Writing About Poker

Poker is a card game with a variety of rules and strategies that can be played on a table in front of other players. The cards are dealt in rounds and bets are placed into a central pot. The player with the best hand wins the pot. The game is often a bluffing one, and good players learn to read the tells of other players (eye movements, idiosyncrasies, betting behavior etc).

While luck plays a role in poker, it is also considered a game of skill as demonstrated by the thousands of professional players that generate long-term profits. Moreover, unlike most gambling games, poker is regulated by set rules and customs regardless of the setting—home game, casino cash game, bar league or World Series of Poker tournament.

Once everyone has two cards, the first round of betting begins. Two mandatory bets called blinds are placed into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer. After the first round of betting, another three cards are dealt to everyone—this is called the flop. More betting takes place and, once all players are done betting, the final cards are revealed and the winning hand is determined.

When writing about poker, focus on the characters’ reactions to the cards that are played. The reader will not care about the cards, bets, checks and reveals unless there is a strong characterization and storyline that supports it. To help with this, consider using the five elements of plot conflict: