Poker

Intro

 
I started learning Poker seriously in July 2019. The goal I had was to initially learn about psychology and decision making. This changed to also include Game Theory, Probability and Statistics and other aspects of the game that were more mathematical in nature.
 
The goal I have in this document is to create a decision making framework for play decisions. These will not go in depth as there are other books that cover the indepth aspects. What I wanted to cover was the main points of decisions and the tools to make those decisions. Namely, how do you behave in each part of a game and what do you do in each part of the game to make effective decision. 

Terms

 
Name
Equation
Explaination

Decision Making

  • Start of Game
  • Situational Awareness
  • Play Style
  • Players
  • Where to Sit
  • Pre Flop
  • Probabilities
  • Players
  • Bluffing
  • Post Flop
  • Probabilities
  • Players
  • Bluffing
  • Post Turn
  • Probabilities
  • Players
  • Bluffing
  • Post River
  • Probabilities
  • Players
  • Bluffing

Situational Awareness

 
• Who are the players
• What do they do and betting style
• What are the odds
 

Psychology

What are the odds?
Continue playing if the odds are in your favor and you are intimidating your opponents.
Stop is the other players are good and you have nothing to do but lose. 
Figure out your hourly rate.
How much are you earning?
Make small bets with strong hands initially so you opponent makes bad calls later
---Use the community cards to your advantage. If you bet make the other person believe you have higher cards than you do. 
Poker ante
• When you are setting up the ante don’t think about the money you already put into the pot. That already belongs to the pot.
• So it is better to play when you are the blind even if you don’t have good odds since you already largely put in because of being forced and it costs you less to play.
• When you have a high ante play loosely and bet forward, when you don’t have a large ante which are most game play more selectively based on odds and draw out bets to the latter part
Pot odds
• Bet based on pot odds. If you think your odds are better than the bet to pot odd then call
 
• Know the odds in your favor.
• What are the other people like you are playing
• Are they goofy or not?
• What is the outcome?
Observing Yourself
 
How many hands have I been playing 
What bands have I shown down
What would a keen observer think about me at this point?
 
A good player is good at remembering everything going around a table and making use of that information. 

Math

 

Probability

Probability = number of desirable outcomes / number of possible outcomes. 

Effective stack size

= size of the smallest stack between two different players in a hand.
The most you can win or lose in a hand against any one particular opponent. 
 
You have to do this against every single person as the effective stack size between you and each opponent will yield different outcomes because the strategy will change with the size of the stack.
 
Example, I have 150 in my stack and my villain has 40. So the effective stack size is only 40  because the villain only has 40 to wager even though you have 150. 

Stack to pot ratio = SPR

SPR = effective stack size / pot size
Effective stack size is how much you have
Pot size is what is in the pot
 
Lower SPR
• commit with weaker hands
• Smaller effective stack sizes
higher SPR
• commit with stronger hands
• Larger effective stack sizes
 
Spr is how commuted we are to any hand. So we need to understand how the opponent is playing and what they SPR is.
Poker equity
• What you are expected to win over time based on the odds you are playing
• Equity changes Preflop and postflop and turn and river
• So you have to bet based on the equity that is high
 
 

Player and Playing Styles

 
  • Avoid getting to a point where you show your hands.
  • This gives your opponents clues about your plays so it is better for them to see it
  • Rather if you are playing show the strong hands and hide the weak, so psychologically the other person thinks you have strong hands.
  • It is war
  • It is important to start categorizing the player as a strong or weak player
  • Every poker play also has to consider the individual tendency of the opposing player. 
  • You need to play both the conservative and aggressive styles.
  • Vary your style
  • If you keep to a single strategy you will give your opponent the nature of your play and you give them information about what you have and most importantly don’t have.
  • By alternating styles you make it unpredictable what you have and make it harder for your opponents to read you.
  • Balanced Strategy
  • Vary both your calls and raises when you have a hand that entails a play
  • 80% Raise
  • 20% Calls
  • This prevents the other person person from knowing what cards you have to play.
  • Use a watch Seconds 0-48 → Raise, 48-60 → Call
  • Use the OODA Loop.
  • Vary your tempo and speed, get inside your opponents OODA cycle then throw them off by playing in a different style.
 
Style
Plays (Full Table Where You are First to Act in a Table of 9)
Defense
Game Play
Conservative
 
NITs
  • Early (first or second)
  • high pair (ace, kings, queens)
  • medium pairs jack and tens
  • ace-king (suited or unsuited)
  • ace-queen (suited)
  • Middle (third to sixth)
  • Above
  • pair of 9s
  • pair of 8s
  • ace-queen
  • ace-jack
  • king-queen
  • Late
  • Above
  • pair of sevens
  • ace-x
  • high suited connectors queen-jack, jack-ten
Really righty players
 
They only play strong hands and usually fold
When they play they usually have a strong hand
Risk averse
Only play a limited range of plays. 
  • They mostly play good hands
  • Hard to tell when they bluff.
  • Only play if you have good cards versus theirs
  • Play only the major plays
Agressive
TAG
Tight and aggressive
  • Conservative Plays
  • All pairs
  • Any two face cards
  • Ace-anything
  • Suited connectors, even as low as five-four suited
Play a tight range but not as tight as the nits 
They competent in all aspects of the play
They are hard to play against 
Able to bluff in opportune spots
Good play to be for most beginners
Poker aggressive play
 
  • Be confident in your preflop play
  • Be confident in your postflop play
Super-Agressive
 
LAGs
Good and loose
  • Play a lot of pots and see a lot of flops, cheaply
  • Play based on the following questions:
  • Have a lot of players already folded?
  • Will they have position after the flop?
  • ARe the players behind them weak or intimidated?
  • Do the players behind them have smallish stacks?
  • Are the players behind them playing conservatively?
They play a wider range of hands
Bluff more often
Fight for the pots they are in
Do not fear risky situations and embrace them
The put pressure on their opponents with the worst hands. 
Know how to control their aggression to get maximum value. 
  • Hammer
  • If an aggressive player comes in then come with a raise.
  • Agressive players aren’t looking for confrontations, they want to appear as if they have stronger hands and get the pot cheaply
  • Rope-a-Dope
  • Just check if you have a strong hand and put a big raise of half the pot at the end.
  • Accumulate big stack before you play agressive since you can throw your pot around.
Bad Player / Loose passive
 
Bets only to see pre flop
They fit or fold after the flop and will not bluff. 
Only raise Preflop at the top of his starting hand range
Bad Player / Calling stations
Like loose passive but hate to fold
Usually only bet with high hands. 
Bad Player / Bad aggressive 
Mancia
Don’t control agression
Love to gamble
No strategy
Can’t really tell what they have or if they are bluffing or value betting
 
 

Learn

 
• Decision Making Process
What are the steps to take for any given hand?
 

 
 
 
 
 
Preflop
 
• Bet high if you have a good hand.
• This clears the field for you.
 
 
 
Strengths
Weaknesses
Hand Analysis
 
 

Todo

 
Todo
Definition of Done
Poker Math
  •  How to pick hand based on probabilities

Poker

 
  • ballot box with check Learn the Hands
  • ☐ Learn the Lingo
  • ☐ Learn the different varieties
  • ☐ Learn the math
  • ☐ Learn betting strategy
  • ☐ Tactics
  • ☐ Psychology
 

Figure out when to fold.

 
What does a good fold look like over time
 

Game Theory in Excel

 
 
 

Learn probability and statistics

 

Game Theory

Any Title by Lou Krieger — Mid-stakes poker pro and prolific writer Lou Krieger passed away a few years ago, but he left us all with a wealth of interesting study material, mostly on how to play and beat low- to mid-stakes cash games. Krieger wrote eight books, plus several hundred columns for CardPlayer magazine. Just about any of his works are worth reading. No single book stands out from what is a solid library on poker strategy. So instead, I’ll give Krieger a general shout out and recommend him as an author.
Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo (2007) — This is one of the most “think outside the box” poker books ever written. It probably should be in the top 10, but for some reason, it hasn’t garnered as big an audience as it merits. Angelo, a well-respected pro player and coach examines poker from many different perspectives, including a total of 144 angles. His key concept is something called “reciprocality,” which means success comes from doing something different from what’s normal (or expected). In addition to containing lots of ideas you’ve probably never thought about before, Elements of Poker is also a fun read. It deserves a lot more love.
Little Green Book by Phil Gordon (2009) — Phil Gordon was one of the biggest poker stars of the 2000s. This book was released at the height of his fame, coming off his role as host of the television show Celebrity Poker. This was a poker book patterned after a similarly-designed golf book with a comparative title called The Little Green Golf Book by Harvey Penick (which was perhaps copied from Mao’s Little Red Book — but I digress). The Little Green Book sold remarkably well, and was even described by some critics as a shorter version of Dan Harrington’s strategy books. High praise, indeed.
The Psychology of Poker by Dr. Alan N. Schoonmaker (2000) — Dr. Schoonmaker is a retired psychologist who plays low-stakes games in Las Vegas. Here’s what’s most unusual about him: he’s one of the best listeners I’ve ever met. I think that says a lot about this author and what he values. Even today when I run into Dr. Schoonmaker around Las Vegas, he’s constantly talking to other people, but, more important, listening to others when they discuss poker. That lifetime of wisdom — from his days as a psychologist to his nights at the poker table — was filtered and eventually put into words in the form of The Psychology of Poker, and his highly-recommended follow up book, Your Worst Poker Enemy: Mastering the Mental Game released in 2007.
The Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen and Jerrod Ankenman (2006), and Weighing the Odds in Hold’em Poker by King Yao (2006) — These are two highly-advanced poker books with excruciatingly detailed math problems and solutions. Recreational players and those with no math background will have a difficult time understanding the text, or following what the authors try to prove. However, both books are noteworthy for their intensive attention to detail and demonstration that winning poker is both an art and a science.
The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, and More by Jared Tendler and Barry Carter (2011) — I debated whether or not to include such a recently published book on this list. Most books need time to measure properly and years to assess fully. However, this book appears destined for great acclaim given its superior reviews just about everywhere. As the title suggests, there’s a lot in the book to think about when it comes to the mental side of the game. I confess, this is the only book on the list I haven’t read. So, while I’m reluctant to include it for that reason, way too many people I respect give it a high grade, which means it bears mentioning.
The Making of a Poker Player by Matt Matros — This is a highly unusual poker book, but one that stands up well over time. Fresh out of college, author Matt Matros started playing in recreational poker games in the Washington, DC area (where I first met him — that story’s in the book). A year later, he was sitting at the final table of a million-dollar tournament called the Tournament of Champions. This book is actually a sort of premonition. Matros wrote about the game and discussed many of the peripheral influences on him as an eager young upstart long before he enjoyed any personal or professional success (some would say “validation”) as a player. After this book was released, Matros then won three World Series of Poker gold bracelets (three straight years), two in the game he mostly writes about, which is limit hold’em. Amazingly, he only plays poker part time. Most authors win big tournaments and become famous, and then they write poker books. The ultra-confident Matros did the opposite. That’s gutsy.
Zen and the Art of Poker by Larry W. Phillips (1999) — Zen has become the new age way of thinking for a lot of people who swear by the approach to life. Its basic principles certainly apply to poker, especially if you subscribe to the “toughest opponent at the poker table is yourself” philosophy.Zen and the Art of Poker is a highly welcome psychological self-help tool for players who have problems controlling their emotions or going on what’s called “tilt.” Moreover, it’s not just a simple retread of old sayings by a lot of dead people. The author actually goes into considerable detail about how to apply Zen philosophy to what you do and how you act at the poker table. Well received and a niche guide for self-improvement.
Any Title by the Two Plus Two Catalog of Writers — I realize this sounds like I’m shilling for 2+2 and the publishing house started by authors Mason Malmuth and David Sklansky. However, any title of the few dozen from this excellent collection of poker books deserves a look, and probably a read. I include this generic recommendation because just about any of the 2+2 publications are at least worthy of honorable mention.

The Top 10 Poker Poker Strategy Books

This entry from the mainstream publishing house Kensington might surprise a few people, but it’s a stupendously good poker book geared mostly for no-limit hold’em tournament play. Authored by Gus Hansen at the height of his success as a three-time World Poker Tour champion, one of poker’s most unorthodox players takes you through his thought processes during every stage of a tournament, from the first hand to (what’s hopefully) the final table. Chip Reese, who wrote the book’s foreword, had this to say: “He’s brought original thought to an age-old game. Many of his ideas on how to play poker have made me take a second look at some conventional strategies I thought to be true.” This page-turning book is straight and to the point. Critically acclaimed and groundbreaking, yet still largely underappreciated, Every Hand Revealed merits a spot on this list.
Mike Caro was and remains a pioneer in poker strategy. He’s written innumerable articles and reports on the science of poker over the years, and continues to do so today. He’s also a highly engaging speaker who is just as famous for his poker seminars, which have been going for nearly 30 years. In 1984, Caro first released The Body Language of Poker, which analyzed just what it says, body language — including posturing, facial movements, voice inflections, and so forth. His original book was updated 10 years later with new photos and deeper analysis. While not as relevant today and probably applicable only to low-stakes games (if at all), this was a groundbreaking work for its time which was referenced often and was the subject of conversation during many games. With 277 pages of photos and explanations, this book packed in a lot of information and revealed that the real money isn’t necessarily to be made looking at the cards, but rather watching and studying your opponents.
Of the many books contained in the Two Plus Two catalog, this is certainly one of the best. It receives no style points. In fact, the concept is almost too simple. Poker Essays is just that — a collection of writings (some might even say, musings) by one of the game’s great minds, Mason Malmuth. What makes this special is that the book isn’t just about strategy; it also discusses the future of the game, suggests improvements card room management could make, and gives lots of other advice geared towards the overall advancement of poker. Here’s a challenge. Go back and read it now, 20 years after its release; you’ll discover many of the concerns and predictions about the game first raised by Malmuth have come true. I used to think he was crazy for writing some of these things. But he turned out to be mostly right.
 
Malmuth is one of only two authors to receive two nominations in the top 10. If any book was a “must read” for all poker players during the 1990s, it was most certainly Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players, first published in 1988, and later re-printed several times since. This is a limit hold’em primer. Since virtually all hold’em played up until 2003 was limit, this book had a major impact on the game and the players who were successful. Some of the concepts, such as the “semi-bluff” (first coined by Malmuth) became part of the game’s unique lexicon. Malmuth broke down a variety of different situations and ended up fundamentally altering the course of games, especially in the period from 1988 (two years after flop games were legalized in California) and 2003, when limit started experiencing a decline in popularity.
Most readers have probably not heard of this book. Even serious players would have a hard time identifying it. However, it should be remembered fondly. When agreeing to this assignment, one of the first calls I made was to Dan Harrington. I asked him which strategy books had meant the most to him. Without hesitation, he listed Winning Poker Systems as a monumentally important contribution to poker theory. Released in 1973 when there were virtually no poker books on the market, this was a groundbreaking first step in what would later become a foot race to lay out the best strategy for winning. While terribly dated now because it mostly addresses obsolete poker games like five-card draw and lowball (which were the only legal games played in California at the time), it was the first book to chart starting hands and stress the importance of position. David Sklansky has also repeatedly sung the praises of this book and its author, Norman Zadah, then a young doctoral student who was studying for his degree in Applied Mathematics at Cal-Berkeley.
For many players, this was “the book” for nearly a decade. For some, it remains so even today. Arguably, it familiarized more players with the basics of limit hold’em than any other book in history. Perhaps the book’s best attribute is its simplicity, which is somewhat misleading because it also packs in so much excellent strategic advice. It doesn’t look or read like a poker textbook thanks to Jones’ easy-to-understand approach and conversational style. After this was published, Jones later went on to become the Site Manager for PokerStars.com, which became the largest poker site in the world. No doubt, one of the reasons he got that coveted job was because of his tremendous understanding of the mind of the average poker player. That knowledge comes across in the pages of what’s unquestionably one of the most important strategic books ever written.
This was the very first book ever written exclusively on the game of hold’em to become widely available. Keep in mind that this poker variant wasn’t widely known anywhere except in some parts of the South, and in Las Vegas. At best, perhaps several thousand people actually knew how to play the game. After this book was published, that number would expand into the hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions. Sklansky must have seen the game’s appeal long before anyone else did. Either that, or he understood that since the WSOP was around to stay, hold’em would eventually become the game of the future. Whatever his reasons, this was an important first step towards understanding how to play and win at limit hold’em. The original edition is somewhat dated now, since most games during that time included only a single blind, so Sklansky updated his book in 1997 to account for the double-blind structure. It’s the shortest book on this list, but certainly a historical groundbreaker.
This is the best-selling poker book in history, having now surpassed 300,000 copies sold. Not only did the 1995 world poker champion perfectly time his book’s release, which came at the height of the poker boom, his authorship and fierce independence (as one of the few highly-respected icons not to affiliate full-time with anyone) gives the text an added measure of credibility. Harrington co-authored this book with Bill Robertie, a master chess player and game theorist. The first volume was followed up by Harrington on Hold’em: Volume II. Later, they released Harrington on Hold’em: Volume III, then Harrington on Cash Games, which received similar acclaim. No doubt, all of these books made poker much tougher to beat. But the first release likely will stand as one of the best strategy books ever written.
Legend has it that many poker greats were upset when two-time world champion Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson decided to capitalize on his emerging celebrity status and give away the keys to the treasury in what became known as Super/System — alternatively titled, How I Won One Million Dollars Playing Poker. The original cover price was a staggering $100 when released during the late 1970s, equivalent to more than $400 today. Still, the book sold steadily over three decades, propelled by a highly-anticipated re-release by Cardoza Publishing in a far less-expensive paperback format. At a whopping 600 pages and bound by a heavy black cover, Super/System — whether intentionally or not — actually resembles The Holy Bible. Indeed, this book packs in a lot of poker knowledge that can be taken to the bank. Aside from strategy, the narrative chapters in which Brunson recalls his poker exploits from the old days come as a highly-entertaining bonus. This was the first book to include contributions from top players who were acknowledged to be the world’s very best at their specific games. Co-authors include the late David "Chip" Reese, Mike Caro, David Sklansky, Joey Hawthorne, Bobby Baldwin, and of course the man himself, Doyle Brunson. This remains an amazing poker book that was decades ahead of its time — arguably the best ever both in terms of quantity and quality. This book is not to be confused with Super/System 2, released in 2004 (which was not as successful).
1. The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky (1994 Edition)
Most game theorists and serious poker players regard this masterwork by David Sklansky as the game’s strategic dictionary. At 276 pages long divided into 25 chapters, this book from Two Plus Two Publishing contains all the basic strategic fundamentals. While not necessarily entertaining nor appealing to casual readers or anyone else other than serious players, this book contains nearly a lifetime of well-researched and painstakingly debated poker concepts, ultimately encapsulated in the sub-title, How to Think Like a Professional Poker Player. Here’s a summation of what’s contained in The Theory of Poker: “Beginning poker players sometimes ask, ‘What do you do in this particular situation?’ There really is no correct answer to that question because it’s the wrong question... The right question is: ‘What do you consider in this particular situation before determining what you do?’ The Theory of Poker addresses itself to such considerations.” I don’t know of anyone who takes poker seriously who hasn’t read this book or who isn’t at the very least familiar with its significance in the chronology of poker knowledge. It’s the benchmark for all future strategy debate and theory discussion. Period. End of discussion.
 
 
 
Recreational
1-Theory of poker, by David Sklansky
David Sklansky and its The Theory of Poker is the most popular poker book by far
The Theory of Poker is great because the fundamentals taught can be applied to any game, and his chapter on The Fundamental Theorem of Poker is one of the most famous of all time.
This book introduces you to raising, the slow-play, the value of position, psychology, heads-up play, game theory, implied odds...and many other concepts. David Sklansky is considered one of the best professional players ever and this book will teach you how to think as one of them. 
Many of today's top poker players will tell you that this is the book that really made a difference in their play. Buy it now.
2-Super System Deluxe, by Doyle Brunson
Considered to be the bible of poker, when it was published in 1979 this book caused many irritations between many professional poker players contemporaries to Brunson that saw how their strategies were exposed and hence, no longer valid.
Despite poker having widely evolved from then and many of these books strategies are a bit outdated, Super System Deluxe contains a wide range of games straight taken from the minds of some of the greatest players in the history, that for sure, will help you to a deep understand of the foundations of the game itself. You will also find basic explanation about odds, probabilities and a wide propabilities table, to me your beginnings in poker, much more easier and thoughtful. Available here.
3-Hole Card Confessions, by Owen Gaines
This is one of the best books existing in handreading and different types of range in Texas Hold’em. Although there are many books mentioning these subjects, this bookshas one of the bests and most intuitive explanation of range based thinking andgathers all the information you need to know and actually teaches you how to value your hand against an opponent's range.
The is a very well written and very easy to read book that will help your understanding. Its good analysis will help your game to reach the next level. 
We recommend it for recreational players who already understand the basis of Texas Hold'em. Get it here.
Medium
5-Every Hand Revealed, by Gus Hansen
Gus Hansen, wrote this book when he was at the peak of his poker career, riding high on the success of his third World Poker Tour win. In this book Hansen keeps a note of every hand that lead him to win the 2007 Aussie Millions Main Event.
It is not an strategy book but a quite unconventional one that allows you to get in a poker professional and get to know how he thinks and why he took the decisions he took.  
The Great Danish, explains every hand separately, stressing a lot statistics and odds behind every hand. He also offers quite a lot reflextions on strategy, as different type of games based on low/high "ante" and how the lowest proportion between small blind and ante, the bigger the pot is. Get your book here.
6-Professional No Limit Hold’em Vol. I
Publised in 2007, it is one of the best books you will find about No Limit Holdem written by recognised online and offline players such as Matt Flynn, Sunny Metha and Ed Miller.
The book approaches poker in a very practical way, going in depth in the basic pilars a professional player must command properly: odds and outs, range-equity, SPR or stack-to-pot-ratio, pot control, the REM Process and "The Commitment Threshold". Good stuff that will help you avoiding big mistakes. 
You will learn how to think like a professional with many hands thoroughly explained. Get your copy here!
Advanced
7-Applications of No-Limit Hold'em, by Matthew Janda
We recommend this book for already advanced players that they want to become even better. Very updated it is considered a guide on current professional game of poker.Best book to go in depth in concepts such as GTO, (Game Theory Optimal or most suitable game against every opponent) and range equity calculation. The book also illustrate a very different range of scenarios and explains mathematically most suitable game for each situation.
Although it does lean heavily on the mathematical side, the language used makes it very accessible for those who aren't fans of numbers and equations. In short, it's well worth the money and will add a lot of depth to your all round game. Don't miss it
8-Reading poker tells, by Zachary Elwood
Considered for many the best books int “poker tells” of the market. This book will help you to develop architectural frameworks in your mind to be able identifying different behaviours that altogether could help you to spot when your opponent is more likely to be lying.
You will also learn to avoid giving tells to your opponents that might blow up your strategy.
It paid for itself the very first read I noticed during a cash game. It's simple, to the point, well organized and informative. Get your copy here.
9-Let there be range, by Cole South & Tri Nguyen
It is definitely one of the most legendaries poker books ever written. Its astronomical prize, amongst many other things, has contributed to make this book a "prohibitive" book and a classic at the same time.
This book was revolutionary when it was released because it was the first to correctly demonstrate how to do EV calculations against a range of hands. That information is widely available now however so the book is not really worth so much today. At the time of release though it was worth that much to mid stakes professionals looking to improve their strategies.We highly recommend you read it if you happen to bump into a copy of it, no matter the format. Amazon is selling it at the moment for $1596,57. Available here.
Psychology
10-The Poker Mindset, by Ian Taylor and Matthew Hilger
The Poker Mindset is the go-to book for professional poker players struggling to keep a lid on a broad range of emotional and mental issues affecting their game in a negative sense.
It is not an strategy book but a book aimed to lay bare the secrets of correct attitudes and concepts that ensure you have the optimal emotional, psychological, and behavioral framework for playing superior poker. Strongly recommended for regular and professional players who will surely identify themselves in different examples and approaches. identificar e interiorizar todo el contenido.
Get your copy here.
11-The Mental Game of Poker 2, by Zachary Elwood
The mental game may be more important in poker than in any other form of competition.This is why this book is so important to have certain knowledge of psychological procedures we go through.In this book you'll find simple instructions and proven techniques to permanently fix problems such as tilt, handling variance, emotional control, confidence, fear, and motivation. With the games getting tougher, now is the time to take these problems head on. 
Recommended to everyone who is starting to take poker more seriously, and wants to become a professional. Get the Mental Game here.
 

13 of the Best Poker Books Ever Written

Published On: 3 May 2007 / Modified: 27 May 2019 
By Daniel Skolovy
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If you choose to play winning poker, you'll have to rededicate yourself to that goal throughout your life.
You can't ever let your game become stale.
The minute you think you know it all is the minute you will switch to a losing player's mindset. Poker is a game that takes a lifetime to master; there is always more information out there that can make you a better player.
Books are a great resource to help you strengthen your skills. There are thousands of books written on the subject of poker and almost all of them will be able to teach you something.
Here are my picks for the best poker books - and not just books dedicated to strategy.

Top 13 Poker Books

David Sklansky
1) Theory of Poker
Author: David Sklansky
This is the book that started it all, in a way. Two Plus Two Publishing is the biggest and best publishing company when it comes to poker- and gambling-related literature.
This book showcases many strategies and theories that had never been put to paper before. A must-read for any novice to intermediate poker player.
2) Harrington on Hold 'em: Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments volumes I-II
Author: Dan Harrington
The two best books ever written on tournament poker, by "Action Dan" himself. Learn how to play all the different stages of the tournament and how to adjust your play for each blind level.
Dan goes into incredible detail with strategies that made him the successful tournament player that he is.
3) Small Stakes Hold'em
Authors: Edward Miller, Mason Malmuth and David Sklansky
This is a book about Limit Hold'em that even a No-Limit player can benefit from. One of the most complete texts ever written for crushing low-stakes Hold'em this book will teach you the fundamentals to play any game and give you the tools to win.
4) Getting Started in Hold'em
Author: Edward Miller
This beginner book will teach you the fundamental building blocks that any solid game is built on. It is not advanced but should be the starting point for any new player wanting to learn Texas Hold'em.
Gus Hansen
5) Sit-and-Go Strategy: Expert Advice for Beating One-Table Poker Tournaments
Author: Collin Moshman
This is the best book on sit-and-go play ever written. If you play single-table tournaments, run (or navigate) to the bookstore now and pick this book up. It's guaranteed to increase your ROI and make you a better player not only in sit-and-gos but in multi-table tournaments as well.
6) Every Hand Revealed
Author: Gus Hansen 
In 2007 Gus Hansen outlasted 747 players for a $1.2 million win at the Aussie Millions to add to his four WPT titles and countless massive tournament scores.
In Every Hand Revealed Gus goes into amazing detail about over 300 hands that he played en route to victory. During the tournament Hansen could be seen whispering into his voice recorder after every hand. Here's your chance to hear what he was saying.
7) Check-Raising the Devil
Author: Mike Matusow 
Mike Matusow's road to the top of the poker world was not a smooth one. From humble beginnings as a video poker degenerate to low limit poker player/ dealer to the Main Event final table to jail and back again. 
In Check-Raising the Devil Matusow waives the fifth and tells all, whether it’s flattering or not.
8) Elements of Poker
Author: Tommy Angelo 
This is a poker strategy book with no real poker strategy. Tommy Angelo doesn't want to teach you to play poker, he knows you know how to play poker. He wants to teach you how to play your best poker. You can be the best player in the world when you're on your A-game, but if you only play you’re A-game 20 per cent of the time you're not going to be very profitable.
Conversely, a player that's nowhere near the best in the world but consistently plays his A-game is always going to be profitable.  Elements of Poker teaches you how to stay at the top of your game and ultimately become a better poker player.
James McManus
9) Positively Fifth Street
Author: James McManus 
In 2000 James McManus was sent to Vegas by Harper's Magazine to write stories on women in the WSOP and Ted Binion's murder. When he got there, however, he took his front money and entered a satellite to the Main Event.
He improbably went on to final table it and wrote a book detailing all three story lines. Positively Fifth Street is an improbable “only in Vegas” story that can't be missed.
10) Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People
Author: Amarillo Slim 
In a World Full of Fat People tells the tale of one of the greatest gamblers of all time. He beats a Chinese Ping Pong champion using Coke bottles for paddles. He beats Minnesota fats at pool with a broomstick.
He gets robbed at gun point more often than I can count. He wins the WSOP Main Event and he does it all and for higher stakes than you or I could even imagine. A book could be written about just one of these stories but Slim’s got a hundred. 
11) Small Stakes Hold'em
Author: Ed Miller 
Unless you’re playing Limit Hold’em you probably missed this book. However, Limit player or not, that would be a huge mistake. Small Stakes Hold'em is probably the best book for novice poker players.
It goes through everything you need to be a winning poker player: expected value, pre-flop hand ranking guides, adjusting for tight and loose games, odds, implied odds, everything. Even for players wanting to play No-Limit Hold'em this should be the foundation you build your game on.
Stu Ungar
12) One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall Of Stu Ungar
Authors: Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson 
Stu Ungar was a lot of things. He was a father, a drug addict, a poker player, the best gin rummy player to have ever lived, a degenerate, and one of only two players to win the WSOP Main Event 3 times. 
That alone would make for an interesting enough book but One of A Kind goes above and beyond and brings you the stories behind the stories. It’s gripping and heart-wrenching and you won't be able to put it down.
Watch our short documentary on Stu Ungar right here:
13) The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King
Author: Michael Craig
In 2001 a billionaire banker by the name Andy Beal strolled into the Bellagio Poker Room. It didn't take long before he was playing for the highest stakes in history. The games took place over a number of years, and each year Beal came back better and better.
But that didn't stop a “corporation” of poker players from pooling their money and taking turns playing the Dallas billionaire heads-up with at mind boggling high-stakes ranging from $500/$1,000 to $50,000/$100,000 limit hold'em. 
Michael Craig tells the story of an amateur who takes on the best in the world for the highest stakes ever. If that doesn’t make you read it nothing will.
 
he Top 86
Poker Books
All CategoriesBiographicalCash Game StrategyFictionGeneral StrategyHeads Up StrategyHold'em StrategyMindsetMixed Games StrategyOmaha StrategyOnline StrategyPsychologySit n Go StrategyTournament Strategy
 
 
 
by Jonathan Little, Phil Hellmuth, Mike Sexton, Olivier Busquet, Will Tipton
This book is jam-packed with high-quality content. Celebrated poker professional and author Jonathan Little brings together 17 of the biggest no-limit experts in the world to explain all aspects of the game. These specialists include superstars such as Phil Hellmuth, Chris Moneymaker, Mike Sexton and Jared Tendler.
Part One focuses on strategies for topics such as mastering the basics, analyzing tells, lower buy-in events, satellite play and moving up in stakes.
Part Two gives you a detailed technical analysis of the game including sections on range analysis, short stack strategies, game theory optimal play, final table play, and value betting.
Part Three deals with mental toughness, psychology and understanding tilt. Excelling at No-Limit Hold‘em gives the reader all the tools that an ambitious player needs for understanding no-limit hold‘em.
It is a must buy for anybody who is serious about improving their poker.
by David Sklansky
The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky explains theories and concepts relevant to nearly every variation of the game.
It introduces you to the Fundamental Theorem of Poker, its implications, and how it should affect your play. Other chapters discuss the value of deception, bluffing, raising, the slow-play, the value of position, psychology, heads-up play, game theory, implied odds, the free card, and semi-bluffing.
Many of today’s top poker players will tell you that this is the book that made a difference in their play.
Those who read and study this book will leave behind those who don’t. This is without a doubt one of the best books ever written on poker.
by Ed Miller
The Course by Ed Miller is a practical and useful, step-by-step guide to winning consistently at Texas No-Limit Holdem.
It focuses on the most important poker concepts that determine who wins and who doesn’t. Unlike other books on poker, this one is very practical.
Many of the concepts are not simple, yet Ed Miller presents them in an easy to understandable way. There is virtually no math though the needed math concepts are woven into the material seamlessly.
by Dan Harrington
Harrington on Hold Em teaches you the tactics required to get you through hundreds of thousands of hands you have to win to make it to the final table.
Harrington’s advanced and time-tested winning strategies, focus on what it takes to survive the early and middle stages of a Texas No-Limit Holdem tournament.
You will learn how to optimize your betting patterns, vary your style, respond to a re-raise, analyze hands, react when a bad card hits, play to win the most money possible and much more.
In Harrington on Hold Em is a definitive book on Texas No-Limit Holdem for players who want to win big.
by Doyle ‘Texas Dolly’ Brunson, Chip Reese, Joey Hawthorne, Bobby Baldwin, Mike Caro, Dave Sklansky
In 600 pages, Doyle Brunson and five leading experts in their various specialties tell you when to raise, call, bet, and fold at Texas No-Limit Holdem.
This book is the result of over 10,000 hours of hard work by the some of the world’s greatest players and theorists and has never been equaled in value or scope.
It is a must-have book for serious poker players.
by Jared Tendler, Barry Carter
Texas No-Limit Holdem is one of the few games in the world where you can play perfectly and lose again and again.
Jared Tendler’s approach helps players to be at their best, no matter how poorly they are running.
In this book, you find simple, step-by-step instructions and proven techniques to fix problems such as handling variance, tilt, confidence, emotional control, fear, and motivation permanently.
by Jonathan Little
Most poker players find it hard to win at even the smallest stakes.
Bad luck is usually blamed for their failures. In reality, they are just not skilled enough at poker.
The secret to winning at poker does not lie in following a predetermined system or in memorizing hand ranking charts.
You have to learn to think for yourself to adapt your strategy based on your opponents.
The book discusses numerous strategies that allow you to crush your enemies at small stakes while enabling you to progress to the middle and high stakes.
by Ashton Cartwright
This book features a few of the best expert poker players from the world. They speak about all aspects of playing poker for a living: the bad parts, the good parts, the challenges, the victories and what separates the champions from the loosing players.
Some of the players in this book include: Aaron Mordey, Alan McMaster, Alek Givotovsky, Alexander Antonios, Ashley Warner, Ashton Cartwright, Brett “brett_threat” Chalhoub, Bryan Huang, Chris Lee, Cole “TopKat5757” Swannack, Didier “didibearrrr” Guerin, Grant Levy, Jackie “Jackstar” Glazier, Jackson Zheng, Jacky Wang, Kahle Burns, Mathew Brown, Octavian Voegele, Oliver “Talerric” “SwoopAE” Gill, Patrick “pmahoney22” Mahoney, Paul Hockin, Rory Young, Ryan Laplante, Slava Sheynin, Tom “winga699” Wing, Victor Teng, and more.
by Phil Gordon, Howard Lederer, Annie Duke
After fifteen years or playing, Phil Gordon’s kept notes on all the things he has learned, the famous opponents he has faced, and the celebrities he has taught.
He put every single thing he knows about Texas No-Limit Holdem into this little green book.
Phil breaks down the game into instructional bits and illustrative stories that inspire the endurance and motivation essential to improving your game.
Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book earns a spot on the bookshelf of every serious student of the game.
by Gus Hansen
Gus Hansen is often called “The Madman” for his fearless and aggressive style.
You cannot dispute the fact that he knows how to win big.
In Every Hand Revealed, Gus analyzes the hands that he played during his tournaments and reveals his secrets for winning.
10. Pot Limit Omaha by Jeff Hwang
While many other books on this list will help you improve your Texas Hold’Em skills, this one is focused solely on the second most popular poker variation out there — PLO. Jeff Hwang does a great job explaining the best strategies for beginners and more advanced players. It’s especially good if you’re making a transition from Texas Hold’em to PLO.
 
9. Small Stakes Poker Tournaments by Jonathan Little
The small stakes poker tournaments usually attract tons of players. While many of them are rather weak, it’s still not that easy to beat the games consistently. If that’s your goal, Jonathan Little can certainly help. He explores various successful strategies that will give you an edge in small stakes tournaments and will help you avoid common mistakes.
 
8. Small Stakes Poker Cash Games by Jonathan Little
Little is among the few authors on this list who focuses more on specific formats and strategies, instead of general poker-related content. This book will help cash players start beating the lower stakes consistently by explaining the most common mistakes of their opponents and how to exploit them.
 
7. Moorman's Book of Poker by Chris Moorman
It is probably one of the best books on poker for an online strategy. Chris Moorman is the most successful online tournament player, with more than $13 million in winnings. In this book, he shares his knowledge and the thought processes that helped him reach the highest levels of the game. He analyzes hands that he played in different tournament stages, explaining them step by step. If you are playing tournaments or planning to do so, this book is a must for your library.
 
Elwood focuses solely on reading tells.
6. Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo
This book is vastly underrated for some reason. It gives the unconventional approach of Tommy Angelo, who explores more than 100 specific situations. If you want to expand your thinking and learn some out-of-the-box techniques, give it a shot.
 
5. Reading Poker Tells by Zachary Elwood
Many of the other books on this list touch on the topic of reading your opponents, but none of them are dedicated to this aspect of the game. Zachary Elwood did just that, and you can quickly improve your reading skills in live games thanks to his work. He will give you useful tips on how to understand what’s going on, as well as strategies to take advantage of this information.
 
4. Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition by Alton Hardin
Math is a crucial part of poker, especially nowadays, when it seems everyone is much more prepared than they used to be. This book by Alton Hardin gives you all the basics you will need. It can be useful to many players, but if you’re just starting, it’s a must-read.
 
3. Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book by Phil Gordon
The name of this one seems quite casual, but that shouldn’t fool you. The Little Green Book is considered a poker bible by many poker players out there. It covers pretty much all the important aspects of the game and could improve your style immensely.
 
2. The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler
Poker can be difficult, and the mental side of the game is crucial if you want to achieve long-term success. Learning how to absorb unfortunate runs and handle bad beats is often the difference between a decent player and a poker pro. This book by Jared Tendler is one of the best on the topic and will help you take your mental strength to the next level.
 
1. Applications of No-Limit Hold'em by Matthew Janda
This is by far the best poker book I have ever read, and many pros agree with me. Matthew Janda breaks down the essentials and explains equity calculations, hand range structure, game theory optimal play, the purpose of balancing your ranges and much more. Moreover, he breaks down all of this information into structured parts, so the book is easy to follow and will surely help you understand the strategy much better.
 
Sky Matsuhashi
9.8/10
Jonathan Little
9.4/10
Jared Tendler
9/10
Gus Hansen
9/10
James Sweeney
8.8/10
Tommy Angelo
8.8/10
Ed Miller
8.6/10
Jared Tendler
8.6/10
Jonathan Little
8.5/10
Mike Turner
8.4/10
Mathew Janda
8.2/10
Alton Hardin
8/10

#1 – Small Stakes Poker Tournaments

This little gem is full of useful tips & tricks and grabs the first place.
One of the most productive poker writers is back with another top seller.
Although most of us dream of winning big tournaments like WSOP and EPT there is little chance of that happening.
Therefore Jonathan Little has written this handy book giving you the advice, knowledge, and skill of beating the small stakes poker tournaments.
Jonathan Little is an experienced professional player who in this book shares his valuable experience with the reader.
“Strategies For Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments” is beneficial for someone who wants help with winning small stake poker tournaments, like Sit N Go's.
Jonathan gives excellent advice on how to analyze your opponent and to recognize their habits and use them against them.
The strategies are explained in simple and easy to understand language. He breaks down what to look for into categories and shares specific strategies for each category.
While this is a short book, it is packed with information that will help you up your game.
One note of caution, the book uses poker terminology throughout it, so if you are a complete newbie, you might want to consider learning the basics before jumping into this book.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning how to win more poker tournament games.

 

#3 – Harrington On Hold 'Em Vol. 2: Endgame

This book is written by Dan Harrington, 1995 World Series of Poker Champion and author of many poker books.
In this second volume of this series, Dan covers the later phases in the poker tournaments when bigger pots are at stake.
The best thing about this book is that Harrington provides the reader with a lot of hand analysis, explaining play and strategy step-by-step.
The book gives many illustrations that will help explain bluffing, steals, pre-flop, bets and more. You will also learn why and why you shouldn’t make certain plays.
Like his other books, Harrington’s writing style in this book is like a manual. Although it may not be the most entertaining, it is informative.
Harrington’s books are in general all around great for any player seeking to improve their game. Beginners will especially benefit from the step-by-step approach of the book.

#4 – Harrington On Hold’em Vol. 1: Strategic Play

This book by Harrington, which is the first in a series of three, can be utilized by players of all levels.
It’s a fun read and it kind of reads like a manual. It has clarity and lessons are presented in a way for readers to understand quickly.
One thing I liked about the book the most was the illustrated examples. When talking about bluffs, pot odds, steals, betting, etc., an illustrated example of a round or hand played is being presented to the reader so they can visually see what Harrington is teaching them.
Although the world of Texas Hold ‘em has changed a lot since the publishing of this book, readers can still gain valuable information and strategies to help improve their play.

#5 – Excelling At No-Limit Hold’em

If you are interested in improving your game.
Learning the in-depth strategies that will give you a much deeper understanding of poker
Then, I strongly encourage you to read this book.
The variety of advice that some of the poker greats shared has allowed me to improve my game and play with a lot more confidence.
I have come to rely on this book as a trusted resource finding myself consistently referring back to it as a refresher.
In this book, you will find a variety of advice from many famous and experienced poker players such as:
Jonathan Little, who has won over $6 million in prizes playing poker and is a poker coach.
Phil Hellmuth, who has won over $16 million playing poker.
Olivier Busquet, who has over $6 million in winnings.
The authors have done a fantastic job explaining the information in a way that I found easy to understand, including important details that every no-limit hold’em player should know.
I found reading this book quite enjoyable and was able to apply the strategies that I learned quickly. This book is a must for poker players that are truly serious about improving their approach to the game.
The information is easy to read and detailed and explained by the various authors of the book. Having so many authors is a real advantage given you a wealth of knowledge from these professional players.

#6 – Essential Poker Math

Alton Hardin, who has been playing poker for over ten years and is the founder and creator of the MicroGrinder Poker Schoolhave written this excellent book.
This piece will teach you elementary poker math and how to use it to increase your winnings. It will cover probabilities and odds, expected value, pot equity, ratios, calls and more.
Hardin will provide you with many examples, such as exercise and scenarios, to learn, study, and practice. It even gives you some even reference charts and cheat sheets.
With the examples, charts, and tools provided by the book, learning poker math is less intimidating and more accessible to grasp.
Beginners will gain new and much-needed information, including poker terminology. Advanced players will learn a new skill that will give them an advantage in future poker games and increase their winnings.
Thus, it is a book that can be enjoyed by poker players of all levels.

#7 – Doyle Brunson's Super System 2

The “Godfather of Poker” has once again shared everything he knows, loves and hates about the poker world.
Whether you call him the “Texas Dolly” or “Godfather of Poker” everyone can learn from his extensive experience and thoughtful insight into the game that he helped revolutionize.
No one’s take on the game is as unique as Doyle’s and his years of experience open up a world of how he managed to become one of the best well-known poker players on the circuit.
He has openly shared his knowledge with the world and has written various bookson the topic of poker and how to be successful at it.
Although among one of the oldest players, his knowledge can be invaluable to those who have experience only with playing poker online.
His views are based on the time when you needed to sit at a table to play a game.

#8 – Every Hand Revealed

Every Hand Revealed is written by Gus Hansen, and it is a guide for getting into the mind and strategy of Gus Hansen himself.
Like Gus Hansen, the book shows you how to take calculated risks and know when to be more aggressive in strategy when it comes to bluffing, guessing, calling out large bets and more.
The book is a combination of voice recorder notes that Hansen recorded himself during tournament play.
He explains many hands he has played during tournaments and explained the math of his strategy and thought process. One thing I genuinely liked about the book is that Hansen’s mistakes are included as well.
After reading this book, you start to understand that Hansen is not this crazy poker player, but a calculated player who knows when to go for it.
I recommend this book to be for intermediate and advanced poker players who are looking for different strategies and ways to be more aggressive in their playing.

#9 – Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition

I love playing no-limit hold’em with my pals but have never been great at figuring out the odds or the percentages as well as they could.
So I decided to educate myself after searching through what had seemed like a million books I finally found this gem.
Hardin’s simple to understand explanation of mathematics came through big time with this expanded edition. I caught on faster than I ever expected and have been able to improve my level of play winning more games.
I enjoy playing poker more than I ever had before. Being able to play according to the odds as opposed to just the hand I have been dealt has made the game more of a mental challenge than just a game of luck.
If you want to be recognized as a formidable opponent, you can’t go wrong learning the math behind the game from this book.

#10 – A Fishy Poker Tournament

This is quite a funny little poker book.
Tyler Nals takes all his experience of poker characters and strategy and puts it all together in this squirmy and entertaining book.
Tyler doesn't take the traditional approach to write poker books. He tries to make his books fun and entertaining.
And he has succeeded with this one.
The readers will follow along in a poker tournament, all the way to the final table. Along the way, you will learn about different poker stereotypes, solve a mysterious puzzle going on behind the scenes, and learn poker strategy from the hands played throughout the tournament.

#11 – The Course

Ed Miller immediately dispels the delusion that The Course will instantly solve all your problems and make you a better player winning lots of money.
Instead, Ed draws out the path and expectations you should have during your journey to become a better poker player. The book is full of strategies that focus on your mindset and your play.
It explains how you can’t control what other players do, and you shouldn’t worry about their actions either. Doing so is a distraction, and the book shows you how to overcome this and improve your playing.
I recommend this book for mid-level to advanced players as you will need some playing experience and knowledge of some strategies to utilize the book fully.

#12 – Doyle Brunson’s Super System

As someone who has been a loyal fan of the great Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson for years, reading this book was extremely enjoyable.
Learning about his bold approach to the game as well as his thoughts behind them were eye-opening and pretty amazing to me.
I don’t necessarily see myself ever playing according to his advice or strategy; I am not that brave. Nonetheless, it was still fascinating to learn about his journey climbing up the ranks to become one of the most famous poker players in the world today.
His stories while immensely entertaining also shared a unique first-hand look into poker’s history that shed light on what it was/is like to be a professional player.
Recommended if you are interested in poker’s history or if you are looking to become a more daring and aggressive player, reading this book is a definite must for you.

#13 – Small Stakes Poker Cash Games

Jonathan Little has come through once again, providing the necessary information you need to win small stakes poker games.
One thing that gravitated me towards this book is the subject since you don’t often see books geared towards small stakes poker games.
The book covers everything from bet sizing to interpreting a player’s hand based on the bet and other poker strategies.
This book will help you realize the similarities between you and your opponent’s strategy and will show you how to remedy that.
I recommend this book for people who have experience playing low stakes, as I don’t feel that this book is a beginner’s guide.
It is more of a guide to help players get to that next level of poker playing and winning bigger prizes as a result.

#14 – Decide To Play Great Poker

Annie Duke explores what it takes to be a great poker player in this book. You will learn the ins and outs of poker in a fun and easily understandable way.
The book provides the first step in becoming a better, more confident No-Limit Texas Hold Em player.
Quickly understand the intricate details that encompass the game and how to identify, study, and make the right call that will keep you in the game and build up that all-important stack of chips.
This book will help you learn and more importantly understand the rules so you can be a real contender at the table.
Just because you have the rules memorized does not mean you understand how to win.
Learn how to make the right decisions that will ensure you have the proper tools to play the game confidently and competently with this one of a kind poker strategy guide.

#15 – Life's A Gamble

Poker star and legend Mike Sexton has memorialized his forty-year career sharing the highs and lows that have made him the successful man he is today.
Reading his story is fun and easy, offering an inside view of the man behind the screen both in the poker and golf world.
You will be entertained by captivating stories, both old and new that shows you what it is like to be a professional poker.
And if you have a Mike Sexton fan or just a good old poker fan in your life, this book will make an excellent gift for them!
Read real stories about his experiences in Vegas, so engaging that you will not want to stop reading until you have reached the end.
Not only has Mike Sexton held nothing back, sharing the true good, bad, and ugly of the real poker world, including his missteps on the road to success.

#16 – The Mental Game Of Poker

Changing, my approach to the game, did not seem like it would be too difficult. That was before I read this piece from Jared Tendler.
This is, in my opinion, the best book yet for me help me find my strengths, weaknesses, how to be aware of them and how to change them for the better
But once I started, I realized just how challenging it was to be to always on the look-out for my habitual mistakes that lead to me being one of the first players knocked out of the game.
However, I found the more I stayed with it, the easier it became, and I can honestly say that I have gotten rid of one of my habits! I am currently using the same technique to break my second worst habit.
I recommend this book to anyone who is serious about improving their game and is willing to put in the time necessary to make the information work for you.

#17 – Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book

What would you do if you were able to get your hands on your favorite poker player’s notes?
Well, for Phil Gordon fans everywhere that question is no longer a hypothetical one.
Get full access to Phil Gordon’s personal notes, an accumulation of everything he has learned during an amazing career as a great poker player and teacher.
His dedication to the study of poker has made this book possible. Find out his tips and tricks of the trade, how to develop your playing style.
This book offers an incredible learning opportunity from one of the greatest players of all time! He explains what it takes to be successful, how to handle unexpected situations during a game, how to create a strategy, and so much more.
This information is great for new and intermediate players, you will find his writing clear, and to the point, his style is easy to understand.

#18 – Real Grinders

In this book Ashton Cartwright has put together perspectives from 28 different poker players on professional poker playing, the lifestyle, and strategy.
The best thing about this book is how many perspectives you receive. You get varying views and experiences on a variety of topics, so you get a clear vision of what is going on in this fast-paced world.
The format of the book is Q&A, so you’re not jumping around from topic to topic or player to player in a messy fashion. The only downfall of this format is that some player gives answers that are short and uninformative.
However, the answers that have length and depth give great insight and advice and makes the book a worthwhile buy and read.
I recommend this book to players of all levels and lifestyles. Even if you don’t want to become a full-time poker player or live the lifestyle, it’s worth learning more about the industry you are a part of.

#19 – Reading Poker Tells

This is the first book I have read about tells and how to identify them.
It is exciting, after all the art of reading body language has been around for years, applying its dynamics to playing poker makes perfect sense.
I must admit that I was a little skeptical, but then I figured why not try it. This information does work. I couldn’t believe how much I learned about the tells my opponents have been displaying all along.
Just by sitting back and paying more attention to the various movements that were happening all around the table I was able to apply my new knowledge and decide on my plays accordingly.
In addition to my opponents tells I also learned about my own, I won’t share what it was, but I can say that once I realized what it was, I was able to break myself free from that habit.
Thank you for a great book, Zachary Elwood.

#20 – Check-Raising The Devil

I have never been a big fan of Mike “The Mouth” Matusow and never would have bought this book if my best friend had not recommended it.
I was surprised to learn about how turbulent his personal life was. As he spoke candidly about his mental health issues, I could not help but look at him in a much different light.
This book has shed a glaring light on the humanity of the professionals that we watch on TV and has changed how I view the game.
I would watch them and think how nice it must be to have the kind of money that they did; now I wonder what they had to go through to make it.
In my opinion, his inspirational story should be read by everyone, not just those who are interested in poker there is so much to learn from his experience and success.
Thank You, Mike!

#21 – Master Micro Stakes Poker

Alton Hardin is one productive poker writer.
Alton has several books on my top list here. And now he is back with a new book for amateur poker players who want to crush the 6-Max No Limit Hold'em micro stakes.
Alton is known to be a superb poker instructor. He runs the poker school MicroGrinder where he regularly published poker courses. On top of that, he also has a few classes over at Udemy.
In this book, he tries to sum up all his knowledge he acquired over the years. After reading this book, you will have become a reliable, thinking poker player.
You will be rock solid in your play and not easily shaken be bad bets or hands.
Highly recommended for struggling or new poker players. Can also be bought together with his other books to future help you excel as a poker player.

#22 – Poker Brat

Phil Hellmuth is known for being a bully on the tables and bragging about his skills.
And he doesn't deny any of it. He even brags about being called the “poker brat.”
He even decided to write this book about himself, with the title “Poker Brat.”
In his book, you will follow his life journey all the way from his early life in Midwestern up until he became the man he is today. The good and the bads included.
He has a good story, and it is an exciting read. However, it is not Shakespear material, and the writing could have needed a round or two of fine-tuning.
But, in my opinion, Phil, being the famous bad-ass he is, this is almost a must read for any poker fan.

#23 – No-Limit Hold'em For Advanced Players

The game theorist Matthew Janda has written this great piece of work.
The book tenders to the more advanced poker players and are not suitable for beginners or amateur players.
Matthew explains several different and advanced concept and sophisticated strategies that can be used against tough competition.
Topics covered include, but not limited to, Linear, Condensed, and Polarized Ranges, Raising First In As the Button, Understanding High Variance Plays, Turn Play and Overbets, Understanding Counter-Strategies, Opening Frequencies Based on Stack Depth, Playing Short in Button vs. Big Blind Situations, and Denying Your Opponents Equity While Realizing Ours.

#24 – Poker

This book is written by famous poker author Ian Dunross.
In the book Ian covers a total of 12 topics including, poker hand ratings, observing and reading your opponent, everyday terms, player personalities, bluffing and more.
After reading it, I had a much different view of the game. The book explained each topic step-by-step and showed me how to put the strategies into practice during my play.
For more advanced players going over the different types of hands and the hierarchy of suits may seem extremely basic, but if you are new to the game, it is highly beneficial.
The book explains each topic step-by-step and shows the reader how to put the matter into practice. It discusses different types of hands and the hierarchy of suits.
The book presents poker as a game of intellect rather than luck, which it is. The reader shouldn’t expect this book to give them the magic solution to winning all future games.
As stated in the book, patience and practice are needed. I would recommend this book to beginner and intermediate level players, as more advanced players may have prior knowledge of most, if not all of the concepts in the book.

#25 – Winning Low-Limit Hold'em

In case you didn’t know, being able to win Low-Limit Hold’em has been the standard for newbies in the Texas Hold’em world.
So, if you are interested in entering the Texas Hold’em ranks, then you must first understand how to win at Low-Limit Hold’em. Lee Jones has written this book with this fact in mind.
My hold’em skills are in no way comparable to the professional’s, but after reading this book (twice), I was able to apply what I had learned and improved the length of time that I could stay in the game.
Thus, the book is a perfect read for those who don’t know anything about the game but are interested in learning. It has been updated recently, so it offers the most up-to-date information about the game today, including online, no-limit, or single-table playing.
After you read this, you will understand that poker is not a game of luck, as many thinks, but it’s a game of technique and thought that would separate the men/women from the boys/girls
If you think the game confusing this books will have you understanding it immediately, starting with the very basics that should know.

#26 – Power Hold'em Strategy

Professional poker player, Daniel Negreanu has thoughtfully put together an extensive array of important information for poker lover’s around the world.
If you have ever wished that you knew the professionals, here is your chance to find out the secrets of the best of the best, learn their tips on how to become successful in poker, and apply their theories in your game-play to improve your skills.
This fun, informative book will have your poker buddies amazed at your skill advancement in virtually no time at all.
This in-depth book covers all areas of the game such as; limit, no-limit, pot-limit for those cash games as well as tournaments.
It covers every aspect of the game with advice from those that know it the best. If you are truly serious about learning poker or getting better at it, this is a book that you must read!

#27 – The Theory Of Poker

David Sklansky has done it again with this amazing book.
Gain valuable information about the theories and secrets behind your favorite poker games; five-card draw, seven-card stud, hold’em, lowball draw, and finally razz.
Learn the basics of poker from the ground up, beginning with its theories. Understanding their implications, and then finally how it can affect your play either positively or negatively.
Figure out the art of deception, raising, slow-playing, how to know what position you are in, psychological play, and heads-up play. These are all necessary skills that professional players have had to develop to be successful.
Not only will you learn the basics you will also learn how to become a better playersharpening and to refine your skills every time you sit at a table or turn on your computer to play.
For those who are just entering the world of poker, this is the perfect starting point to get your feet a little wet.

#28 – The Myth Of Poker Talent

Alex Fitzgerald shares his years of acquired knowledge and experience, a renowned poker trainer who has trained over one-thousand students, and knows what it takes to become a poker player.
This book has debunked the myth that talent is necessary to become a successful poker player.
Learn how to pinpoint the various situations that you will experience during a game, with his easy to read and understand approach to becoming a proficient poker player.
After reading this book you will have a better understanding of his one of a kind “model of poker,” know how to identify and use the poker tools available to improve your game, and why what you think about the game is most likely wrong.
If you are interested in becoming a better poker player or enjoy reading about the game, this book is worth your time.

#29 – Poker's 1%

Ed Miller has written this book for the most serious students of poker.
Reinforcing the fact that poker is more than just playing the cards you’re dealt, it’s about using your mind and paying attention to what your opponents are doing that puts you in a much better position at the table.
If you were asked the question: What is the difference between the elite professional poker players and the rest of the world?
What would your answer be?
They don’t view the game like the rest us, they see it differently, and because of that, they have become hugely successful.
So how do they do it?
The answer can be found in this informative book. Becoming one of the top-ranked 1% in the poker world is not easy, but to have any chances of getting there, then this must-read will help you understand the differences from the elite to the run of the mill player who shows no signs of improving their skills.
So, if you want to become an elite player start reading away and learn.

#30 – Small Stakes Hold 'Em

This book is authored by three prominent poker experts (Ed Miller, David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth) who promises that you can win big with expert play.
The techniques for small stakes games were very informative.
But for myself, the most valuable pieces of information from this book were the explanations of how to handle starting hands, how to know their strengths and weaknesses and how to play them to my advantage.
The techniques explained are robust, straightforward to understand and do work. Especially his advice on chasing the cards, an area of my play that I have recently adjusted. I am skeptical about the reality of the examples used, they seem a little too outlandish for my taste, but it takes nothing away from the validity of the points they are making.
I plan to go back to this book regularly to keep my memory sharp. Highly recommended for anyone who regularly plays small stakes hold’em, or enjoys reading about it, in my experience, the theories worked, they certainly helped my game.

#31 – One Of A Kind

This book is authored by Nolan Dalla and is the life story of Stu Ungar.
Stu “The Comeback Kid” Ungar is widely recognized for being the best texas hold'em player of all times. He has won many of the big poker tournaments, some even consequently.
In this book, you will follow his rise and fall, as one of the worlds greatest poker player.
Nolan does an excellent job in telling Stu's story in a compelling and engaging writing style.
If you are interested in other peoples life, this is a must read.

#32 – Scoop!

This book is written by Greg Vail and Doug Hull, both from Red Chip Poker.
They take on the task to address the tactical and mental blocks that keep Holdem players from winning at Big O and PLO8.
This book breaks down the basics of essential concepts such as how to define the “best hand,” the Safety Net Concept, the Key Card Concept, Transparency, Alternate Lines, and how to address common mistakes and misplays that Holdem players regularly make when playing Big O and PLO8.
If you already know the basics, this book can do wonders for you. They will take your understanding of the game to the next level.

#33 – Playing The Player

I read this on the advice of a friend, Miller’s approach to poker is clear and easy to understand although the lessons do require work.
This was not an issue for a serious student of poker like myself; I am always willing to try anything that will improve my stats.
I started considering how I could implement changes in my game that would help me exploit my opponent’s weaknesses which I now know is an essential aspect of playing the game successfully.
I readjusted my strategy, and have been fine tuning it here and there ever since.
My level of play is not where I want it to be yet, but I am playing better and expect that I will continue to improve.
Although it is not the most well-written book I have ever read it still helped me improve my game and my time was very well spent.

#34 – The Grinder's Manual

Peter Clarke has taken it upon himself to write the ultimate poker book: The Grinder's Manual.
The book is a massive 540 page highly theoretical textbook in Online No Limit Holdem Cash Games.
It will teach you all aspect of the game. It not a casual read, and that is not the point either.
Peter wants you to study poker, not use it as “entertainment.”
So, if you are serious about learning poker and has the time to do so properly. This book is a must for you.

#35 – Caro's Book Of Poker Tells

This book is written by Mike Caro who is a professional poker player, theorist, and author.
Caro shows you how to read and interpret your opponent’s body language and actions.
He will show how to tell what a player has in his hands and when he is bluffing based on eye contact, sighs, shrugs, glancing at chips, shuffling hands, and other mannerisms.
To accompany the lessons, the author provides around 170 illustrated photos so the reader may see the mannerisms in action and get a better understanding of the teachings presented.
The author will also show you how to differentiate players who are showing actual signs of bluffing and players who want to lead you on.
The book is easy to read and follow, and the photos provide great help in understanding the concepts.
This book will help players improve their bluffing strategy and get to the ranks of more advanced players.

#36 – Kill Everyone

This is one book (Lee Nelson) that should be on the shelf for every serious poker player.
Full of information that will make you a serious opponent at the table. The most valuable lesson for myself was dealing with players that are incredibly aggressive.
I have never reacted well to what I would think of as “bullies” at the table, this book has helped me figure out a great way to deal with them and still stay in the game. If you are looking to become more aggressive in your game, this will also give you the information necessary to get you where you want to be.
For tournament players that want information on when to become aggressive, how to widen your hand range, or when you should back off a little.
Great book with lots of information that will help you improve your skills, and give you more confidence.

#37 – Sit ‘N Go Strategy

This book by Collin Moshman was inspired by the beginning of his career, where he started out in small stakes online betting and used his mathematical background to turn his hobby into a professional career.
This book is not the most entertaining, but it is one of the most informative and useful ones on the market.
Moshman shows you the power of aggressive playing and how to use it properly and other poker strategies you can use throughout the game.
The strategies in the book are laid out and are easy for the reader to understand and follow.
What I like most about this book is that the author gives you strategies that you can use from the early stages of the game to the later stages. I recommend this book to beginner and intermediate players.
More advanced players may not find this book so helpful, as they may already know the strategies presented in the book.

#38 – Harrington On Hold 'Em Vol. 3: The Workbook

This book is written by professional player Dan Harrington, who was the 1995 World Series of Poker Champion and has over 35 years of experience.
If you have read his other books, you know that Harrington’s books provide useful strategies and are well thought out. In this book, you get less theory and more practice.
You will go through a series of hand analysis, with the object of learning as you do.
You will study hands by acting as a professional player playing against Harrington, and you will explore how and why each player makes the plays and choices that they do at every step of the game.
You study strategies such as bluffing, scare cards, lose games, endgame play and more.
I would recommend this book to players of all levels and people who learn better by doing rather than watching.

#39 – Poker Notes

If you are like a lot of people who play poker, you probably find yourself at the losing end of the table more often than you find yourself winning.
You know that you could be successful if you could figure outwhere you are going wrong then you understand how frustrating this situation can be.
Tyler Nals will teach you to stop learning from “trial and error” and start learning and following the cold hard facts of the game of poker.
This book will give you the information you need to start being successful without all of the misinformation or opinions of people who play poker but are in no way at all near the status of a successful, professional player.
Clear all of that unnecessary information out of your brain and focus on the points of this book, you will see improvement in skills and start winning some of those big money games.

#40 – Bluffs

This book is written by Johnathan Little who is a professional poker player with over many years of experience and the owner of PokerCoaching.com.
Little covers everything from position, flopping, turn and river bets, stack sizing and more. He offers advice and strategy for mid-strength and good starting hands.
He doesn’t cater to the illusion that a lousy hand could be a winning one with some good bluffing.
The formatting of the book is well structured, and his strategy presentation is very analytical. You will get a very detailed read on the thought processes when playing specific hands or positions. I recommend this book for players of all levels.
This book will teach you how to be aggressive and play smart. It’s realistic, well thought out, and the author’s format and writing style make the strategies very easy to understand and follow.
Below Are Honorable Mentions Of Poker Books That Have Fallen Off The Top 40 Since The Last Update.

#42 – The Mental Game Of Poker 2

This book by Jared Tendler, one of the leading mental poker game experts in the industry, is one of the most realistic poker strategy books on the market. It doesn’t advertise quick improvements or solutions.
It gives you realistic strategies with realistic results. In this book, the author presents the reader with the strategy, how to apply the strategy, and the steps needed to implement it successfully.
The author lets you know right away and throughout the book the hours and work needed to utilize and reap rewards from the strategies in the book successfully.
I recommend this book to poker players in the intermediate to advanced levels. You will need prior playing experience and some knowledge of strategy to fully grasp the lessons presented in the book.

#47 – The Habits Of Winning Poker Players

When I was new to poker I was looking for a book that started from the basics.
I came across this one from Ashton Cartwright and figured I would give it a try.
The information was presented in a way that anyone who is new to the game can easily understand, especially the glossary.
Learning the jargon that is used seemed a perfectly natural place to start my education, and I will refer to it now and then when necessary.
After I became a little more comfortable with the terminology, I continued to the seven habits necessary to win the game.
I must say that I was quite surprised, I was expecting the “winning habits” to include topics such as always fold when you are dealt this type of hand, etc., but instead I found tips on aggression, and position which I now know is valuable information when you are learning the game.
 
Top 10 Best Poker Books In 2018: Quick Links
 
 

Honorable Mention (A Dozen Recommendations):

The Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide by Michael Craig (2007) “Full Tilt” might be a toxic name now and a sour memory for many poker players. But there was a time when the Full Tilt Poker stable of pros were the rock stars of the game. This powerful and ambitious 437-page strategy guide, organized and overseen by Michael Craig, one of the game’s best writers, with contributions from many of poker’s most accomplished pros, is top notch throughout. If you can get past some of the names and ignore the harm they did to the game, just about all the advice is solid.
Kill Phil by Blair Rodman and Lee Nelson (2005) — This book actually changed the way poker was played for a while, especially no-limit hold'em tournaments. Oversimplifying its basic advice, the authors recommend taking an ultra-aggressive approach to the game, which effectively neutralizes the game’s best players. In other words, whenever possible, put the best players to a decision for all their chips. Back then, three of poker’s best players shared the first name “Phil,” which is where this book gets its catchy title.
 
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Any Title by Lou Krieger — Mid-stakes poker pro and prolific writer Lou Krieger passed away a few years ago, but he left us all with a wealth of interesting study material, mostly on how to play and beat low- to mid-stakes cash games. Krieger wrote eight books, plus several hundred columns for CardPlayer magazine. Just about any of his works are worth reading. No single book stands out from what is a solid library on poker strategy. So instead, I’ll give Krieger a general shout out and recommend him as an author.
Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo (2007) — This is one of the most “think outside the box” poker books ever written. It probably should be in the top 10, but for some reason, it hasn’t garnered as big an audience as it merits. Angelo, a well-respected pro player and coach examines poker from many different perspectives, including a total of 144 angles. His key concept is something called “reciprocality,” which means success comes from doing something different from what’s normal (or expected). In addition to containing lots of ideas you’ve probably never thought about before, Elements of Poker is also a fun read. It deserves a lot more love.
Little Green Book by Phil Gordon (2009) — Phil Gordon was one of the biggest poker stars of the 2000s. This book was released at the height of his fame, coming off his role as host of the television show Celebrity Poker. This was a poker book patterned after a similarly-designed golf book with a comparative title called The Little Green Golf Book by Harvey Penick (which was perhaps copied from Mao’s Little Red Book — but I digress). The Little Green Book sold remarkably well, and was even described by some critics as a shorter version of Dan Harrington’s strategy books. High praise, indeed.
The Psychology of Poker by Dr. Alan N. Schoonmaker (2000) — Dr. Schoonmaker is a retired psychologist who plays low-stakes games in Las Vegas. Here’s what’s most unusual about him: he’s one of the best listeners I’ve ever met. I think that says a lot about this author and what he values. Even today when I run into Dr. Schoonmaker around Las Vegas, he’s constantly talking to other people, but, more important, listening to others when they discuss poker. That lifetime of wisdom — from his days as a psychologist to his nights at the poker table — was filtered and eventually put into words in the form of The Psychology of Poker, and his highly-recommended follow up book, Your Worst Poker Enemy: Mastering the Mental Game released in 2007.
The Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen and Jerrod Ankenman (2006), and Weighing the Odds in Hold’em Poker by King Yao (2006) — These are two highly-advanced poker books with excruciatingly detailed math problems and solutions. Recreational players and those with no math background will have a difficult time understanding the text, or following what the authors try to prove. However, both books are noteworthy for their intensive attention to detail and demonstration that winning poker is both an art and a science.
The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, and More by Jared Tendler and Barry Carter (2011) — I debated whether or not to include such a recently published book on this list. Most books need time to measure properly and years to assess fully. However, this book appears destined for great acclaim given its superior reviews just about everywhere. As the title suggests, there’s a lot in the book to think about when it comes to the mental side of the game. I confess, this is the only book on the list I haven’t read. So, while I’m reluctant to include it for that reason, way too many people I respect give it a high grade, which means it bears mentioning.
The Making of a Poker Player by Matt Matros — This is a highly unusual poker book, but one that stands up well over time. Fresh out of college, author Matt Matros started playing in recreational poker games in the Washington, DC area (where I first met him — that story’s in the book). A year later, he was sitting at the final table of a million-dollar tournament called the Tournament of Champions. This book is actually a sort of premonition. Matros wrote about the game and discussed many of the peripheral influences on him as an eager young upstart long before he enjoyed any personal or professional success (some would say “validation”) as a player. After this book was released, Matros then won three World Series of Poker gold bracelets (three straight years), two in the game he mostly writes about, which is limit hold’em. Amazingly, he only plays poker part time. Most authors win big tournaments and become famous, and then they write poker books. The ultra-confident Matros did the opposite. That’s gutsy.
Zen and the Art of Poker by Larry W. Phillips (1999) — Zen has become the new age way of thinking for a lot of people who swear by the approach to life. Its basic principles certainly apply to poker, especially if you subscribe to the “toughest opponent at the poker table is yourself” philosophy.Zen and the Art of Poker is a highly welcome psychological self-help tool for players who have problems controlling their emotions or going on what’s called “tilt.” Moreover, it’s not just a simple retread of old sayings by a lot of dead people. The author actually goes into considerable detail about how to apply Zen philosophy to what you do and how you act at the poker table. Well received and a niche guide for self-improvement.
Any Title by the Two Plus Two Catalog of Writers — I realize this sounds like I’m shilling for 2+2 and the publishing house started by authors Mason Malmuth and David Sklansky. However, any title of the few dozen from this excellent collection of poker books deserves a look, and probably a read. I include this generic recommendation because just about any of the 2+2 publications are at least worthy of honorable mention.

The Top 10 Poker Poker Strategy Books

This entry from the mainstream publishing house Kensington might surprise a few people, but it’s a stupendously good poker book geared mostly for no-limit hold’em tournament play. Authored by Gus Hansen at the height of his success as a three-time World Poker Tour champion, one of poker’s most unorthodox players takes you through his thought processes during every stage of a tournament, from the first hand to (what’s hopefully) the final table. Chip Reese, who wrote the book’s foreword, had this to say: “He’s brought original thought to an age-old game. Many of his ideas on how to play poker have made me take a second look at some conventional strategies I thought to be true.” This page-turning book is straight and to the point. Critically acclaimed and groundbreaking, yet still largely underappreciated, Every Hand Revealed merits a spot on this list.
Mike Caro was and remains a pioneer in poker strategy. He’s written innumerable articles and reports on the science of poker over the years, and continues to do so today. He’s also a highly engaging speaker who is just as famous for his poker seminars, which have been going for nearly 30 years. In 1984, Caro first released The Body Language of Poker, which analyzed just what it says, body language — including posturing, facial movements, voice inflections, and so forth. His original book was updated 10 years later with new photos and deeper analysis. While not as relevant today and probably applicable only to low-stakes games (if at all), this was a groundbreaking work for its time which was referenced often and was the subject of conversation during many games. With 277 pages of photos and explanations, this book packed in a lot of information and revealed that the real money isn’t necessarily to be made looking at the cards, but rather watching and studying your opponents.
Of the many books contained in the Two Plus Two catalog, this is certainly one of the best. It receives no style points. In fact, the concept is almost too simple. Poker Essays is just that — a collection of writings (some might even say, musings) by one of the game’s great minds, Mason Malmuth. What makes this special is that the book isn’t just about strategy; it also discusses the future of the game, suggests improvements card room management could make, and gives lots of other advice geared towards the overall advancement of poker. Here’s a challenge. Go back and read it now, 20 years after its release; you’ll discover many of the concerns and predictions about the game first raised by Malmuth have come true. I used to think he was crazy for writing some of these things. But he turned out to be mostly right.
 
Malmuth is one of only two authors to receive two nominations in the top 10. If any book was a “must read” for all poker players during the 1990s, it was most certainly Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players, first published in 1988, and later re-printed several times since. This is a limit hold’em primer. Since virtually all hold’em played up until 2003 was limit, this book had a major impact on the game and the players who were successful. Some of the concepts, such as the “semi-bluff” (first coined by Malmuth) became part of the game’s unique lexicon. Malmuth broke down a variety of different situations and ended up fundamentally altering the course of games, especially in the period from 1988 (two years after flop games were legalized in California) and 2003, when limit started experiencing a decline in popularity.
Most readers have probably not heard of this book. Even serious players would have a hard time identifying it. However, it should be remembered fondly. When agreeing to this assignment, one of the first calls I made was to Dan Harrington. I asked him which strategy books had meant the most to him. Without hesitation, he listed Winning Poker Systems as a monumentally important contribution to poker theory. Released in 1973 when there were virtually no poker books on the market, this was a groundbreaking first step in what would later become a foot race to lay out the best strategy for winning. While terribly dated now because it mostly addresses obsolete poker games like five-card draw and lowball (which were the only legal games played in California at the time), it was the first book to chart starting hands and stress the importance of position. David Sklansky has also repeatedly sung the praises of this book and its author, Norman Zadah, then a young doctoral student who was studying for his degree in Applied Mathematics at Cal-Berkeley.
For many players, this was “the book” for nearly a decade. For some, it remains so even today. Arguably, it familiarized more players with the basics of limit hold’em than any other book in history. Perhaps the book’s best attribute is its simplicity, which is somewhat misleading because it also packs in so much excellent strategic advice. It doesn’t look or read like a poker textbook thanks to Jones’ easy-to-understand approach and conversational style. After this was published, Jones later went on to become the Site Manager for PokerStars.com, which became the largest poker site in the world. No doubt, one of the reasons he got that coveted job was because of his tremendous understanding of the mind of the average poker player. That knowledge comes across in the pages of what’s unquestionably one of the most important strategic books ever written.
This was the very first book ever written exclusively on the game of hold’em to become widely available. Keep in mind that this poker variant wasn’t widely known anywhere except in some parts of the South, and in Las Vegas. At best, perhaps several thousand people actually knew how to play the game. After this book was published, that number would expand into the hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions. Sklansky must have seen the game’s appeal long before anyone else did. Either that, or he understood that since the WSOP was around to stay, hold’em would eventually become the game of the future. Whatever his reasons, this was an important first step towards understanding how to play and win at limit hold’em. The original edition is somewhat dated now, since most games during that time included only a single blind, so Sklansky updated his book in 1997 to account for the double-blind structure. It’s the shortest book on this list, but certainly a historical groundbreaker.
This is the best-selling poker book in history, having now surpassed 300,000 copies sold. Not only did the 1995 world poker champion perfectly time his book’s release, which came at the height of the poker boom, his authorship and fierce independence (as one of the few highly-respected icons not to affiliate full-time with anyone) gives the text an added measure of credibility. Harrington co-authored this book with Bill Robertie, a master chess player and game theorist. The first volume was followed up by Harrington on Hold’em: Volume II. Later, they released Harrington on Hold’em: Volume III, then Harrington on Cash Games, which received similar acclaim. No doubt, all of these books made poker much tougher to beat. But the first release likely will stand as one of the best strategy books ever written.
Legend has it that many poker greats were upset when two-time world champion Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson decided to capitalize on his emerging celebrity status and give away the keys to the treasury in what became known as Super/System — alternatively titled, How I Won One Million Dollars Playing Poker. The original cover price was a staggering $100 when released during the late 1970s, equivalent to more than $400 today. Still, the book sold steadily over three decades, propelled by a highly-anticipated re-release by Cardoza Publishing in a far less-expensive paperback format. At a whopping 600 pages and bound by a heavy black cover, Super/System — whether intentionally or not — actually resembles The Holy Bible. Indeed, this book packs in a lot of poker knowledge that can be taken to the bank. Aside from strategy, the narrative chapters in which Brunson recalls his poker exploits from the old days come as a highly-entertaining bonus. This was the first book to include contributions from top players who were acknowledged to be the world’s very best at their specific games. Co-authors include the late David "Chip" Reese, Mike Caro, David Sklansky, Joey Hawthorne, Bobby Baldwin, and of course the man himself, Doyle Brunson. This remains an amazing poker book that was decades ahead of its time — arguably the best ever both in terms of quantity and quality. This book is not to be confused with Super/System 2, released in 2004 (which was not as successful).
1. The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky (1994 Edition)
Most game theorists and serious poker players regard this masterwork by David Sklansky as the game’s strategic dictionary. At 276 pages long divided into 25 chapters, this book from Two Plus Two Publishing contains all the basic strategic fundamentals. While not necessarily entertaining nor appealing to casual readers or anyone else other than serious players, this book contains nearly a lifetime of well-researched and painstakingly debated poker concepts, ultimately encapsulated in the sub-title, How to Think Like a Professional Poker Player. Here’s a summation of what’s contained in The Theory of Poker: “Beginning poker players sometimes ask, ‘What do you do in this particular situation?’ There really is no correct answer to that question because it’s the wrong question... The right question is: ‘What do you consider in this particular situation before determining what you do?’ The Theory of Poker addresses itself to such considerations.” I don’t know of anyone who takes poker seriously who hasn’t read this book or who isn’t at the very least familiar with its significance in the chronology of poker knowledge. It’s the benchmark for all future strategy debate and theory discussion. Period. End of discussion.
 
 

#1 - The Best Poker Book for Strategy

The Theory of Poker: A Professional Poker Player Teaches You How To Think Like One
Poker strategy books are constantly becoming outdated, but this one is a gem. If you are serious about becoming a poker player, you have to read this timeless piece by David Sklansky.
Sklansky has written 14 books on poker and gambling, and has won three World Series of Poker bracelets. If there’s anybody you can trust on poker theory and strategy, it’s David Sklansky.
This incredible book goes into detail about strategy for a variety of poker games; No Limit Texas Hold’Em, Five-Card Draw, Seven-Card Stud, Razz, and even Lowball Draw!
To start off, you will gain a basic understanding on the game of poker. There is no better way to do this than learning about the theory behind different games of poker.  Poker has a wide variety of games, but they all stem for the same general theories and ideas. Getting a good grasp on this is invaluable.
Next,  David shows you how to think like a professional poker player. This will give you an in-depth lesson on poker strategy, putting a step above your competition. He breaks down the most important skills for any poker player; bluffing, playing in position, slow-playing, reading your opponent, and much more. These skills are crucial, and will give you the edge over a player who only knows if his starting hand is good or bad. Having a good understand of these strategies will be beneficial when you are ready to find your poker playing style.
The Theory of Poker is, without a doubt, one of the best poker books for strategy. It’s a perfect start to your poker journey.

#2 - The Best Poker Book for No Limit Texas Hold'em

Phil Gordon's Little Green Book: Lessons and Teachings in No Limit Texas Hold'em
Next on this list is an amazing book from none other than Phil Gordon. In his little green book, Gordon has a collection of notes from his career as a poker player.
This book specifically focuses in No Limit Texas Hold’em. As many of you know, hold’em is the most popular type of poker. If you are series about earning a living playing poker, then you should get serious about hold’em. Specializing in a specific type of poker is recommended, and starting with the most common type is not a bad idea.
In this book, Gordon will teach you how to develop your own personal playing style. He explains how he made it to the top, and all the challenges he faced. After reading this book, you will know more about poker strategy, how to prepare for the unexpected, and how to dominate your competition.
Phil Gordon’s notes are perfect for beginner and intermediate poker players. It will help you fall in love with no limit Texas hold’em, and develop a good understanding of the game. Each page will help you take one small step towards becoming a poker legend.
The Little Green Book is the book you need to dive into poker’s most common game type, and start crushing the field.
#3 - The Best Technical Poker Book
Essential Poker Math: Fundamental No Limit Hold'em Mathematics You Need To Know
Time to get serious! As I said earlier, a basic understand of the game is not enough to be a successful poker player. Taking it to the next level requires you to understand poker from a technical perspective. In order to do this, you need to pick up a copy of Alton Hardin’s infamous “Essential Poker Math”.
Hardin is a well known educator, and the founder of MicroGrinder Poker School. He preaches the important of math in poker. Math is the most important language in the universe, and is absolutely necessary to the game of poker.
In this book, Hardin will teach you when and how to apply mathematics in No Limit Hold’Em. Applying math will do wonders for your game. It’s impossible to beat the numbers. You will learn which starting hands are the most profitable, and which moves to make in certain situations. This knowledge will be very helpful if you are taking advantage of a poker hud.
By approaching poker from a mathematical perspective, you will eliminate a poker player’s biggest weakness: emotions. This book will help you understand that poker is about much more than luck. Trusting the numbers is a much more reliable strategy than trusting your feelings. Nevertheless, this book is only one of the weapons in your arsenal. Math is important, but not the only thing you should rely on! Combine this knowledge with other poker theory and strategy to become a complete player.
Hardin’s Essential Poker Math is the one and only book you need to turn to when considering poker from a technical perspective, and it will add a crucial aspect to your game.
#4 - The Best Poker Book for Mental Strategies
The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, and More.
We are humans, not robots! This is a very important fact to keep in mind when you are playing poker. Many experienced poker players agree that poker has two main parts; math and psychology. Jared Tendler and Barry Carter teamed up to bring you the best poker book for poker psychology, The Mental Game of Poker!
This book will take you on a journey of self reflection. It is by far the best poker book for evaluating your own personal strengths and weaknesses. Tendler’s book will help you form great habits, and eliminate bad ones. As I said, emotion is a poker player’s greatest weakness. By taking measures to control your emotion, your game will improve significantly.
After reading this book, you will get a glimpse at the minds of the other players at your table. By understanding what is going through their heads, you will be able to maneuver the mental battlefield, and win the psychological war.
I personally found this book to be very entertaining. Unlike other poker books, it is not technical, and does not put me to sleep! Tendler keeps you engaged throughout the book, and you will finish reading it in no time! 
Jared Tendler’s The Mental Game of Poker is essential in developing well rounded poker skills, and the best poker book for approaching the game from a psychological perspective.
 
#5 - The Best Poker Book for Advanced No Limit Hold'Em
No-Limit Hold 'em For Advanced Players
After getting a good understanding of poker strategy, diving into no limit hold’em, mastering the technical and psychological aspects of poker, there is only one step left. Read and reread this absolute masterpiece by Matthew Janda!
Janda is an expert and game theory, and he is widely regarded as one of the best poker authors of all time. In 2017, he released his latest book: No Limit Hold’Em for Advanced Players. This book is already considered one of the best poker books by many experienced poker players. Consider all other books on advanced hold’em strategy as outdated. This is the only book you need.
Janda goes into in-depth explanations, emphasizing how to take a game theory optimal approach to poker. This book will show you how to approach specific situations from a completely different light. After digesting this information, you will have a completely different outlook on no limit hold’em.
This book is all about the details! It will help you take everything into account; your position, the stack sizes, your opponents behavior and tendencies. Poker is a game on inches. Even the smallest edge will make a huge difference in the long-run. By getting serious about advanced strategies, you will solidify yourself as a profitable poker player.
Janda’s guide is the top book for advanced poker players, and it is unmatched when considering up to date poker strategies.
 
 
 
There are few players to whom a “window into the mind of” would be more fascinating than Gus Hansen and with this publication, the eccentric and massively successful Dane gives us just that.
The innovative concept behind this book would surely have been enough to render it a worthy read, but, as it turns out, the content is absolutely stellar too, giving insight into the thought processes that drove a remarkable tournament performance.
Here’s some background: In 2007, Mr. Hansen won his fifth major title when he became the Aussie Millions Champion, outlasting more than 700 players to take home an astonishing $1.2M in prize money.
Every Hand Revealed is the inside story of that victory. It is an unprecedented analysis of over 300 hands in which one of the game’s most popular and enigmatic figures reveals the reasoning behind every single decision he made on his way to the final victorious hand.
About the author
Gus Hansen has reported live winnings well over $10M and was, at the height of his success, ranked 11th in the Global Poker Index (GPI)’s All Time Money List Best Rank.
 
Possibly the most relevant publication in terms of unpacking the current Loose Aggressive (LAG) style of poker employed by today’s most successful players, The Raiser’s Edge has far more going for it than just a clever title.
Focusing only on tournament strategy, the book helps readers understand the stages and spots where and how to employ a LAG approach and even when to shift to hyper-LAG. The book also deals with how to defend against a player who is bossing the table with this particular strategy.
The Raiser’s Edge doesn’t compromise its value by having too narrow a focus, however, with a significant portion of the book also focusing on innovative, but extremely valuable, concepts like opponent nationality and age.
A guest-chapter, written by leading body-language expert Steve van Aspelen – a man who regularly assists the Australian police force in suspect interrogation – focuses on spotting and interpreting physical “tells”. This novel inclusion elevates The Raiser’s Edge to must-read level for players who focus on live tournament poker.
About the author
With over $13M in live winnings, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier is one of the world’s leading tournament players. His groundbreaking style of play, and his remarkable ability to explain it coherently makes him one of the most popular figures in the world of poker.
 
Mika Caro’s book, as you may have guessed from the title, deals entirely with the art of interpreting your opponents’ physical behavior. The ability to pick up clues about a player’s cards based on a combination of shrugs, sighs, shaky hands, eye contact, and many more is invaluable, and here Caro gives us 320 pages of information on this obscure topic.
Despite its length, the book only covers 20 basic tells but includes a significant amount of information on how each one can be interpreted based on certain conditions. It also defines how each of these tells can be exploited for maximum reward.
Critically, the book also deals with how to spot and respond to opponents who are deliberately exhibiting fake tells.
Bear in mind, though, that Caro’s Book of Tells is an influential piece of literature and is likely to have been read by a number of players at any given table.
About the author
Mike Caro is a professional poker player with seven WSOP “in the money” finishes under his belt. The 73-year old also contributed a chapter to Doyle Brunson’s seminal Super/System, one of the first ever books on poker strategy.
 
In publishing, the term “classic” is ordinarily reserved for texts that have influenced generations of readers, and, strictly speaking, this is entirely true of David Sklansky’s seminal effort.
Despite being published a mere 24 years ago, The Theory of Poker could easily be regarded as being outdated, given how quickly the game and meta-game has evolved in recent years. However, nothing could be further from the truth since the book focuses on introducing and demystifying the fundamental logical and mathematical concepts that drive a winning poker player’s decisions.
It is rightfully regarded as setting the benchmark for poker debate and is pretty much as essential as reading can get.
About the author
It may not come as much of a surprise to those familiar with his legacy to learn that David Sklansky practiced as an actuary before taking up poker as a full-time profession. A three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, Sklansky is predominantly a live player and boasts career earnings in excess of $1.3M.
 
The first volume in a series of three was without a doubt the most influential work on the topic of tournament poker and introduced the world to many strategic concepts that are nowadays taken for granted, even at the micro-stakes.
It’s almost impossible to think that there was a time, not too long ago, when most tournament players were not taking their M-ratios into consideration. This concept was introduced by Harrington and Robertie and is widely regarded as one of the most important contributions to the poker lexicon.
While the books’ significant level of influence does render some of its knowledge less valuable than more contemporary offerings, it is still packed with a wealth of essential information and considered required reading for anyone interested in tournament success.
The second volume in the series narrows its focus to the final stages of the tournament – a topic so complex, the author felt it warranted a publication of its own. This volume deals with the fragile dynamics of playing when the money is in sight and the blinds and antes are starting to overwhelm the short stacks. “Endgame” navigates these complexities expertly, providing readers with an arsenal of strategies to employ during this crucial phase of the tournament.
About the author
Dan Harrington won the 1995 WSOP main event, has ranked as high as 8th on the All Time Money List Best Rank and boasts career earnings of over $6.5M.
The 72-year old also recently expanded his bibliography by publishing two new volumes dealing with cash poker.
 
As an exception to the rule mentioned in our introduction, here is one book written by a non-player that has received such recognition that it is impossible not to include it in our list.
Psychology plays a bigger role in poker than most other competitive pursuits since it’s the only game in the world where a good player can continuously play well but still lose. The mental repercussions of losing a big hand or running bad for two months can ruin a tournament or, in extreme cases, a career.
This highly insightful book helps serious players overcome the challenges they will face when their emotions become involved in their decisions. It provides an actionable approach to dealing with tilt and it has been hailed by several WSOP bracelet winners, including 2012 Main Event Champion, Greg Merson, as having revolutionised their game.
About the author
Former mental health practitioner, and holder of a master’s degree in psychology, Jared Tendler, is a coach to over 500 professional poker players. His now defunct podcast, The Mental Game, has over 4.5M downloads and is still considered one of the most valuable resources on the psychology of poker.