Expanding your poker knowledge and skills can be, for many of us, a daunting task, requiring not only continuous practice, but also proper research and a significant time investment. Thankfully, several books are now available for those who are seriously looking into improving their playing abilities, but not all of them will be good enough or will provide you with the information that you have been tendering for. Below are 10 best poker books for both beginners and pros, from 10 to 1.
10. Power Hold’em Strategy by Daniel Negreanu
Having been written by the Romanian-Canadian poker player Daniel Negreanu, Power Hold’em Strategy integrated a more thorough approach of a general guide, highlighting all facets of playing poker, starting from beginner strategies to high-stakes cash games, internet poker and illustrious $10,000 buy-in poker tournaments. The book includes several chapters that can be read in order only, bringing unexpected surprises and secret strategies that can help all individuals and poker lovers attain better performance and win the big pot.
Structured into six different parts, the book has been written with the help and contribution of five popular poker players (except from Negreanu), including Evelyn Ng, Erick Lindgren, David Williams, Todd Brunson and Paul Wasicka. The author made sure to include information about his popular “small ball” strategy, also offering information about how checking can be better than betting, how to give off a table image and even how to figure out someone else’s table image. This section was specifically designed for professional poker players, having been structured to help them win international championships and become poker superstars.
Daniel Negreanu teaches players how to keep their pots small until a certain, or almost certain, winner is designated. If, by any chance, you are attempting to become a better poker player, Power Hold’em Strategy by Daniel Negreanu is going to be a great, meaty book for you.
9. Caro’s Book of Poker Tells by Mike Caro
Caro’s way of teaching poker players has become very popular, and his new book, Caro’s Book of Poker Tells, is another proof of his repetitive style. Starting with core concepts, the material explains that gathering information is of utmost importance before deciding on a specific move, in both poker and life. Caro covers several topics that relate to players’ performance, including self-discipline, player types, table image, seat selection and much more, including general advice on winning in different situations.
Caro even suggests record keeping as an efficient way to create your own strategy, also followed by a “final winning affirmation”. Moreover, the book will reveal the real importance of staying positive during every poker game, giving many reasons why you should never let stress overwhelm you when your situation seems hopeless. However, you will soon see that Caro values the understanding of every strategy that you want to use more than you could have thought, putting emphasis on their efficiency only in particular situations.
If you are looking for strategic advice that can help you understand how to successfully improve your poker skills, Caro’s Book of Poker Tells is going to be the best option for you.
8. What Every BODY Is Saying by Joe Navarro
Even though Joe Navarro’s book is not directly related to poker, What Every BODY Is Saying aims to help all poker players make the right moves by reading the other players’ body language. The book is filled with necessary and responsible information that will raise many questions pertaining human nature and their behavioral habits. In poker, all players are trying to hide their feelings and emotions at all costs, but most of them fail to do so due to their body’s reactions, which reveal if they are afraid, confident, and so on.
As an FBI veteran, Joe Navarro teaches poker players how to analyze their partners to read beyond their apparent confidence from his personal experience. You can learn to observe the other players from feet to face, so you can easily decrease their truthfulness. By learning how people’s emotions manifest without knowledge in nonverbal behavior, poker players can make better decisions on their next moves, deciding whether they should bet, raise, check or fold.
If you are really interested in becoming a good poker player, Navarro’s book will help you build a solid foundation for your skills and secret strategies. A good read packed with plenty of helpful information, as many reviewers are saying about his What Every BODY Is Saying effort.
7. Every Hand Revealed by Gus Hansen
As we have learned from his staying at the poker table, Gus Hansen can successfully attack the other players with the any-two-cards bluff, the monster call or other impressive poker strategy. His book, Every Hand Revealed, presents intelligent strategies that aim to help you improve your playing abilities substantially by simply applying them. His aggressive use of all-in might seem rather weird, but you will soon find out that it is actually going to work unexpectedly well if you do what he suggests, exactly as he suggests. The logical breakdown of situations will help you understand why a specific strategy would not be efficient, which makes the book a handy guide for both beginners and advances players.
Furthermore, Hansen encourages players to pay close attention to what is happening to every single player, so they can notice any behavioral or strategy changes. What makes his book stand out is his honesty, which enables the reader to walk away having greater knowledge about how poker should be handled in different situations. Even though you will not be learning new things, you will be able to understand how to take advantage of specific situations when this is highly necessary.
6. Kill Everyone by Lee Nelsen & Tysen Streib
As one of the best poker books on the market, Kill Everyone is a great choice for those who want to take part in big tournaments and win the big pot, aiming to improve players’ logic by providing a specific math section that was specifically integrated for later situations, when doing something – anything – is necessary. The information presented within Kill Everyone is very solid, raising excellent points that are meant to make the players understand why specific strategies work better than others.
The Streib section is by far one of the best poker writings ever, but Nelsen is also putting most poker concepts in a new light, even though you might consider his strategies more hit-or-miss. The book teaches players how to focus on late game situations and final table play, when stacks are at their highest. There is in-depth analysis of how many rounds you can survive without winning a pot, as well as the bubble factor, which is a value of chips based on stack sizes and payout structure. Due to the great advice in the book, Kill Everyone is surely an excellent material for those who want to get a better insight of efficient poker strategies.
5. Harrington on Hold’em by Dan Harrington (Vol. 1)
Another excellent poker strategy book is Harrington on Hold’em by Dan Harrington, which can help all poker players, regardless of their experience, become better at what they are doing. With a simple, but powerful structure, Harrington breaks the book into general sections that cover every single facet of a successful tournament game strategy. But what makes this book stand out among others is all hand problems that are provided by Dan Harrington at the end of every section, which come from his past experience and are used to reflect the accuracy of every single strategy of concept he has previously described.
Dan basically provides general strategies that come handy in plenty of different situations of a poker tournament, so players can easily learn how to lay the foundation of their success. With plain language that explains everything better than most poker books on the market, Harrington on Hold ’em offers in-depth information that approaches every single aspect of being successful when attempting to win the big pot in a tournament.
4. Super System by Doyle Brunson
With over 600 pages of meaty information, Super System by Doyle Brunson comes with that type of information that can benefit every single poker player and offer him a deeper insight of some of the most difficult strategies. With the contribution of Mike Caro, Super System is a pretty reticent book that might not work for all players, because it approaches only those strategies that, in the right hands, could make more money than ever.
The book is packed with psychological details that are meant to reveal more of the human psyche to those who want to read beyond their rivals’ attitude. Brunson teaches the players that they have to be particularly aware at any moment that the pot might increase substantially to impressive dimensions in basically no time, which will not let them think their strategy too much. With these psychological factors, most professional players will be able to jump from their regular limits to no limits, getting more and more chances of tricking the other players into raising the pot when uncertainty is around.
The comprehensive coverage of games makes the Super System just perfect for all poker fanatics, and Mike Caro’s odds and statistics transform it into a brilliant strategy book.
3. The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky
In his book The Theory of Poker, Sklansky analyzes different theories that can be basically applied to nearly every situation and variation of the game to help poker players gain ground while their rivals are visibly losing. The book introduces the readers to the Fundamental Theorem of Poker and how it can affect their play, also providing information on the value of position, heads-up play, implied odds, etc.
David Sklansky points out many mistakes that poker players make when attempting to win the pot by tricking the others to raise or bet. Furthermore, he also puts emphasis on the importance of calculating the value of the pot – saying that you are going to lose only $400 when the pot is worth $479 (nearly $500) will only lead you to making bad moves, leading you to losing. Moreover, David Sklansky is extremely determined to make all poker players understand that every single dollar they add to the pot is no longer theirs, which should highly influence their playing and strategies.
Since all important facts are carefully analyzed and discussed, The Theory of Poker is a great book that will teach beginners how to play poker like experts, and experts how to play poker like superstars in waiting.
2. The Professor, The Banker and The Suicide King by Michael Craig
Written by Michael Craig, The Professor, The Banker and The Suicide King is listed as the second best poker book one can read, coming with fascinating facts that can help all players understand the high stakes world of poker. Whether you are new to poker or you have some past experience under your belt, you will this book entertaining and rather unusual.
The book is centered around billionaire Andrew Beal’s poker games with some of the most professional poker players in Las Vegas, detailing various strategies that have been used. The name of the book can be a laitmotif due to the fact that it refers to the players involved within – mathematical poker mind Howard Lederer (the professor), Andrew Beal (the banker) and reckless player Ted Forrest (the suicide king). If you want to take part in one of the most challenging and uber-amazing poker event in the history, Craig’s book is going to make you want to play this gambling card game like never before!
1. Ace on the River by Barry Greenstein
We have arrived at the top of the list – Ace on the River by Barry Greenstein. Divided into four main sections, Greenstein’s book explores facts and matters that are rather unfamiliar to the regular poker player, revealing the connection between the game and other aspects of their lives. Beyond the strategic considerations, the book aims to offer the player a deeper insight of what poker really means, as well as its connection to impulses, sexual life, psychology and much more – aspects that are oftentimes bypassed by most people.
Much of what Greenstein discusses in his book is applicable to those who take poker to its most extreme side, pushing strategies that seem unrealistic and rather useless for those who want to keep the pace of the game slower. Due to the excellent approach of specific strategies, the author enables all readers (even those who have nothing to do with poker) understand the logic of every single move that most players make. This is further encouraged by the psychological details, which can help players understand others’ way of thinking.
All in all, Ace on the River is surely a super-complicated, yet friendly poker book that comes with all information for poker lovers, so be sure to get it if you really want to improve your playing skills.