A game of chance and skill where players place bets against one another to win a pot of money. There are many different variants of poker, but they all involve betting and the use of a standard 52-card deck. Some forms of poker can have as few as two players, while others are played with up to 14 people in a tournament setting.

The basic game begins with each player placing an ante or blind bet (in some cases both). The dealer then shuffles and deals each player cards, face up or down depending on the variant being played. After the cards are dealt, a round of betting begins, with players having the option to raise their bets as they see fit. The best hand wins the pot.

One of the keys to successful poker is knowing how to read your opponents. This includes looking for physical tells, but it also means analyzing how each player makes decisions and playing styles over time. For example, you may find that a certain player often calls even mediocre hands in order to get the pot up and over, while another player will always bluff with weak holdings.

The most interesting part of any poker story is the human element – the by-play and interactions between the players. Focus on describing how your characters act and react at the table, including things like who flinches or smiles. If you can describe these details well, the reader will be drawn into your story.