Poker is a game of cards, where players reveal their hands and bet on them. A player can win a round by having the best 5-card hand. The player with the best hand wins all of the money that has been put into the pot (representing money) during that round.

At the start of a poker game, each player “buys in” for an amount of chips (representing money). Each player places these chips into the pot during one or more betting intervals, depending on the poker variant being played. A player can open betting, or raise the ante, by placing a chip into the pot that is higher than the last player’s contribution.

Each player receives 2 hole cards at the start of the first betting round. These are called blinds and they are mandatory, in order to provide an incentive for people to play.

A third card is then dealt face up on the table, and there is another betting round. If a player has a good hand, they can bet heavily to scare off players with weaker hands, and win the pot.

The key to making a poker story tense and exciting is to build the tension over hours of dozens of rounds. Describing a series of card draws, bets and checks will feel lame or gimmicky. Instead, focus on the reactions of the players – who flinched, who smiled?