Poker is a card game in which players bet on the chances of forming a winning hand. While the outcome of any particular hand largely depends on chance, the overall strategy of the game involves a combination of probability theory, psychology, and mathematics. Players may also use the cards to bluff, making a bet that their hand is better than it is and hoping to convince other players to call their bet or fold.
Most forms of poker require a compulsory bet at the beginning of each hand, called an ante or blind. This bet is made by the player to the left of the dealer and must be raised by the following players in turn unless they choose to check (i.e. pass their turn without placing a bet). Some players choose to open a betting interval, in which case they must place chips into the pot equal to the amount placed by the player before them.
To be a successful poker writer you need to be able to understand the rules of the game, including its variants. You also need to be able to observe and analyze the actions of other players in order to develop quick instincts. The best way to do this is to play the game as often as possible and observe how other people play. You should also talk with other poker players and try to learn as much as you can about their approach. However, you should be careful not to talk with people who are weaker than you and who don’t know the game as well as you do.