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Top Poker Books

Updated on August 19, 2010

Best Poker Books

Poker is a game of skill, Not gambling. This hub is also not about the actual game itself. It is simply a review of the books that are out there. I have recently started playing poker for a living, and a crucial step to becoming a professional was the knowledge that I gained from Poker books. There are thousands of books out there that have limited to no new or quality theories or strategies. Most of these books would be a waste of time if you read them since you would gain little to no new knowledge.
I will outline the top 10 poker books that I have read that I believe will help you become a winning poker player in no time.

Doyle Brunson's Super System

This book was the first revolutionary book that was written about poker. It came out in 1979 when poker was not as mainstream, and it was the first book that went deep into the thought process of one of the worlds top poker professionals. This book is slightly outdated since it was written so long ago so some of the topics covered are somewhat irrelevant. The teachings in this book are so complex and profound that after reading this book, many of your views on poker will be dramatically altered and you will look at the game in a different light.

Some of the concepts and strategies covered in this book will help to make you a great deal of money if you plan on playing poker professionally, or even just as a hobby. The small investment of the cost of this book will easily be paid for by the extra money you earn using some of Doyle's strategies, or the money that you save from folding or minimizing losses in a pot that previously would have sucked much more money out of you. Just one single pot that you win because of one of Doyle's teachings will pay for the book plus more. After that, all the rest of the pots are strictly profit.

Doyle Brunson's Super System 2

Since the original Super System from 1979 was getting outdated because of the poker boom and the increase in players and new strategies coming into the game. This updated book was a collection of chapters from different professional players who offered their personal insights into the game and gave a perspective of how they believed that the game should be played. With so many contributors offering their insights and different chapters covering many different topics, this updated version of the original super system is definitely a must read.

Although this book is not completely geared towards no-limit hold'em and has chapters about all different types of poker, many of the concepts discussed are still transferable to different games, and there are still very good chapters geared towards No-limit poker both live and online.

Daniel Negreanu - Power Hold'em Strategy

Daniel Negreanu is one of my favorite poker players, and he has developed the small ball strategy. This is a new strategy which basically revolves around making smaller raises, and keeping the pots smaller. Similarly to Super System 2, this book has different chapters which come from some of the top professional players. Some of the chapters include beginner tournament strategy which gives you a basic strategy to use if you are just beginning poker tournaments and want a foolproof strategy to begin cashing and making final tables much faster. It also includes two sections on online poker and a section on cash games and finally it has a large section on the small ball strategy that Daniel developed. This book is geared completely towards Texas Hold'em so all of the concepts in this book relate directly to that game.

Caro's Book of Poker Tells

Although your cards play a big part in winning pots in poker, being able to tell what cards your opponent has, or the strength of their hand is another thing that will enable you to be able to steal pots from them when they are betting weak trying to bluff, or make big laydown's in questionable situations when you get a tell off your opponent that he is very strong. When some players would have called their stack with a strong hand, learning to read your opponent could allow you to make a big laydown because you could tell your opponent had you beat by the "tells" he emits.
Learning what you should be looking for when you are trying to identify tells, and also learning about betting patterns and verbal tells will really elevate your game, and the sooner you read and are aware of these different things, the sooner you can begin looking for them, identifying them, and solidifying your reading ability.
With a lot of pictures in this book to help you see exactly what Caro is talking about, you will have a much easier learning experience than you would just hearing about what you should be looking for rather than being able to visualize it.

Harrington on Hold 'em

Harrington is predominantly a No-Limit Hold'em Tournament player. He has been playing the game for many years, and has released a three book collection to help improve your game. Volume 1 and 2 of his three series focus on strategy and proper tournament play along with endgame in the second book. The third one however is composed of some strategy along with different quizzes and stuff to help take a much more hands on approach to teaching rather than just having you read. By making you interact and answer questions, you must go into a deeper knowledge of the topics being discussed and you cannot skip over anything. There are also many problems discussed in Volume 3, and the resolution to each hypothetical question is answered so that you will be ready for any problem that you may face during your poker playing.

These three books are definitely a must-have for any player looking to play No-Limit Hold'em tournaments. If you are going to be focusing only on Cash games, this is still a good read just to increase your knowledge of the game and some of the situations discussed are transferable between the two types of games.

David Sklansky - The Theory of Poker

David Sklansky has written many different books, and almost all of them will drastically increase your knowledge about poker. Since my list of 10 of the best poker books was missing one about the math and odds behind the game, this was the best Sklansky book to help increase your all-round knowledge of the game. If you are looking to just play poker for fun but increase your knowledge, this book would not be one of the better ones to read since it is so math oriented and is not a fun read for people who are not completely committed to learning the best poker strategy and everything possible behind the game. But if you are wanting to be a top poker player, this is definitely something that you will have to read, and if you are interested in the math behind poker, this is actually a decent read. I am very math oriented and I quite enjoyed reading about some of the topics that he discussed. He has brought a lot of new theories about poker into the game, and discusses the fundamental theory of poker in this book.

Phil Gordon's Little Green Book

The Green Book is another book that is completely geared towards the game of No-Limit Texas Hold'em, so if this is the game that you are looking to pursue which most people are since this is the predominant game currently being played, then this book is a great book to read.

Gus Hansen - Every Hand Revealed

If you are looking for a fun book to read which subtly improves your game, then this is definitely the right book. This book takes a very unique approach and is something new that no one has really done before him. When Gus Hansen won the Aussi Millions tournament, he recorded all of his hands, and this book is composed of every major hand that he played in this tournament. He goes through each of the hands indicating his hole cards, the flop, turn, and river, along with all of the important details such as stack size, blind levels, and position. After these, he talks about what happened in the hand, and he explains why he made the moves that he did. Getting inside the head of a top professional helps to improve your game by showing you exactly how he thinks when he is involved in a hand so you can attempt to begin the same types of thought processes. This book was very fun to read, and very easy to read from cover to cover since there was not a ton of thinking required like in the other books, and it's layout helped to improve the ease of reading.

Small Stakes Hold 'em

Ed Miller, David Sklansky, and Mason Malmuth combined forces to write a book that was specifically geared towards the low limit hold'em. The quality of the average low limit player is quite low, and overall it is not too hard to beat these players with some basic strategy. This book will help you learn some of the expert plays that are used at high limits that the average low limit player is not aware of, and this will help you to be able to control the lower limit games and consistently win at them. If you have ever been at a table with many loose aggressive players that are often found at the low limit game but do not know how to properly play this way, then they will be very easy to beat given the proper strategy. This book will go into how to beat loose tables, or tight tables, or any combination of opponents that you may come across. After reading this book, you will be well on your way to crushing the amateur opponents that you will be playing in the low limit games that you find.

Mark Blade - Proffesional Poker: The Essential Guide to Playing for a Living

This book is not like the rest of these books. While all of the other books focus more on the strategic and theoretical side of poker, this book deals more with the practical issues of becoming a professional poker player. Some of the chapters cover proper bankroll management, long-term expected earning depending on your limit, life of a pro, traveling, long term career issues, getting staked, taxes, tipping and etiquette.
Although none of these things will directly help you poker playing ability, they will help you learn how you can begin playing poker as a professional career, and it will teach you everything you need to know about the life that you will be living, and everything will be put into perspective so you can decide if poker is the right career for you.


Well that is my personal list of 10 of the best poker books that are currently out there. I have included different types of books such as tournament play, cash game play, mathematics behind the game, learning to read opponents, and a guide to playing poker for a living.
If any of these books are not geared towards the type of poker that you are looking to play, most of them would still be a good read since a lot of the concepts or thought processes behind poker are transferable to any type of poker.

I hope that this list helps to develop your game much better, and the small price that you will pay for each of these books is nothing when you think about the money that these books will win you by teaching you how to play poker properly. If you learned just one thing from each of these books and incorporated it into your game, the money you would gain or save at the table would easily pay for all of these books, and after that all of the money you win with the strategies talked about in these books would be completely profit in your pocket.


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