From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishhold all the cardshold all the cardsto have all the advantages in a situation in which people are competing or arguing‘There’s not much we can do. They seem to hold all the cards, ’ said Dan gloomily. →hold
Examples from the Corpus
hold all the cards• In areas such as research, larger well-financed firmshold all the cards.• Politically, the loggingindustryholds all the cards.• Men still held all the cards.• Nowhere else does the evolutionarybattle take place in an arena where, in effect, one playerholds all the cards.• He held all the cards and it would be an upset if he lost.• It seemed that he held all the cards and that there was nothing she could do but say 'yes'.• But it just seemed that he held all the cards, he made all the decisions.• Ross did hold all the cards, she acknowledged bitterly.