Poker is a card game played by two or more players. The objective is to win the pot, which consists of all bets placed during a hand. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins. Several different types of poker games exist, and rules vary with each. In most cases, each player is required to place a forced bet (called an ante or blind bet) before being dealt cards. The dealer shuffles the deck, then deals each player cards, one at a time starting with the player to his or her immediate left. The cards are either face up or face down depending on the variant of poker being played.
The first player to act may raise the bet by any amount. This raise must be called by every other player. The remaining players then place bets according to the rules of the game being played. Players may also check, in which case they pass on their turn to another player.
After the flop, turn, and river, players reveal their hands. Depending on the poker variant, some players may drop out of any side pots, and only those who have not folded have a chance to win the main pot.
A good poker writer should understand the game well, with all its variations. This requires a high level of knowledge and an understanding of the psychology of poker players, as well as excellent writing skills. In addition, a good poker writer should be able to describe the action and emotions of a hand effectively. Creating tension is especially important, as the reader will need to imagine the player’s thoughts and feelings as they play their cards.