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A poker player needs a number of key attributes to be successful. These include everything from intelligence and the ability to control their emotions to experience and a willingness to learn. Luckily, most of these attributes can be learned from other skilled players, practice or by reading one of the best poker books.
The best poker books are a great way to delve further into the world of highly skilled poker and raise your level without having to partake in in-person practice with poker chips at a poker table. Whether it’s during your daily commute, just before you nod off or even something you keep in your bathroom for every-now-and-again reading, these books may hold the key to unlocking your true poker potential.
When it comes to choosing the best poker book for you, there are a number of different topics to pick from. Some options focus completely on the mathematics involved, some focus on the psychology behind the game and others feature the retelling of important historical poker events.
It’s also worth remembering that the game poker isn’t just limited to Texas Hold ‘em, either. In fact, the range of poker variations include:
- Texas Hold’em
- 5-Card Omaha
- Seven-Card Stud
- Five-Card Draw
- 2-7 Triple Draw
Below you’ll find nine of the best poker books available for online ordering. Together, this selection covers almost every aspect, from introductions and how-to guides to memoirs and a non-fiction story.
1. The Theory of Poker
With applicable theories and concepts on a range of poker games, including five-card draw, hold ‘em, lowball draw and razz, The Theory of Poker is a must-have for anyone looking to take poker more seriously. By introducing readers to the Fundamental Theorem of Poker, you’ll be well set to understand its implications and change your poker play accordingly. In addition, you’ll find chapters on a number of other key elements of the game, including deception, bluffing, raising, game theory and implied odds, to name a few.
2. Poker For Dummies
Never played poker before? No problem, so long as you have Poker For Dummies in your hands. This comprehensive paperback (or Kindle book) covers all the basics, and then some. In addition to an education on everything from setting up a game at home to playing in a casino, you’ll find top tips from professional players, including T.J. Cloutier and Stu Unger. It’s a great gift idea for both newcomers and experienced players as it not only puts the basics in place, but grows and advances players of any level, too.
3. The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a poker player or not, the The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King is a thrilling story for any reader. Set around the goings on in the high-stakes poker room at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas in 2001, you’ll discover how a wealthy banker from Dallas took on the best poker professionals in the world in the richest poker stakes of all time. This is a great book choice for poker players looking to get a look into the world behind the world on professional table poker.
4. Essential Poker Math
While you might guess Essential Poker Math is better suited to experienced players, it’s actually a great choice for beginners and pros alike. Not only does it teach a range of fundamental poker mathematical concepts, it allows you to apply them in real-game situations for a more profitable time. Topics covered in the book include probability and odds, pot odds and implied odds, pot equity and the rule of two and four and bluffs and hero calls. Handily, this book is available in paperback, Kindle form and as an audiobook for easier ‘reading’ on the go.
5. The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
If you’re looking for a story to inspire your poker play rather than scientific analysis or psychological analysis, The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win could be the book for you. A New York Times bestseller, the book follows the story of how author Maria Konnikova pursued a story about poker players and ended up becoming one herself. It’s perhaps unsurprising given her wide range of skills which include work as a television producer, journalist and doctor of psychology. The book begins with a journey through her biggest winnings and follows it with the wider lessons she learned about life itself.
The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
6. The Mental Game of Poker
Half the battle in a game of poker has nothing to do with the cards on the table. We’re talking about the mental to and fro-ing which is going on between the players in a purely psychological capacity. Inside The Mental Game of Poker, which is written by mental game coach Jared Tendler, you’ll discover everything you need to take the proverbial bull by the horns and consistently play at your best, even when the cards aren’t running for you. After all, a competent bluff, or the ability to spot one, is a great way to get yourself out of the occasional tight spot.
7. Modern Poker Theory: Building an unbeatable strategy
As the name suggests, Modern Poker Theory: Building an unbeatable strategy is a poker book that’s all about ensuring you go into every game with the best strategy in your head. Readers also love that, in addition to preparing you for the table, you’ll also be learning how to exploit those around you who aren’t versed in GTO and accurate poker decision-making. In addition, this popular book is available in both paper or Kindle forms.
8. Poker Workbook: Math & Preflop: Learn & Practice
While you may think the idea of practicing mathematical calculation in this Poker Workbook: Math & Preflop: Learn & Practice sounds a little dull, the reality is no good player can survive high-stake situations without it. Inside this comprehensive poker book, you’ll find everything you need to improve your calculation speed, meaning your decisions to bluff, call or fold are better informed than before. Furthermore, there’s a second available book that covers the post-flop for when you’re ready to complete your poker odds knowledge.
9. The Course: Serious Hold ‘Em Strategy For Smart Players
Readers love the fact that The Course: Serious Hold ‘Em Strategy For Smart Players cuts out the filler and offers direct and ruthlessly practical advice on the best way to win at no-limit hold ’em. Using a smartly designed step-by-step approach, this poker book builds your hold ‘em skills one at a time, growing your confidence and ability as you learn more. The eventual aim of this comprehensive guide is to put you at a level that is capable of taking on the best poker players in your local card room, or beyond.