Cards close to chest or vest


Wife and I got in a minor spat (very minor). Do you say “keep your cards close to your vest” or “keep cards close to your chest”? I am on #teamchest and she is firmly planted in #teamvest. I googled it - you can say either. But I’m curious what fellow boingers say. I’m acknowledging we’re both the same degree as right - just curious what others here say, how old they are (roughly), whether they’ve heard both or just one, and where in the world you are.


I’m a southern Californian, and I’ve read both, heard both, and used both. I think I prefer “vest” just because it gives it a little Old West panache.

Oh, and I’m 46.


Cards? Who says cards?

It’s bards. Keep your bards close to your chest (or vest, either is fine).


Chest. I have never heard the vest variation. Somewhere south of 40, still, somehow. Brit/PNW.


I always used “chest,” and never heard vest (though maybe my brain auto-corrected it when people said “vest”). Grew up in SoCal, live in TX now. I’m in the low 40s somewhere.


I use “Vest” but have heard both. 26 in the PNW.


I don’t remember ever hearing “vest.”

And I remember the first word as “Play,” not “Keep.”


Pretty sure I’ve heard both. there are several related constructions I think
holding your cards close to your chest
playing it close to the vest

I’m 39, and Canadian


I’ve heard both forms.

Yes, I know that was no help at all; sorry.



Over 40, Canuck of British heritage…
And I’ve heard mainly chest, but I have distinct memories of English relatives saying “vest”.


Depends what I may be wearing at the time.


Chest, never heard vest. Missouri & Minnesota. Edit: I’m in my mid-30s.


I’ve always said vest.

I’ve heard chest, but when I’m speaking, if I say chest about my own body it is generally because I’m trying to avoid saying the word tits. I don’t like to draw attention to my upper torso, it already gets more attention than I prefer, but I may be weird.

Edit to add: I’m in my early 40s and I grew up in Southern California. I’ve since moved to the MidWest but my word usage was pretty set before I showed up here.


Play your cards close to your vest.
So Cal, but born in America’s Dairyland. Old but not ancient.


Midwest Currently. Former Texan and Greater NorthWest. Mid 40s

Heard both vest and chest, prefer “play”, “cards”, & “vest”




“Breast your cards.”


I think “keep your cards close to your tits” might be an improvement on the original phrase.

Also, I strongly dislike “play” because “playing” a card to me isn’t just holding the card in your hand, and often means putting the card face up on the table.


Answers all over the place. I can’t draw any conclusions other than … seems like both are ok, not unusual to know of both or not know of both.


Does it matter?

You just got to know when to fold 'em.

And know when to hold 'em.

Because sometimes nothing can be a cool hand.