An Ace in the Hole is a well-known cliche’ used to suggest a hidden advantage of a secret source of influence.
It is an American phrase that was used as the title of a Cole Porter song in one of his shows, Let’s Face It, in 1941.
It was also the title of a Billy Wilder film, first screened in 1951. The phrase, echoed in England as an Ace Up His Sleeve, originated during the 1920′ in the popular card game stud poker.
The rules state that after each round of betting, every player ( of which there can be up to ten) is dealt one more card face upwards with the exception of the last player, who is dealt a card face downwards, known as the ‘hole card’.
The winner of the game is determined by whoever has either the highest- or the lowest-scoring hand, and the two share the pot (the winnings).
An ace in the ‘hole’ ( or up your sleeve) is obviously a huge and hidden advantage to a gambler.