Writing About Poker


Poker is a card game played in many variants throughout the world. The rules of the game are based on probability and mathematics. A hand consists of five cards. The value of a hand is inversely proportional to its mathematical frequency, meaning that a rarer combination has a higher value. Players may bet that they have a high hand, requiring other players to call (match) or concede the bet. Alternatively, players can bluff by betting that they have a low hand and hoping that other players will not call the bet.

During each betting interval, or round, players must either raise (put into the pot more chips than their opponent did at the start of the round) or fold their cards. Players can also “check,” or pass on betting and wait until their turn to act again.

In addition to the standard 53-card pack, some games can use one or more wild cards that represent any card the player chooses. Common wild cards include deuces, jokers, and one-eyed jacks. These wild cards can make it possible for a straight to beat four of a kind, or even trump a full house.

Whether it’s a fictional story, an admission essay, or just an academic paper about poker, the key to writing about this popular game is enthusiasm and personality. Describing a series of card draws, bets and checks is going to read flat and stale. Focus on the people playing the game and their reactions, including tells like who flinches or smiles.