How to Write a Poker Scene

Poker is a card game in which players place an ante wager and then receive three cards. Each player then decides to place a play wager equal to the amount of the ante to pit their hand against the dealer’s. They can also choose to fold their hand. The highest five-card hand wins the pot. The game is played using poker chips; the smallest chip is worth one white or light-colored chip, the next worth two, and so on.

In order to speed up the deal, most games use two packs of cards – usually contrasting colors. When the pack containing the dealt cards is exhausted, it is reshuffled and prepared for the next deal. This process is known as cutting the deck.

The best way to portray the game in your story is to focus on the reactions of your characters to the cards that are played. You don’t want to describe a series of card draws, bets and checks; this will make your scene boring and choppy. Instead, focus on how your characters react to each card that’s played – who blinked, who smiled and who flinched.

When you have a premium opening hand, like a pair of jacks or higher, bet aggressively! This is the time to let the other players know you mean business. The law of averages says most hands are losers, so don’t be afraid to take control early in the game. The other players will usually check when you raise, but if they call, you’ll have an excellent chance to increase the size of your pot.