Poker books can improve your poker skills faster than any other form of poker education. Poker strategy books are the most popular, teaching new players how to improve their poker game almost immediately. Below are some poker books that I’ve recommend, starting with the best poker books at the top.
How to Choose a Poker Book
The first poker book I ever read was Ken Warren Teaches Texas Holdem. I loaned it from a friend when I saw it on his shelf. It really wasn’t much of a choice, but in the end, I am glad that Ken’s book was the first one I read. Why? Because it was perfect for a beginner and had a great pace to it. When it comes to choosing a poker book, there are some major things to take into consideration:
- Is this your first poker book?
- What skill level poker player are you?
- Do you understand complex topics, such as mathematical calculations?
If this is your first poker book, then you should definitely avoid any books that say “Advanced” in the title. These books have advanced calculations within, and require at least an intermediate understanding of the game. Reading a poker book to learn the game of poker is a great way to become a better player, but getting in over your head is a sure way to get frustrated.
Poker Books for Beginners
If you’re a beginner poker player, you’re in luck. Most poker books are actually written with beginning players in mind. Some of the best players started their careers out by reading these books. As I said above, just avoid anything that has the word “Advanced” in the title. Even better, look for books that have the word “Beginner” in the title. If you are a complete rookie, and don’t know which hands beat the others, then you should read a few of our poker strategy articles first, to see if you want to invest money into a poker book.
Poker Books for Intermediate or Advanced Players
Some of the sharpest poker players in the world have authored their own poker books. As an intermediate or advanced player, I would definitely pick up a book that is written by a professional poker theorist, such as David Sklansky of 2+2 (Two Plus Two) Publishing. I personally suggest his book Texas Holdem for Adanced Players. If you’re looking more at playing tournaments versus cash games, then I would recommend that you buy Tournament Poker for Advanced Players, which is also by David Sklansky.
Poker Books + Experience = Great Play
No matter how many poker books you read, you’ll never get to the level of play that you would if you were playing thousands of hands too. My ultimate recommendation is to read a chapter or two per day, and play a few hours a day. The fastest way to learn is by playing poker online, but if you have patience, you could play at a local casino as well. No matter what you do, if you want to be a better poker player, then you should always be trying to improve. Stick to it and don’t give up playing. Poker is a game that is full of swings, and that includes both good and bad. In the beginning, expect to lose more money, but once you get better, you can expect to win. That is the game of poker.
Top 11 Best Poker Books and Reviews
Learning to do anything requires a solid foundation. By choosing the best poker books you are going to begin with that foundation. I’ve read quite a few poker books, and suggest reading any of the following. I’ve organized them by placing my favorites at the top. The books with links are ones that I’ve decided to write a poker review for:
- Caro’s Book of Poker Tells – Mike Caro
- Super System – Doyle Brunson
- Super System 2 – Doyle Brunson
- Ken Warren Teaches Texas Holdem – Ken Warren
- Texas Holdem for Advanced Players – David Sklansky
- Tournament Poker for Advanced Players - David Sklansky
- Play Poker Like the Pro’s – Phil Hellmuth
- The Theory of Poker - David Sklansky
- Championship No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em - TJ Cloutier
- Harrington on Holdem – Dan Harrington
- Small Stakes Holdem - Ed Miller, David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth
The list of poker books above isn’t necessarily the order in which you should read them. Instead, the list above is basically my own personal list of favorites from the books that I have read. Doyle Brunson’s Super System series is a great set of books, and I love that they contain information from many authors on many different games. Most poker books seem to simply focus on Texas Holdem, which can get old, especially for an advanced poker player.
If you’re like me, and are beginning to think that Texas Holdem is getting old, there are also some specialty books out there. Do you want to continue learning the game that you’re playing right now, or do you want to learn a new game? You should also consider the type of betting style you prefer, which would be no-limit or fixed limit, and whether you want to focus on cash games or tournaments.
Tournament Poker Books
If you’ve decided that you want to stick to playing poker tournaments, or just want to learn more about tournament poker, then you will want to focus on books that have been written by professional poker tournament players, and have a focus on tournaments. I would definitely suggest reading Tournament Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky. This book will open your eyes up to all of the moving parts of a poker tournament that most cash game players don’t even consider.
Poker Theory Books
If you’ve chosen to play cash games instead of tournaments, then you’re going to greatly benefit from reading poker theory books. These books put a great emphasis on the moving parts of poker mathematics and the general mechanics of what makes a poker player a winning player. In the book The Theory of Poker, poker theorist David Sklansky shows great examples of how you can make calculations based upon the historical behavior of your opponent that will create situations where you might always become profitable by making a certain play. The Super System series of books also loosely falls into this category.
Online Poker Books
Strangely enough, online poker books don’t really compare to the poker strategy articles that you can find online. I would personally avoid reading books about online poker because books can become dated extremely fast in comparison to the ever-changing world of online poker. If you absolutely insist, then Doyle Brunson has a book about online poker not-so creatively named Online Poker by Doyle Brunson. Additionally, Matthew Hilger has a book named Internet Texas Hold’em; Winning Strategies From an Internet Pro. Ultimately, if you wish to learn about online poker, then stick to where the sharks swim, which is online. I strongly recommend that you begin your online poker journey by joining an online poker forum such as twoplustwo.com.
Game Specific Poker Books
Nearly 95% of poker books focus on the same poker game, Texas Holdem Poker. However, there are a few game specific poker books floating out there that I would recommend. There are also poker books that focus on specific levels of play, such as stakes.
Seven Card Stud Poker Books
If you’re interested in learning how to play or advancing your Seven Card Stud Poker game, then you should check these poker books out:
- Ken Warren Teaches Seven Card Stud – Ken Warren
- Seven Card Stud for Advanced Players – David Sklansky
Omaha Poker Books
Omaha Poker has been popular for quite a few years, so there is a decent selection of Omaha poker books such as the following:
- The Pot-Limit Omaha Book: Transitioning from NL to PLO – Tri Nguyen
- Pot Limit Omaha Poker – Jeff Hwang
- Advanced Pot-Limit Omaha: Small Ball and Short-Handed Play – Jeff Hwang
- Advanced Pot-limit Omaha Volume II: Lag Play – Jeff Hwang
Razz Poker Books
Razz is a rare game, but if you’re interested in learning more about Razz, the most talented player in the game has written one:
- Sklansky on Razz
Badugi Poker Books
Badugi has picked up some steam and is quickly becoming a mainstream poker game.
- The Badugi Chapter – Barry Greenstein
There are a few other books on the games that I’ve mentioned above. However, for the sake of giving you that solid foundation that I promised, I have opted to not include them. The books that I have chosen are high quality, and written by top authors. These authors have also proven themselves as winning poker players.
In addition to the above, I want you to keep in mind that almost every single game, with the exception of Badugi, is in Doyle Brunson’s Super System series. The book that you want to buy depends on the game you’re seeking to learn.
Poker Book Alternatives
If you’re not much of a reader, then there are plenty of other alternatives for you. You could check out many of the online poker academies, search for poker DVD’s or hire a poker coach. Just Google it and you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for!