play one's hand

English translation: make a move

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:play one's hand
Selected answer:make a move
Entered by: Anna M. Wróbel

16:45 Oct 7, 2003
English language (monolingual) [PRO]
English term or phrase: play one's hand
Lincoln had to wait until Antietam because he didn;t want to play his hand
Anna M. Wróbel
Poland
Local time: 06:33
make a move
Explanation:
He didn't want to attack the South just yet; he didn't want to make his move until Antietam.

Like in playing cards, when you have a hand dealt to you, you can either play it or pass (in some games, anyway). It's a metaphoric idiom. Lincoln had his armies and strategies and such, but didn't want to do anything until Antietam.

Good luck.

-Dan
Selected response from:

Daniel Mencher
United States
Local time: 00:33
Grading comment
ok- thanks a lot!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



SUMMARY OF ALL EXPLANATIONS PROVIDED
5 +8make a move
Daniel Mencher
3 +5put his cards on the table...
Lisa Frideborg Eddy
4 +3I think it means:
Andrea Wright
3 +1Wanted to mislead Lee, not just conceal his strategy.
J. Leo (X)


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +8
make a move


Explanation:
He didn't want to attack the South just yet; he didn't want to make his move until Antietam.

Like in playing cards, when you have a hand dealt to you, you can either play it or pass (in some games, anyway). It's a metaphoric idiom. Lincoln had his armies and strategies and such, but didn't want to do anything until Antietam.

Good luck.

-Dan

Daniel Mencher
United States
Local time: 00:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 19
Grading comment
ok- thanks a lot!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  NGK
1 min
  -> thanks

agree  sarahl (X): mattaku so no toori!
8 mins
  -> thanks

agree  jccantrell: This is how I understand it. Putting your cards on the table would be "show his cards"
43 mins
  -> thanks

agree  chopra_2002
55 mins
  -> thanks

agree  DGK T-I
1 hr
  -> thanks

agree  David Moore (X): .
1 hr
  -> thanks

agree  Mario Marcolin
11 hrs
  -> thanks

agree  Katty Ossa
1 day 21 hrs
  -> thanks
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4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
I think it means:


Explanation:
that he had some sort of strategy or plan he did not want to use or practice yet.

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Note added at 2003-10-07 16:50:49 (GMT)
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American Road - [ Traduzca esta página ]
**“We play the hand we are given the best we can.”.**
We play the hand we are given the best we can.”. Those words were said ...
www.hooverassociation.org/arwbest.htm - 16k - En caché - Páginas similares

Andrea Wright
Local time: 00:33
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in pair: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jackie Bowman: Yes. Didn't want to reveal his strategy/
9 mins
  -> Thanks Jack! :)

agree  DGK T-I
1 hr

agree  J. Leo (X): Yes, this is correct, the key word is YET, which lead me to see what it was about, here below.
21 hrs
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Wanted to mislead Lee, not just conceal his strategy.


Explanation:
Doesn't anyone play Poker?

Poker metaphors are truly American. The PBS/BBC History of the English Language from the 70s mentions how much the gambling riverboats, railroad system, among others, have added to the American English language.

In poker, when you fold your hand (don’t play your hand) you don't have to ante up and you don't have to show/reveal your cards. They get sent back to the deck and your opponents don’t see what you had. This prevents your opponents from: 1. seeing what the chances are of possibly improving their own hands; 2. ‘reading’ into the chances the others may have of beating them; 3. knowing how your strategy works.

You fold when you have a bad hand unless you’re bluffing, based on your strategy/style etc.. You also fold when you have a good hand to prevent others from winning but also to gain insights into their gestures, which will enlighten you for the next hand. You also are reassured when and how other's may be bluffing, because they continue to play and they must show their hands at the end of that deal. As poker players know, a poker face is important but subtle mannerisms are always there and are the key to reading your opponents future strategies. You don’t play every hand you get regardless of its ability to win you that pot at that time. You’re out for the big win for the whole game.

Lee had a series of success against the North and his army was weakened by these successful battles. Antietam is near the Mason Dixon line, very much north for Lee’s exhausted army. Lincoln wasn’t sure of this. Lincoln knew that France and England were supplying the South. Lincoln knew that the war was not about freeing the slaves but about whether the country would remain with an agricultural economy (from the South) or become an industrial economy (the North). Success of the South would have been possible had France and England remained in the picture. Lincoln also knew that they would withdraw as soon as the moral ‘slavery’ issue would become the theme of the war.

He didn’t want to play his hand, which was to shift to the moral reasons for the war with the Emancipation Proclamation until after Antietam as this would possibly be more useful to him if the North won at Antietam as this battle revealed how weak the South was. This was won by the North, and is considered the turning point of the Civil War, which lead to Lincoln’s triumph after the French and English stopped supplies assuring that the South was truly on its own.
Not playing his hand at Antietam allowed him to play his next hand with much more success in the long run.

References:
History: Listening at school.
Poker: The value of a misspent youth.


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Note added at 2003-10-08 13:00:15 (GMT)
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http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m2004/3_46/66495907/p10/art...\'s+Body

On September 17, McClellan fought Lee at Antietam and sent him retreating to Virginia. Historians assert that Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation directly after Antietam because, as Seward suggested, the victory would make the proclamation look like an act of strength in the eyes of the public and of foreign governments, rather than an act of desperation.


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Note added at 2003-10-08 13:09:05 (GMT)
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In my argument, I am trying to assert that the Emancipation Proclamation was Lincoln\'s trump card, which is why he didn\'t want to \"play his hand\" too soon, otherwise he would have looked desperate after having been defeated at a few battles just before Antietam. He had successfully \"read Lee\'s hand\" by counting on Lee\'s overconfidence and trusted that the Northern army would be more successful on it\'s own territory.
Sounds familiar doesn\'t it? We all know that history repeats itself.


J. Leo (X)
Local time: 06:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 51

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Chris Rowson (X): A great example of school learning learning being potentiated by involvement in the world beyond school. :-)
11 hrs
  -> Thanks Chris, I must admit I needed to refresh my memory a bit. Just added a reference.
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3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +5
put his cards on the table...


Explanation:
he didn't want to reveal his plans too early

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Note added at 15 hrs 15 mins (2003-10-08 08:00:28 GMT)
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just wanted to add that in general I agree with Dan, i.e. that to play one\'s hand is to \"make a move\", but in this context, I believe that Lincoln waited in order to not SHOW his cards too soon.

Lisa Frideborg Eddy
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:33
Native speaker of: Native in SwedishSwedish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  NGK
1 min

agree  jerrie
3 mins

agree  chopra_2002
55 mins

agree  allanna
1 hr

agree  ghassan al-Alem: or take a move or action.
1 hr
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