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
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.
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.
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 turn your game around. As the writer 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.
2. The Habits of Winning Poker Players
This book, too, is a great place to start with. Author Ashton Cartwright is the author of this book who uses simple language to explain some of the more complex and confusing terminologies in poker.
It is equipped with a handy glossary, useful for reference even after you are done with reading. It talks about the psychological habits of players, like 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.
3. Every Hand Revealed
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.
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.
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.
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 to raise out of position with garbage holdings.
- How should the prize structure influence your play?
- And much more!
4. Caro’s Book of Poker Tells
Mike Caro is the author who has also founded the University of Poker. The pioneer theorist has written over a dozen books about multiple aspects of poker. This one mostly talks about 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.
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 tells, basically, the player’s 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.
5. Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book
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.
This book mainly encourages readers to develop their style, strategy, and personality rather than imitating others.
This book is primarily for beginners and intermediate-level players looking to fine-tune their no-limit hold ’em (NLHE) skills. Most of the books for no limit deal with too much mathematics and probability that can turn off many beginner-level players.
Phil Gordon’s book is a good intro book for those people looking for tips and analysis that are not so convoluted in numbers.
For the highest level of effectiveness, it is best to read this book as a complement to either Sklansky, Brunson, or Harrington’s books on no-limit hold’em.
6. Essential Poker Math
The founder of MicroGrinder Poker School, Alton Hardin, is the author of this book explaining the numbers behind poker. It takes you into the ocean of probabilities and odds, looking at the calculation of pot equality and ratios.
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.
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.
You will then know how to quickly estimate your equity at the poker table using Rules 2 & 4. Moreover, you’ll discover the steps involved 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.
7. The Mental Game of Poker
This is a book written by Jared Tendler in which he talks about the inner reflection of your skills, strengths, and weaknesses. If you know yourself, you can do well in your games.
This is the goal of this book. The author talks about the techniques that allow the players to challenge the mistakes they make 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.
8. Poker Essays
This is authored by 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. It talks about the strategy, the future of the game, and other thoughts from one of the best poke writers.
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.
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.
The book is designed to make the reader think a great deal about the game. Few readers will agree with everything the text offers, but the information provided should help most people become better players.
I am sure all the books on poker written by renowned poker professionals will help you draw closer to your dream of becoming a better poker player. All the best!