A Writer’s Guide to Poker


Poker is a card game in which players independently try to assemble the best possible hand of cards in order to win cash or chips. The game can be played as either a cash game or a tournament, with both having different rules and strategies. It requires skill and luck, as well as an understanding of the famous tells that reveal information about a player’s strategy.

During each betting interval, one or more players must make a bet, called placing the chips in the pot. Usually the first player to act (as designated by the rules of the particular poker variant being played) has the privilege or obligation to open the betting. Those who decline to place their chips in the pot are said to drop or fold, and may no longer compete for the prize, known as the pot.

The game’s history is a matter of contested lore. The earliest European game was probably the 17th-century French poque. This game, and its German counterpart, pochen, spread to North America along with the French colonists. The game continued to evolve in the United States, resulting in the current 52-card English deck and the introduction of the flush, straight, and other poker hands.

Poker is a fast-paced card game with several rounds of betting. In addition to betting on their own hands, players can also bet on the hands of others and attempt to bluff. Whether or not the story you are writing is about poker, the best way to keep readers engaged is by focusing on the characters’ reactions to the cards that are revealed.