hole card n.
(orig. US) a secret, which can be either a weakness that, once discovered, can be exploited, or a hidden strength.
|Trails Plowed Under 71: Ye know ye can’t tell what an Injun’s got for a hole-card by readin’ his countenance; winner or loser he looks the same.|
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 123: Bookie Bob’s hole card is his ever-loving wife’s opinion of him.‘The Snatching of Bookie Bob’ in|
|Runyon à la Carte 28: He knows my hole card is my knowledge of his background in junk.|
|Long Run (1983) 122: I’ll look at your hole card.|
|Cannibals 84: A rat-bastard-shit-heel [...] could never hurt you if you knew his hole card.|
|Animal Factory 82: He wouldn’t have put his hand under his clothes even if he was [armed]; that showed the hole card.|
|(con. c.1967) Firefight 163: He done peeped your hole card.|
|Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 283: I knew I had a hole card: abortion.|
|You Got Nothing Coming 196: Conversational foreplay over, Kansas is turning over his hole card.|
(US prison/black) to work out a person’s (or consider one’s own) hidden attitudes and emotions.
|‘Mexicana Rose’ in Life (1976) 39: I peeped your hole card, you’re a funny-time lame.et al.|
|Crazy Kill 55: Everybody’s just peeping at their hole cards now.|
|Howard Street 74: I done peeped you old cats’ hole card.|
|Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].|
|Pimp’s Rap 69: You don’t want these niggers to peep your hole card, do you?|