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 any 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 to 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 others know what you are doing or thinking. You are keeping your 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.
1.opponent n. 对手；反对者；敌手
She bowled out her opponent.
2.bluffing n. 诈骗；唬弄
We were always really tough on him when he first started, bluffing him all the time and showing him how to really play.
3.stack n. 堆；堆叠 vt. 使堆叠；把…堆积起来 vi. 堆积，堆叠
He ordered them to stack up pillows behind his back.
1.If they believe you, they are likely to drop out of the game.
drop out of 退学，失学；从……当中退出
You'll never go to college if you drop out of high school.
She longed to drop out of the race and make an independent life for herself.
美国人日常用的很多词语都源自扑克牌游戏，这点令人吃惊。比如，ace in the hole(底牌,王牌)，这个词可能连牌桌都没走近过的人都听说过 。它的意思是到需要时才公开的观点、计划等东西，特别用在转败为胜时 。
在扑克等大多数纸牌游戏中，ace(幺点)是最大最有价值的牌，通常意味着胜利。在一种纸牌游戏中，玩家拿到的第一张牌都是面朝下 。玩家不会向他人展示这张牌，其他的牌都是面朝上，玩家每收到一张牌都要押上筹码 。
在牌局结束前，没有人知道谁压下的那张牌会赢。通常，底牌是幺点的人会赢 。聪明的纸牌玩家，尤其是下大赌注的玩家会密切关注庄家，以确保庄家没有作弊 。作弊的庄家已经做牌了，他调换了纸牌以保证他能拿到最大的那副牌，这样他就能赢得牌局 。
Deal off the bottom(出老千)意思是在生意或牌局中诈骗，如果有人告诉你the cards are stacked against you，他的意思是你没有赢的机会。
牌局中你不希望对手知道自己的牌是好还是坏，所以having a poker face(面无表情)很重要。面无表情就是不表现任何表情，不喜不悲 。没有人能从你的表情上看出你的牌的好坏 。
在牌局中，当你牌不好但赌注很大时，你会bluffing(虚张声势)。这样做使对手相信你的牌很好，一定会赢 。如果对手们被吓住了，他们可能会退出牌局 。这样你就能赢得他们的赌注 。
如果你hold your cards close to your vest(把牌放到胸口)，那你虚张声势的效果就会好。你小心地护着你的牌，这样没人能看到你有什么牌 。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 。