Poker books are as important now as they have ever been. As a matter of fact, they are highly recommended for upcoming professionals in the field of poker. If you have read the background of many of the top poker pros in the industry, you would have discovered a thread of activity in the concept of reading. Many of the world-acclaimed poker players of today started their poker journey through books that have been written by other professionals in the industry.
Currently, there are close to five hundred poker books that have been published by professionals in the industry. Therefore, you have a lot of resources to read and learn from. Whatever variation of the game you want to learn about, you can be sure to find numerous books that will help you develop competence in it.
Understandably, it might be a bit hard to know the specific poker books to read because there are many out there. Another critical point is that many of these books are simply over hyped and don’t really have the depth they claim. However, you don’t have to worry about that. We have done the due diligence for you and we have developed a list of the twenty-one best poker books of all the time that you can learn from. These books have been developed to teach the complex poker strategy to anyone who is interested in the game.
Please note that some strategic poker recommendations in a few of these books might be out of date but the general contents are still very valuable and relevant to the general theoretical framework of the game. Let’s go ahead to explore these books. We assure you it’s going to be a great read.
1. The Mental Games of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, & More
Although this book is still new in the library of poker but it has received so great a review from different quarters among professionals in the industry. Understandably, books should be measured overtime based on the assessments of pros in the industry. However, within the short time of its release, the Mental Games of Poker has received many positive reviews by top professionals in the industry. Just as the title reflects, the book, written by Jared Tendler & Barry Carter in 2011, focuses on the mental aspect of poker game. It explains in details the function of mental alertness and calculation at a table of poker.
2. Little Green Book
This book was written by Phil Gordon in the year 2009. Of course, Phil Gordon is not a strange name in the poker industry. He is one of the top poker stars around the 2000s. He released the Little Green Book at the peak of his poker career after he left his functional role as the host of the TV show, Celebrity Poker. The book was designed to mirror a somewhat similarly designed book on golf. As a matter of fact, the title of the book is also very similar to the Little Green Book. The book was written by Harvey Penick and it is called The Little Green Golf Book. Interestingly, this book was also inspired by another book written by Mao, titled Little Red Book. Back to the Little Green Book, this book has very high reviews from top professionals in the industry. As a matter of fact, many have described it as a short version of the strategy books written by Harrington.
3. The Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide
Written by Michael Craig in the year 2007, the Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide was written when the Full Tilt Poker was still in its prime with top poker pros as its ambassadors. If you are new in the world of poker, you must have heard or read about the glory days of the Full Tilt Poker but that is in the past now. The Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide is a 437-page book that focuses on the strategies of poker. Many of the most successful poker professionals contributed to the development of the book but it was organized and supervised by Michael Craig. Really, this is one of the books you might want to read to develop more competence in the game of poker.
4. Kill Phil
This book was a deal breaker at the time of its released. Written by Blair Rodman & Lee Nelson in 2005, Kill Phil practically changed the way the game of poker was played for a long time. This was more particular to the No Limit Hold’em tournaments. Now, if you are looking for a simple and straightforward guide to the game of poker, this is one book you might want to consider. The authors offer recommendations on using ultra aggressive approach to games. This is believed to have the capacity to neutralize the best players’ game effectively. This means you should put the best players at the table to a decision for every of their chips whenever you can. At the time of release, this book gained a lot of popularity in the poker community, most especially because three of the best poker players in the industry shared the same first name, Phil. This made it very popular and the title was deemed very catchy also.
5. Elements of Pokers
This book was written in 2007 by Tommy Angelo. No doubt, it is one of those exceptional poker books that have ever been written in the industry. Really, this book earned its place in the list of the top ten poker books that have ever been published. For whatever reason though, it has not been able to attract a large audience based on its worth. The low awareness level of the book had really impacted on its coverage, which also reduced its widespread among poker players. Tommy Angelo is a top class and well respected professional poker player and coach. In this book, he explores the game of poker from various perspectives, focusing on a total of 144 viewpoints. He highlights a concept, which he called ‘reciprocality’. According to him, this means success is attained by doing something different from the expected or the normal. Additionally, the book comprises of numerous poker ideas that you might never have thought about. There is no doubting the fact that you will love reading this book.
6. The Mathematics of Poker
Written by Jerrod Ankenman and Bill Chen in 2006, the Mathematics of Poker is a highly advanced resource book for poker. It contains a well detailed mathematical problems and solutions, relating same to the game of poker. If you are just starting out in the world of poker, this might not be the appropriate book for you because you might not understand the text or what the authors are trying to prove. However, experienced poker players will understand the content and be able to follow the detail. Really, this is one of the books that go in-depth in providing comprehensive details about the art and science involved in the game of poker.
7. The Psychology of Poker
Written in the year 2000 by Dr. Alan N. Schoonmaker, the Psychology of Poker details the mental involvement in the game of poker. Schoonmaker is a retired psychologist and he plays at low stakes games back in Las Vegas. The infusion of his experience as a poker player and his academic background as psychologist play a significant role in the development of this book. The Psychology of Poker, as well as the follow up book; Your Worst Poker Enemy: Mastering the Mental Game, are some of the books you should read if you really want to understand what goes on in the mind of your opponents when playing the game of poker. Suffice to mention that the latter book was published in the year 2007.
8. Zen & the Art of Poker
Released in 1999, Zen is the new way of thinking for many people who believe in this approach to life and the game. Written by Larry W. Phillips, the book covers the basic principles that apply to the game of poker. It is most relevant for players who believe that the toughest and strongest opponent at any poker table should be no other person but you. The principles and philosophy of Zen & the Art of Poker comes highly recommended as a psychological self help resource for poker players, especially for players that have difficulty in managing their emotions at tables. Phillips explains in detail everything about how you can apply the Zen philosophy to your activities and performance, including controlling your emotions at poker table. It is indeed one of the top books for self-improvement at poker table.
9. The Making of a Poker Player
This book is actually very unusual but it has stood the test of time over the years. Written by Matt Matros, the book has a strong attachment to professional success of the author. Matros began playing recreational poker games immediately he left college. He was frequenting Washington DC where he played at table. One year after his first step into the world of poker, he sat at the final table of his first million dollar tournament. The tournament was the Tournament of Champions in that year. The Making of a Poker Player seems to be a kind of intuition. The author wrote about poker games and highlighted the tangential influences of the game on him as a young and eager upcoming poker player.
He wrote this book long before he attained any professional success in the world of poker. After the release of his book, Matt Matros went ahead to win three different World Series of Poker bracelet consecutively. He won two of the bracelets from the game he always write about, that is, Limit Hold’em. Interestingly, Matros is not a full time professional poker player. Another interesting part of the story is that Matros wrote his book long before he made any success in the world of poker and he went ahead to attain the success he wrote about in the industry. This is opposed to the norm in the industry. In most cases, poker pros win at big tournaments and become very popular before going ahead to write poker books. This definitely wasn’t what Matros did. It was the other way round.
10. Every Hand Revealed
This book was written by Gus Hansen in 2008. Every Hand Revealed is an excellent poker book that focuses mostly on No Limit Hold’em tournaments. The book was written at the peak of Hansen’s poker success. Suffice to mention that he is a three-time World Poker Tour winner and one of the most unconventional poker players in the industry. He always stands out of the game at every stage of tournaments. According to Chip Reese, the writer of the foreword of the book, he wrote that Hansen has brought original thought to the age-old poker game. He went further to state that many of the ideas written by Hansen in his book have made him (Reese) to take a second look at a couple of traditional strategies he believed were true in the game. Every Hand Revealed is a simple and straightforward book that deserves a place on the shelf of every serious poker player.
11. Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players
If there is any book that has the tag, ‘must read’, back then in the 90s, this is definitely it. Authored by Mason Malmuth, the book was first published in the year 1988 and later reprinted severally. It was reprinted in 1998 and it was no doubt a top recommendation for players interested in the game of Limit Hold’em. One of the major reasons why this book was very popular was because the major Hold’em game that was player until the year 2003 was the Limit variant. The book has a great impact on Limit Hold’em and on players that were successful at that time. It is important to mention that some concepts in the book became an integral part of the lexicon of the game. One of such is ‘semi bluff’, which was coined by the author himself. Mason Malmuth explains a wide range of various situations and concluded it by altering the path of the game fundamentally from the year 1988. It also influenced the rebirth of the game when it began to lose popularity in the year 2003.
12. The Body Language of Poker: a.k.a. The Book of Tells
The author of this book, Mike Caro, remains a legend and pioneer in the strategies of poker. Over the years, he has written numerous reports and articles focusing on the science of poker. Apart from his strategies, he is also a top speaker, known for his poker seminars. He’s been talking about poker for over 30 years, which means he has some great stuff to pass across through his book. He first released his book, the Body language of Poker in the year 1984. The book focuses on the analysis of the use of body language in poker. This includes facial movements, posturing, and voice inflections, among others. Ten years later, the book was updated and the new edition has extensive analysis and new pictures. Although the strategies highlighted in the book might not be very relevant in today’s poker world, it was no doubt an exceptional piece at the time of its release. It was regularly referenced at many games back then when it was in its prime. The book contains a total of 277 pages covering extensive explanations and photos. This book has a lot of details that will be of great impact, even for today’s poker player.
13. Poker Essays
This book was also written by Mason Malmuth in the year 1996. The book is a collection of thoughts by one of the great minds in the poker industry. Malmuth delivers this book in a simple and easy to understand way and one thing that makes the book stand out is not just the strategy but its focus on the future of poker game. It provides recommendations for card room management as well as other recommendations that are focused on the general advancement of poker game. Now the great thing about this book is that even after more than twenty years of its release, it still has some great contents that will make you marvel.
14. Super System 2: A course in Power Poker
Written by one of the famous names in the world of poker, Doyle Brunson, this book remains a groundbreaking resource that has ever been written in the industry. According to report, many poker stars were pretty disconcerted when the two-time world champion, popularly called ‘Texas Dolly’ decided to leverage his celebrity status to reveal the jealously guarded secret keys to the poker treasury in what he called the Super/System. When it was released in the 70s, the original price was an eye-popping $100 USD. Now, understand that the $100 of the 1970s is more than the $400 of today. Even at such a high price, the book sold heavily for more than three decades.
It was later re-released by Cardoza Publishing at a much lesser price. With a huge 600-page content and branded with a sturdy black cover, the Super/System could be regarded as the Holy Grail of poker. Truthfully, the book packs loads of poker insights that can turn any poker player’s career around. In addition to the strategy inherent in the book, the author also offers some narrative chapters that reveal his poker exploits right from the days of old when he started at the game. This book was the first of its kind to include different contributions from popular poker pros that were known as the world’s top best in their niche games. Contributors to the book include David Sklansky, Booby Baldin, the late David Chip Reese, Joey Hawthorne, Mike Caro, and Doyle Bunson himself. Super/System has remained a great poker book of all times and it is rated as one of the very top resource in terms of quality and quantity. It is important that you don’t confuse this book with another edition, Super/System 2, which was released in the year 2004.
15. Winning Low Limit Hold’em
Written in 1994 by Lee Jones, Winning Low Limit Hold’em was the book for many poker players for almost a decade. As a matter of fact, many players still find it highly relevant today. It offers players the basics of Texas Limit Hold’em and it does a pretty good job, more than many other books that have ever been written. One of the strong selling points of the book is its simplicity. It is loaded with numerous strategic recommendations that can make a world of difference in any game, all laid out in simple terms. Another great thing about the book is that it doesn’t come as your regular poker textbook. It was written in a conversational and easy to understand style. After the book was released, Lee Jones became the Site Manager for PokerStars and the organization grew to become the biggest poker platform in the world. One major reason for landing such prestigious job was because Jones understand the mind of an average poker player as evident in his book.
16. Winning Poker Systems
There is the possibility that you have never heard of this book. In fact, many old time poker players might not know about it too. Written by Norman Zadah and released in 1973, Winning Poker Systems is one of those books that poker veterans would remember with great fondness. This book as contributed immensely to poker theory and was written at a time when there was practically no books on poker. It was the foundation upon which many other poker theories were built today.
17. Harrington on Hold’em
In the whole of poker history, this book stands as the best selling poker resource book with more than 300,000 copies sold. Written by the 1995 poker champion, Dan Harrington, the book came at the peak of the poker boom, which gave it a strong mileage among poker players. The book was co-authored by Bill Robertie, a classy game theorist and master chess player. Following the success of the first volume of the book, Harrington released another edition, Harrington on Hold’em: Volume II and he followed this with the third edition, Harrington on Hold’em: Volume III. He went on to release another book Harrington on Cash Games. All these books were well received and got great reviews by critics in the industry. There is no doubting the fact that these books are some of the top resources in the industry.
18. Hold’em Poker
Written by David Sklansky in 1976, this was the first book that was solely written on Hold’em game that became available worldwide. It is important to remember that at this time, this variation of poker game was not very known except in a couple of locations including Las Vegas and some parts in the South. However, after the release of this book, the number of players of the game increased to hundreds of thousands, and ultimately, millions. No doubt, David has seen the appeal of the game before anyone else. His book details the act of playing and winning at Hold’em game.
19. The Theory of Poker
Many serious poker pros and game theorists view this great piece from David Sklansky as the strategic dictionary for poker game. With a total of 25 chapters further divided into 276 pages, the book covers the basic strategic concepts of the game. Although it might not be that appealing or entertaining like many other poker books but it has been meticulously researched and covers a wide range of poker concepts. All these are summed up in the sub-title of the book, ‘How to think like a Professional Poker Player’. This is no doubt a great book you should read if you really want to go far in the world of poker.
20. Titles from Lou Krieger
Some years ago, Lou Krieger, the prolific writer and middle-stake professional poker player passed away. However, he left a wealth of resource material on how to play and beat low-to-mid-stakes cash games. In total, Lou wrote eight different books and additional hundreds of columns for the CardPlayer magazine. Every single book he had written is worth going over.
21. Titles from Two + Two Catalogue of Writers
This publishing house has some dozens of books and each of them is worth their salt. Established by David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth, this publishing house has generated some great contents over the years. So if you are looking for any other poker books other than what have been mentioned here, books from Two + Two are some of the top recommendations to consider.
There you have some of the best books in the history of pokers. Definitely, you have more resources to equip you with the knowledge and strategy of the game. All you have to do is search and you will find.