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Writing About Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting with chips (representing money). It’s a fast-paced game and each player has two cards hidden from the others. Players aim to make the best five card “hand” using their own two cards and the community (shared) cards on the table. The best hand wins the pot.

There are many different poker variants. Each variant has one or more betting intervals. In each interval a player must place in the pot the amount of his stake that is at least equal to the amount of the bet made by the last active player. This is called the equalization method.

This rule prevents a player from making a showdown wager if he is unable to match the total stake of the previous player. The last raiser may also raise his bet further, or he can fold if he chooses. If the last player to act folds, the player who raised must pay his full bet to stay in the pot.

When writing about a poker game, it’s important to focus on the characters, their reactions and the by-play between them. Detailed descriptions of card draws, bets and checks will seem lame and gimmicky. The exposition part of the story should be limited to the minimum necessary to set up the scene.