There are a lot of poker books out there in the world. Sometimes it feels like we have read them all, but we know that we couldn’t if we tried. New poker books come out every year, often espousing new strategies or approaches to the game. Additionally, there are books on Omaha, Stud, Razz, HORSE, and a variety of other poker variants. These are not included in our list (but may be in the future!). Below we share the best poker books for strategy and overall approach, in our chosen game, No Limit Hold’Em.
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Best Poker Book For Beginners
Starting from the top, David Sklansky’s The Theory of Poker covers concepts relevant to almost any poker setting or game. The book covers basic fundamental concepts and includes advice on a variety of strategies. Sklansky addresses bluffing, raising, slow-playing, position, implied odds, and more. Once you know the basics, Sklansky is a pretty good first step in your poker education.
Best Poker Mindset Book
Once you have some basic strategy, securing a winning mindset is critical. Jonathan Little and Patricia Cardner’s Peak Poker Performance is an ideal resource. This book addresses the psychological aspects of poker. It teaches you what you need to know about motivation, emotion, and your physical well-being. If you follow its advice, you’ll be in the right frame of mind when you arrive at the poker table.
Best General Strategy Book
With six WSOP bracelets and 2 WPT titles, Daniel Negreanu has been one of the world’s best players for a long time. For his book, Power Hold’Em Strategy, Daniel gathered some of the greatest current players, theorists, and world champions to present professional secrets and winning strategies. There are chapters by Erick Lindgren, Todd Brunson, David Williams, Negreanu himself, and others. Among topics covered are online play, high limit cash games, and Negreanu’s famous small ball strategy. This is a good general strategy book that covers a lot of bases.
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Best Poker Books for Tournaments
Arnold Snyder’s The Poker Tournament Formula can’t be beat for overall tournament approach. It also offers excellent advice on important aspects of strategic play. Snyder’s book is aimed at players who enter small buy-in poker tournaments (in other words, us). He discusses your three main poker weapons – cards, position, and chip stack – and how to use each to best effect. He also covers fundamentals such as opponent player types, bluffing, and when to show (and not show) your cards. Finally, he talks about how to deal with tournament specific factors such as re-buys, add ons, and bounties.
Snyder’s The Poker Tournament Formula 2 introduces the incredibly important concept of the “Patience Factor” in tournaments. The patience factor measures how “slow” or “fast” (given starting chip stacks, blind level times, and level increases) a tournament plays. Given a specific patience factor, you can then determine the optimal approach to that tournament. Snyder also addresses how to approach each tournament phase and when you need to ramp up or down aggression to suit the situation.The best poker books for learning poker strategyClick To Tweet
Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed takes you through his experience at the 2007 Aussie Millions poker championship, where he won the top prize. Hansen walks you through the hands he encountered and his thinking as he played each one. It is a fascinating peek into the mind of a champion player. This book is notable for the unprecedented, detailed insight into a poker master’s hand-by-hand approach in an actual tournament.
A more recent book with a similar approach, Steve Blay and Qui Nguyen’s From Vietnam to Vegas covers similar ground in that it analyzes over 100 hands from the final table of the 2016 WSOP Main Event Final Table (which was ultimately won by Nguyen). Nguyen offers his personal experience with each hand. Meanwhile, Blay offers the strategic and mathematical underpinnings of Nguyen’s moves in key hands. However, as we assisted in that book’s creation, we will admit to possible bias in our positive attitude!
Best Poker Books for Cash Games
Dan Harrington’s book Cash Games Volume 1 is a classic. Originally published in 2008, this book teaches key concepts in deep-stack cash game play. Harrington addresses starting hand selection, bluffing, implied odds, and the concept of pot commitment. He also addresses post-flop strategy and how you need to vary your approach in multi-way pots. Harrington is more of an old school classic player (read less aggressive) than many of the poker theorist of today. Nonetheless, his fundamentals are sound. He does present a very important caveat as he gets into higher strategy concepts. In $1/$2 cash games, other players are likely not playing in a strategic, consistent manner. Thus, anything pretty much goes… Harrington followed up with Cash Games Volume 2, further expanding upon his thoughts on cash game strategy.
We have read all of these books multiple times, and go back to them whenever we need to brush up. Of all of the above, the Snyder books have gotten the greatest number of re-reads in our household. But then, we are tournament players above all. In any case, we strongly recommend all of these books for anyone who is looking to improve their poker game. If there is a title not listed that you believe deserves a spot among the best poker books, let us know!
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