Poker is a card game with many variants, played by two or more players. It is fast paced and requires good instincts to read the other players. It is also important to understand the rules of the game, including how to read tells, unconscious habits that reveal information about a player’s hand.

The basic objective is to win the pot, which contains the sum of all the bets placed during a round. To do this, a player must have a winning poker hand. A poker hand consists of five cards: the dealer’s two cards and the other players’ four cards. The highest poker hand wins.

Each player is required to place a minimum amount of chips (representing money, for which the game is almost always played) into the pot before each betting interval. This is called a forced bet and may come in the form of an ante, blind or bring-in.

A poker game is usually played with a standard 52-card English deck with four suits, with the following rank order: ace, king, queen, jack, ten, nine and eight. Depending on the game, one or more jokers or wild cards may be included.

When writing a scene about poker, you must focus on the character’s reactions to the cards and by-play. Unless there is strong character development and compelling plot conflict, describing a series of card draws, bets, checks and reveals will be boring for the reader. Focus on the characters’ goals, the stakes and the flow of the scene.