play one's cards right

play one's cards right or play one's cards well  {v. phr.},  {informal}
To use abilities and opportunities so as to be successful; act cleverly; make the best use of your place or skills.
That millionaire started with very little but showed a skill in playing his cards right.
People liked Harold, and he played his cards well — and soon he began to get ahead rapidly.

Categories: informal verb