing honestly. They want to be sure that he is not dealing off the bottom of the stack of cards. A dealer who is doing that has stacked the deck . He has fixed the cards so that he will get higher cards. He will win and you will lose.
The expression, dealing off the bottom, now means cheating in business, as well as in cards. And when someone tells you that the cards are stacked against you , he is saying you do not have a chance to succeed.
In a poker game you do not want to let your opponents know if your cards are good or bad. So having a poker face is important. A poker face never shows any emotion, never expresses either good or bad feelings. No one can learn – by looking at your face – if your cards are good or bad.
People now use poker face in everyday speech to describe someone who shows no emotion.
Someone who has a poker face usually is good at bluffing . Bluffing is trying to trick a person into believing something about you that is not true.
In poker, you bluff when you bet heavily on a poor hand. The idea is make the other players believe you have strong cards and are sure to win. If they believe you, they are likely to drop out of the game. This means you win the money they have bet.
You can do a better job of bluffing if you hold your cards close to your vest. You hold your cards close to you so no one can see what you have. In everyday speech, holding your cards close to your vest means not letting other know what you are doing or thinking. You are keeping you plans secret.
We are not bluffing when we say we hope you have enjoyed today's program.
This Special English program, Words and Their Stories, was written by Marilyn Rice Christiano. This is Bob Doughty.
美国人使用的许多日常表达方式来源于扑克牌游戏，其数量之多令人惊讶。例如，你可能会听到许多根本没想过去打扑克牌的人使用一个短语：ace in the hole 。ace in the hole指的是争论，计划或者直到必要的时候才公布的事情 。尤其是用在可以转败为胜的时候 。
在扑克牌或大部分纸牌游戏中，ace是最大的，也是最有价值的牌。通常是代表胜利的牌 。在一种纸牌游戏中，每个玩家拿到的第一张牌是正面朝下的，每个玩家都不会让其他人看到自己的牌 。其他的牌都是正面朝上分发的 。玩家每次收到另一张牌的时候都会用来赌钱 。
聪明的纸牌玩家，尤其是玩的赌注比较大的人，经常密切注视着发牌的人。他们仔细观察以确认发牌过程的真实 。他们要确保发牌者在发牌时没有作弊 。这样做的洗牌者洗牌作弊(stacked the deck) 。他提前进行了调整以保证他能拿到更大的牌 。这样就可以保证他赢你输 。
deal off the bottom这个短语现在指的是在生意中进行欺诈，在纸牌中也是如此。如果一个人告诉你，the cards are stacked against you，他的意思是说你没有成功的机会 。
在纸牌游戏中，你不想让你的对手知道你的牌是好是坏。所以面无表情(having a poker face)是非常重要的 。poker face从来不会表现出任何表情，从来不会表达无论是好还是坏的感觉 。任何人都不可能通过观察你的脸来得知你的牌是好是坏 。
在纸牌游戏中，当你手里的牌很差，但又决定孤注一掷时你就会欺骗(bluffing)。这样做是为了让你的对手相信你的牌非常好，一定会赢 。如果他们相信你，他们可能就会退出比赛 。这意味着你就能赢得他们下的赌注 。
如果你hold your cards close to your vest，那么在欺骗(bluffing)时你就会做的更好。你小心地隐藏着自己的牌，这样，其他人就不能看到你的牌到底是什么 。在日常生活中，holding your cards close to your vest意思是不让其他人知道你在做什么或者在想什么 。你将自己的计划保密 。
慢速词语典故栏目由Marilyn Rice Christiano撰写
ace in the hole底牌，王牌，出奇制胜，应急法宝，锦囊妙计
stack the deck作弊
deal off the bottom在生意中进行欺诈
the cards are stacked against you你没有成功的机会