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Writing About Poker

Writing About Poker

Poker is a card game in which players wager chips to win a pot. The twin elements of chance and skill make it a game of risk, though with practice the application of skill can virtually eliminate the variance of chance. There are many variants of poker, but the basic rules usually remain the same.

Before cards are dealt, the players put in forced bets, usually an ante and/or blind bet. The dealer then shuffles the deck and deals each player cards, one at a time starting with the player to his or her immediate left. Then, betting rounds take place in which the players may check (passing on betting) or raise. If a player chooses to raise, he or she must match the amount of the previous bet or forfeit their hand.

The fifth and final card is then dealt face up, which is called the river. There is a final round of betting in which the best 5-card poker hand wins the pot, which consists of all the bets placed at each of the prior betting rounds.

When writing about poker, focus on the players’ reactions to the cards that are played and how their actions affect the story. Then, use the cards to create tension and conflict in the scene. Describing a series of card draws, bets and reveals will feel lame or gimmicky.