The timeless classics in the library of poker books are still worth reading in 2019.
There are nearly 500 different poker books on the market today. Whatever you wish to learn, read, or know about the game, you will undoubtedly find several helpful poker books to pique your interest.
It might be difficult to know which poker books are worth reading and which are over-hyped. The following ten books, however, are always worth a read, no matter how far we get in the evolution of complex poker strategy.
The strategy advice in many of these books is outdated, but the information may be valuable as a general framework or theoretical perspective. Let’s now take a look at the ten most popular poker books based on sales, reviews, and recommendations by those in the poker world:
10. Applications of No-Limit Poker (2013) by Matt Janda
In order to become an exceptional poker player, you must know how to play every hand in your range well. By understanding theoretical poker, you can improve your game by designing balanced ranges and bet sizing to beat good players.
In this book, Janda explains confusing concepts such as donk-betting, check-raising preflop, balancing multiple bet-sizing ranges, and overbetting to improve your game. Once you understand these concepts you can incorporate them into your game — with results.
While many mathematical equations are used to explain the concepts, this book is still a solid, easy-to-read, and advanced book for anyone who is serious about improving his/her game.
9. No Limit Hold’Em for Advanced Players (2017) by Matt Janda
Janda does it again in this book, discussing sophisticated strategies for playing against tough opponents based on the use of modern, sophisticated software programs such as PioSOLVER and PokerSnowie.
Among the topics covered are raising first as the button; understanding high variance play; turn play; overbets; counter strategies; opening frequencies based on stack depth; equity; playing short on the button versus big blind situations; and linear, condensed, and polarized ranges.
Janda, again, uses complicated mathematical equations, but he does explain things that even beginner and intermediate players can understand.
8. The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, and More (2011) by Jared Tendler and Barry Carter
The mental and psychological aspects of poker may be more important than strategy and game theory, because poker is one of the only games where one can play perfectly yet still lose. This book provides simple, step-by-step instructions on how to effectively identify and fix such problems as tilt, emotional control, confidence, fear, motivation, and handling variance.
The authors also released a sequel in 2013 that discusses how to improve decision making, increase discipline and focus, and how to play consistently “in the zone.”
7. Moorman’s Book of Poker: Improve your poker game with Moorman1, the most successful online poker tournament player in history (2014) by Chris Moorman and Byron Jacobs
This book has a unique approach in that Moorman analyzes 80 tournament hand histories played by co-author Jacobs. By adopting a more coaching style type of book, you can learn how to advance your own play. This book is geared more toward low- to mid-stakes players and provides more examples than actual poker game theory. Readers either love it or hate it, so you be the judge.
6. Texas Hold’em for Dummies (2006) by Mark Harlan
This fairly self-explanatory book introduces readers to the fundamental concepts and strategies of Hold’em. From rules to betting to odds to etiquette to lingo to pitfalls, this book has it all.
5. Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book: Lessons and Teachings in No Limit Texas Hold’em (2005) by Phil Gordon
After a career of taking notes on everything he has learned as a professional player and one of the most sought-after teachers of the game, Gordon has put his wealth of knowledge into Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book with introduction by Howard Lederer and Annie Duke. By adopting the role of both teacher and student, Gordon provides insightful tips, instructional tidbits, and illustrative stories on how to improve your own personal style of play.
4. Caro’s Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker (2003) by Mike Caro
Caro’s Book of Poker Tells is one of the greatest ever written on poker and also one of the top sellers.
Much poker profit is a result of being able to read your opponents. Caro reveals his secrets of interpreting tells such as shrugs, eye contact, sighs, shaky hands, and other physical reactions that may show weakness or give away important information.
More than 170 photographs and actual real-world examples show the various tells; however, like many of the other books on this list, it is a bit outdated.
3. Super System: A Course in Power Poker (1979) by Doyle Brunson
One of the first books ever written on poker strategy, this remains one of the best-selling poker books ever.
Written by the two-time WSOP world champion and member of the Hall of Fame, Doyle Brunson — along with Chip Reese, David Sklansky, Joey Hawthorne, Mike Caro, and Bobby Baldwin — Super System explains the basics of betting, calling, raising, and folding in hold’em, draw poker, seven-card stud high/low, and lowball games.
Written from data compiled from more than 10,000 hours of poker play by some of the world’s greatest players and theorists, this book is a must have for all serious poker players. While somewhat outdated, it does provide a solid foundation regarding the fundamental concepts of the game.
Brunson published Super System 2: A Course in Power Poker (2005) as well. This highly-anticipated book expands upon the original with more games and additional professional secrets from top pros like Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Harman, and Todd Brunson. Together, these two books create a full library of the best poker strategies, professional concepts, and advice ever written.
2. Harrington on Hold’em: Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Volume I Strategic Play (2004) by Dan Harrington
In this excellent book, Harrington provides sophisticated and time-tested winning strategies that focus on making it to the final table.
By examining hand and player analysis, betting, varying style, responding to re-raises, calculating pot odds, reacting to bad beats, and playing to maximize one’s winnings, this book provides techniques that top players use today for tournament success.
Many basic poker strategy books can teach fundamental strategy. Harrington, instead, goes above and beyond by covering real game situations.
These include scenarios like starting with a strong hand behind an aggressive player with two raises behind. Psychology and math combine to teach the reader how to accurately read the situation, place people on certain hands, and make smart decisions. Incidentally, this book recently topped the list in terms of all-time sales.
1. The Theory of Poker: A Professional Poker Player Teaches You How to Think Like One (1987) by David Sklansky
This is considered the very best book ever written on poker. As such, it is an excellent introduction to game theory and developing sound poker play.
This book is, indeed, a bit outdated and somewhat dense. Nevertheless, it is chock full of useful information for many different poker games including stud, draw, razz, and lowball.
As such, this book focuses on poker theory first, by introducing readers to the fundamental theory of poker, the value of deception, raising, slow-play, bluffing and semi-bluffing, the value of position, heads-up play, implied odds, free cards, and poker psychology.
This book will not magically turn you into a winning poker player overnight. However, it will provide a solid foundation if you wish to become a true student of the game and cultivate a winning attitude. In fact, reading any Sklansky on poker book wouldn’t be a bad thing.
In fact, you can find several poker books online such as Sklansky’s The Theory of Poker pdf among others.
How many of these have you read? Is your favorite poker book on this most popular list? Or, do you know another one to add?
Until next time.
Note: “Our preflop charts are the most efficient and absolute quickest way to improve your poker game. Download them and use them… they work!” – Doug Polk
Read more from Upswing Poker:
- Alex Jacob Journeys from Poker Champion to Jeopardy Champion
- What is the Dead Man’s Hand?
- The Top 20 Female Poker Players of All Time