call my bluff

Discussion in 'English Only' started by cubana, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. cubana Senior Member

    cuba/ spanish
    Hi guys...what this phrase means?. Does "bluff" means "to lie" ? thanks en advance.
  2. Tabac Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest (USA)
    U. S. - English
    I say something that I don't really mean.....I ask you to dare me to tell the truth. It comes from poker, a card game, I believe. I indicate that I may have a certain "high" hand, and I aske you to "raise" my bid. That is "calling my bluff".

    I'm hoping that someone can come up with a better example.
  3. papillon Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian (Ukraine)
    Bluff, in poker, means you are betting as if you have good cards, when in fact you don't really have anything. I this case, it is said that you are bluffing.

    If you bluff well, others will believe that you have a good hand, they will fold, that is turn their cards upside down indicating that they don't want to continue. In this case, you win and take all the money.

    If your "poker face" betrays you, people will be suspicious and they will call your bluff. In this case the play continues, and in the end, since your cards are bad, you lose.

    EDIT: in real life, to bluff is usually to say you will do something that you're not prepared to do. If someone call your bluff, they're challenging you to do it, thinking that you wouldn't.

  4. languageGuy Senior Member

    Kansas City, MO
    USA and English
    The one additional thing I would add, when you make the bluff in poker you also bet a large sum of money. Your oponents then are stuck with a difficult choice, whether to fold or to call the bluff. Folding means they lose, but it costs them nothing. To call, they must match that large sum of money with their own, and they will only win if they predicted correctly that if was a bluff, but will lose still if you have a good hand.
  5. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English

    One of the best examples of this phrase occured in an old Clint Eastwood Movie, Dirty Harry.

    Harry is a cop who captures a criminal and has his gun pointed at the criminal. The criminal thinks that, during the chase, Harry has used up all his bullets and that the gun is now empty. He says that Harry is bluffing (trying to pretend he has an advantage that he does not, in fact, have). Harry replies something like:, "So call my bluff. Are you feeling lucky, sucker?"

    In fact, Harry did have another bullet left in his gun!

    Joelline, a Clint Eastwood fan!
  6. cubana Senior Member

    cuba/ spanish
    thank you guys.
  7. xiongranw2 Senior Member

    Joined with previous thread.
    Cagey, moderator

    When I talk with both of them, Helen
    is the one who’s more apt to come out and ‘give it to me,’ if that’s what I need—
    either really call my bluff or tell me exactly how she sees what’s going on. And at
    times she’s done this with such clarity and simplicity and directness, I’ve really been
    thankful to her.--from < Life and Work of Carl Rogers> by Howard Kirschenbaum
    What does the “call my bluff ” in the phrase means? Thanks very much.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2017
  8. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England
    If you look in the Wordreference dictionary under 'bluff' and then search for 'call' you will find the following:

    call someone's bluff
    • 1 challenge someone to carry out a stated intention, in the expectation of being able to expose it as a pretence.

    In this context we imagine that person one is trying to pretend that (or under the illusion that) they are behaving in a particular way and person two is challenging this idea.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  9. xiongranw2 Senior Member

    Thanks very much, Biffo.:)

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