8 Must Read Poker Books to Become a Better Poker Player

8 Must Read Poker Books to Become a Better Poker Player
8 Must Read Poker Books to Become a Better Poker Player

Poker is a game of strategy. You need to pick and hone valuable tips and lessons through practice and from books written by poker professionals and expert players who describe the glitches they faced and how they overcame them.

I share some top-rated poker books you should read to hone your poker skills.

8 Must Read Poker Books

1. Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments

Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments
Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments

This book is the creation of former World Poker Tour (WPT) Player of the Year Jonathan Little. It is the ideal book for newbies starting out in small tournaments and looking for the edge to win and jump to the next level. It is quite a small book but has ample narratives of strategies in simple and easy-to-follow tips.

Find the Book here

About The Author

This two-time World Poker Tour winner knows what it takes to win big – you must start little.  Through his innovative and advanced strategy, you may eventually master the skills to grind and succeed at small-stakes tournaments.

What’s there in the Book

You will be prepared to handle severe challenges and cash out significant amounts, including bigger buy-in tournaments, by figuring out how to beat the opposition.

This is what you will find in the poker book Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments:

  • The best way to quit blaming bad fortune and find out the world’s best-kept secrets to mastering poker
  • Strategies that will instantly enhance your poker game
  • Why the pros make the plays their way and how you can embrace their methodology.

Suggested read: Basic Strategy to Play Sit and Go Games

If you learn to think for yourself and adapt your plan based on specific opponents and situations, you will begin to improve your game. As the author of 11 bestselling poker books, Jonathan Little will show you precisely how to learn these strategies and win far more money in the long run.

Should you prefer concise, actionable advice you can begin using immediately, then you will love Little’s game-changing poker blueprint.

Note: Little still writes and conducts webinars and online courses, which can help readers who are looking for more interactive learning experiences. You can visit his official site https://jonathanlittlepoker.com/

2. The Habits of Winning Poker Players

The Habits of Winning Poker Players
The Habits of Winning Poker Players

This book, too, is a great place to start. Author Ashton Cartwright uses simple language to explain some of the more complex and confusing poker terminologies.

Find the Book here

About The Author

Ashton Cartwright is a full-time poker player and part-time author who wrote more than half a dozen books on pokies.

What’s there in the Book

It is equipped with a handy glossary, which is useful for reference even after you have finished reading. It discusses players’ psychological habits, such as when to bluff, understanding tells, aggression, and mental control tricks.

Poker is a dynamic game; to be successful, you must constantly improve and refine your game, playing style, and habits. You need to understand poker math, bluffing, general poker strategy, the differences between Texas Holdem poker and PLO, poker tournament strategy, poker odds in cash games, and reading poker tells.

This poker book was written so that you can take the next step in your evolution as a player.

Note: Cartwrigh is a master of mathematics and a professional poker player. Currently, he runs a blog and publication house. You can find him at https://www.paidauthor.com

3. Every Hand Revealed

Every Hand Revealed
Every Hand Revealed

This book is widely based on recorded notes Hansen kept while playing, so it is pretty authentic and one of the most preferable reads for players looking to sharpen their poker skills.

Find the Book here

About The Author

Gus Hansen, a Danish poker player and winner of three WPT open titles and a WSOP bracelet, is the author of this book. He talks in detail about the calculated risks he took to reach success.

What’s there in the Book

It is not for beginners but for those looking to ante up their game and learn when to be more aggressive in their strategy, when to bluff, and how to read when other players are bluffing.

Read also: Poker Skills that Can Improve Your Professional Career.

This book will help you learn:

  • An extensive, easy-to-follow analysis of the more than 300 hands he played during the Aussie Millions.
  • The radical yet coolly logical methods behind Gus’s “madness” have helped him to win consistently.
  • Every bluff, precise calculation, educated guess, and read of his opponents.
  • How to call large bets with seemingly unplayable hands.
  • When should we raise out of position with garbage holdings?
  • How should the prize structure influence your play?
  • And much more!

Note: Gus Hansen hasn’t had any recent tournament wins reported since April 2024. However, there was news of him joining Team Winamax in April, so he might be planning for some upcoming events! You can find him here https://www.instagram.com/therealgushansen/?hl=en

4. Caro’s Book of Poker Tells

 Caro’s Book of Poker Tells
Caro’s Book of Poker Tells

In this book, Caro teaches you how to analyze a player’s hand given their activities and behaviours, from shrugs and sighs to shuffling. It also has 170 related pictures to illustrate the examples clearly; some copies come with a DVD.

Find the Book here

About The Author

Mike Caro is the author who founded the University of Poker. The pioneer theorist has written over a dozen books about multiple aspects of poker, and this one is mostly about tells.

What’s there in the Book

In the book, the author tries to evaluate the psychological aspects of the game. Caro’s Book of Poker Tells has two sections:

1. Acting Tells – from actors
2. Natural Tells – from unaware players

The book deals with the players’ mannerisms, revealing the secrets of interpreting, which are basically the players’ physical reactions that reveal information about their cards.

According to the author, there are always two situations. One is where the player acts, whereas the second is when the player does not act and is unaware of giving out poker tells.

The book’s first few pages solely focus on the conditions where the players do not act. For example, the way a person arranges and re-buys his chips reflects the kind of player he is.

Note: While he hasn’t recently competed at the top tournament level, he remains a well-respected figure in poker. You can find him here: https://x.com/i/flow/login?redirect_after_login=%2Fmikecaro

5. Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book

Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book
Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book

This book is primarily for beginners and intermediate-level players looking to fine-tune their no-limit hold ’em (NLHE) skills. Most books for no limit deal with too much mathematics and probability that can turn off many beginner-level players.

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About The Author

As the name suggests, this book is by Phil Gordon, a renowned poker figure who reached the WSOP final table several times in his career. He has collected all his notes on poker in this classic book that is best for novice and intermediate players.

What’s there in the Book

This book mainly encourages readers to develop their style, strategy, and personality rather than imitating others.

Phil Gordon’s book is a good introduction for those looking for tips and analysis that are not so convoluted in numbers.

For the highest level of effectiveness, this book should be read in conjunction with Sklansky, Brunson, or Harrington’s books on no-limit hold ’em.

Note: While “Little Green Book” hasn’t been updated since its release, Phil Gordon remains an influential figure who has significantly contributed to the poker world. You can find him here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/philnolimits/

6. Essential Poker Math

Essential Poker Math
Essential Poker Math

In this book, first, you will be introduced to some fundamental overarching poker concepts that apply to poker mathematics. Then, you will begin your journey into poker mathematics, learning about probabilities and odds, pot odds and implied odds, pot equity, and expected value.

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About The Author

Alton Hardin, the founder of MicroGrinder Poker School, is the author of this book, which explains the numbers behind poker. It takes you into the ocean of probabilities and odds, looking at the calculation of pot equality and ratios.

What’s there in the Book

You do not have to be a numbers whizz to read and understand this book, as Hardin has illustrated the book with easy-to-understand graphs so that you can easily understand the mathematical curves.

You will then know how to quickly estimate your equity at the poker table using Rules 2 & 4. Moreover, you’ll discover the steps in determining whether calling with a drawing hand is profitable.

This book also covers how to size your bets with the best hand and teaches how often bluffs and hero calls must work to be profitable. Lastly, you will learn to perform EV calculations and better understand card combinations.

Note: Alton Hardin currently runs a poker online school and has a professional presence as a Solutions-oriented business and IT professional. You can find him here: https://www.microgrinder.com/

7. The Mental Game of Poker

The Mental Game of Poker
The Mental Game of Poker

This is a book written by Jared Tendler. In it, he discusses the inner reflection of one’s skills, strengths, and weaknesses. If one knows oneself, one can do well in one’s games.

Find the Book here

About The Author

Jared Tendler is a leading expert in how your mental game impacts performance. He had coached people from around the world and in multiple arenas. His straightforward and logical approach has helped people solve their mental game problems and perform at their highest levels. 

What’s there in the Book

This book is about the techniques that allow players to challenge their mistakes and improve their game.

This is no traditional poker book. You won’t learn excellent poker strategies, hidden lies, or what makes the most fantastic poker minds tick. You will learn about the other game being played by millions at and away from the felt: the mental game of poker.

This is a self-help book designed to assist you in becoming the best poker player you have the potential to be.

Note: Currently, he coaches gaming enthusiasts via his official website https://jaredtendler.com/

8. Poker Essays

Poker Essays
Poker Essays

This book contains many of the author’s current ideas on poker and related subjects. Topics covered include General Concepts, Technical Ideas, Structure, Strategic Ideas, Images, Tournament Notes, In the Cardrooms, and Poker Quizzes.

Find the Book here

About The Author

The author is Mason Malmuth, who has penned over 20 books and 600 articles on poker. Poke essays discuss multiple aspects of the game, a gateway to Malmuth’s world. They discuss strategy, the future of the game, and other thoughts from one of the best poker writers.

What’s there in the Book

The book is designed to make the reader think about the game. Few readers will agree with everything the text offers, but the information provided should help most people become better players.

In addition, advice is offered on jackpot games, handling pressure, why you lose, fluctuations, bankroll requirements, differences between stud and hold’em, too many bad players, limit versus no-limit, thinking fast, weak tight opponents, the best hold’em seat, playing short-handed, playing loose or tight, appropriate image, being an alternate in tournaments, taking advantage of tight play in tournaments, behaving professionally, the future of poker, and much more.

Note: Currently, Mason Malmuth runs a publishing house, Two Plus Two Publishing LLC, which publishes high-quality books on poker and gambling, including books about how poker is played and how many people generally approach gambling. 

Final Thoughts

Poker is not just a game of luck but a discipline of strategy and mental agility. The recommended book collection offers a comprehensive toolkit for poker enthusiasts seeking to sharpen their gameplay. For novices, Jonathan Little’s “Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments” provides practical strategies to thrive in small tournaments, serving as an excellent foundation.

On the psychological front, Ashton Cartwright’s “The Habits of Winning Poker Players” unpacks the mindset required to excel at poker. For more advanced players, Gus Hansen’s “Every Hand Revealed” looks at professional play strategies.

I recommend starting with Little’s work for foundational strategies and progressing to more nuanced texts like Hansen’s as your skills develop. These books are stepping stones to transforming from a casual player to a formidable poker strategist.

Mamta Sharma

Mamta is a spirited writer hailing from Wellington, bringing a youthful zest to the world of digital content. Merging her love for narrative with an eye for detail, Ella crafts stories that resonate and engage the modern reader.