Writing About Poker

Poker is a card game played with a standard deck of 52 cards (or sometimes multiple packs or jokers). The highest ranked hand wins the pot. There are four suits, and the cards are ranked in order of Ace high, King high, Queen high, Jack high, and 10 high. In addition, some poker games will use wild cards that can take on any suit and rank (dueces, one-eyed jacks).

The most common game types are cash games and tournaments. The former is usually more fast-paced, with players betting continuously until one player has all the chips or everyone folds. In a cash game, the dealer is typically changed after each hand. In a tournament, there is often seeding, which assigns players to brackets based on their perceived skill level and allows for more accurate pairings.

A key component of writing poker scenes is focusing on the players’ reactions to the cards that are dealt. This will help to create tension and a sense of pacing for the scene. If your players don’t react in a way that feels realistic, your scene may feel lame or gimmicky.

Another important aspect of writing about poker is to be descriptive. Include details about the players’ facial expressions, body language, and gestures. It’s also helpful to include “tells” – the unconscious habits that reveal information about a player’s hand. These can be as subtle as a change in posture or as obvious as a gesture.