The game of poker has many variations, but they all have a similar structure: cards are dealt to players and they bet on them. The object is to form a high-ranking hand of cards. The person with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot, which is all of the bets placed during that round.
Writers who want to write about poker should understand the game well, including all of its different variants. They should be able to explain how different players think and act during the game, as well as the famous tells that can give away a player’s strength or weakness.
If they don’t, their descriptions will feel lame and gimmicky. Pacing is also key: describing a series of bets, checks and reveals won’t hold the reader’s attention. Instead, focus on describing the action in terms of reactions and by-play. Who flinched, who smiled and who tightened up?
To become a better writer about poker, read up on the rules of each variant and try to play as often as possible. Learn from your mistakes and study how experienced players react to situations to develop strong instincts. As always, it’s important to remember that poker is a game of chance, but also a game of skill and strategy. A strong grasp of both will help you be a more interesting and compelling writer about poker.