How to Write a Poker Scene


Poker is a card game that requires skill, luck, and strategy. Players compete to form the highest-ranking poker hand from five community cards that are placed on the table and their two hidden “hole” cards. During each betting interval (the number of these is determined by the specific poker variant being played) players may Fold, Call or Raise. When a player raises, he or she must place chips (representing money) into the pot equal to that of the player before him.

The player to the dealer’s left starts the betting by placing down a set amount of chips. This is called the first blind. Then the player to his or her right must either call the bet or put down a higher amount of chips (called raising) to continue betting.

If no one has a pair or better, the highest individual card wins. If they have the same high card, then they look at the next card, and so on. A high card also breaks ties when the other players have the same type of hand (pair, flush etc.).

To create a dramatic and compelling scene, it is important to show the growing tension in the room. A good way to do this is to avoid over-describing the hands that are being played. For example, describing a player getting 4 aces in a royal flush will make the story seem cliche and lose credibility. Instead, focus on the reactions of the other players – how their eyes widen in wonder and doubt or how they get nervous and back away.