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How to Write a Poker Scene


Poker is a card game with an emphasis on betting and bluffing. It is played with a standard pack of 52 cards (with some games adding jokers). Cards are ranked from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10. The value of the highest hand wins.

In most games, each player places a contribution to the pot called an ante before the cards are dealt. In each betting interval the player may raise or call. A player who matches the bet of the person to his or her right is said to call; a player who raises by more than the previous player is said to raise. A player who chooses not to call is said to fold.

The aim of the game is to have the highest ranked hand of cards when all players reveal their hands in a showdown. The player with the highest ranked hand wins all of the money that has been raised during that hand. This is known as the “pot”.

The best way to make a good poker scene feel alive and real is to focus most of the action on how players are reacting to the cards being played. This means describing eye movements, idiosyncrasies and betting behavior. Also make sure to mention what each player is holding, so that the narrator can tell who has a strong hand and who is bluffing. This will make the story more believable and compelling for the listener or reader.