Writing a Poker Scene for Your Novel

Poker is a card game that involves betting between two or more players. The object of the game is to win the pot, which contains all the bets placed during a deal. The game can be played with any number of players between 2 and 14, but the ideal amount is six or seven players. It is usually played with a standard 52-card deck of English cards, although one or more jokers or wild cards may be added.

The rules of the game vary from variant to variant, but in general a player has two personal cards (hole cards), which he or she must use with five community cards in order to make a hand. During the betting intervals (which are initiated by mandatory bets of 2 chips called blinds placed into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer), players have the option to raise their bets, fold or drop.

In the early history of Poker, it was largely a game of chance, but skill became increasingly important to the success of players. Its popularity spread worldwide in the nineteenth century, helped by American innovations such as draw poker and stud poker.

When writing a poker scene in your novel, focus on the characters’ reactions to the cards and the by-play between them. This will make the scene more interesting to your readers, than a list of card draws, bets and checks. In particular, pay attention to tells: who flinched, who smiled?