Poker Books


When spending a fun night playing a friendly game of poker with friends, skill levels don’t really matter. If you want to take your game a step further and become a really knowledgeable player, however, there are a number of great ways to learn.

Many poker experts and professional players have penned books covering everything from the rules of the different variations of the game and betting, to poker psychology, game theory and everything in between. Reading these books can give you an advantage over your buddies or give you the confidence to take your game to the next level – maybe in a tournament or more high-stakes setting.

Here are some of the best books for learning poker:

Super System

15-1-Super-SystemAuthor: Doyle Brunson
Year: 2002

Doyle Brunson helped pave the way for how poker is played today. He’s won 10 World Series of Poker events, authored more than a dozen poker books and was recently named the most influential force in the world of poker by BLUFF Magazine. Written in 1979, Super System is considered by some to be the “Bible of Poker.” It features sections penned not only by Brunson, but other poker legends like Bobby Baldwin, David Reese, Joey Hawthorne, David Sklansky and Mike Caro. It features 600 pages covering all you’ll need to know to play Texas Hold ‘em (limit and no limit), 7 Card Stud (high and low), draw poker and low ball. Super System teaches and explains when to raise, call, bet and fold. It also has an entire section on tournaments. For anyone who’s serious about poker, this is a must-read and considered to be one of the best books on poker by professional players. The benefit of this book is that, even though it might be considered dated, the information found here is still relevant and considered invaluable to the game

The Theory of Poker

15-2-The-Theory-of-PokerAuthor: David Sklansky
Year: 1999
David Sklansky is considered one of the top authorities on gambling today. Aside from The Theory of Poker, he’s written nine books and produced videos and written for multiple gaming publications. He also holds poker seminars and consults for casinos, Internet gaming sites and gaming device companies. Sklansky’s The Theory of Poker covers theories and concepts that can be applied to every variation of poker including seven card stud, five card draw (high), Texas Hold ‘em, low ball draw, and razz (seven card low ball stud). Sklansky introduces readers to the Fundamental Theorem of Poker, its implications and how this theorem affects the way people play the game. He also goes into detail about the value of bluffing, deception, raising and slow play as well as the value of psychology, position, game theory, heads up play, implied odds, semi-bluffing, the free card and more. Many top players have said this book has made a difference in their game and reading it helps separate experts from amateur players.
Like Super System, The Theory of Poker is also considered one of the best books ever written on the topic.

Play Poker Like the Pros

15-3-Play-Poker-like-the-prosAuthor: Phil Hellmuth
Year: 2003

Phil Hellmuth Jr. is a 13-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner – including victories at the main events of the 1989 WSOP and the 2012 World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) – and was voted by his peers as the
Best Poker Tournament Player in the World in 1997. He is also the author of Play Poker Like the Pros, which a great read for beginning poker players looking for a manual on how to go out and play the game. Additionally, it’s helpful for mid-level players needing to brush up on basics and get advice. Hellmuth delivers advice in a clear, informative way that engages the reader. It lays out the rules and set-up for the various types of poker games, as well as basic to advanced strategies. Some of his tournament-tested tactics include the jackal (crazy and unpredictable), the elephant (plays too many hands), the mouse (conservative playing) and the lion (skilled and hard to beat). It’s also a good resource for Omaha strategy (hi and hi-lo) as well as how to stay cool under pressure.

Power Hold’em Strategy

15-4-Power-Hold’em-StrategyAuthor: Daniel Negreanu
Year: 2008

Daniel Negreanu has received much acclaim for his poker prowess in recent years with two World Poker Tour (WPT) titles, five WSOP bracelets and multiple final tables and cashes. Power Hold’em Strategy, offers useful instruction for serious Texas Hold ’em players. This book follows Brunson’s Super System format with each section written by a different contributor like Evelyn Ng, Todd Brunson, Erick Lindgren, Paul Wasicka and David Williams. Power Hold’em Strategy covers such topics as tournament play, high limit cash games, online play and playing aggressively. Whether or not the reader knows about poker, or Hold ’em in particular, Power Hold’em Strategy offers advice that can help anyone improve their game. It works both as something to be read cover to cover and as a reference guide for when questions or confusion arises.

Gambling Theory and Other Topics

15-5-Gambling-TheoryAuthor: Mason Malmuth
Year: 2004

Mason Malmuth is a full-time gambler and writer, with over 500 articles published in multiple magazines, as well as 14 books co-authored with poker players like David Sklansky and Ray Zee. He also owns Two Plus Two Publishing, which has 26 titles to its credit and has sold over 400 million books by the best in the world of poker. Gambling Theory and Other Topics is a must read for serious poker players who want to take their skills one step further and realize there’s more to poker than bluffing and odds. He covers general concepts, structure of play, technical matters, psychology, strategy, tournament play and more. He discusses risks and fluctuation in terms of statistical hand deviation and how these relate to each other as well as your bankroll. The book also covers win-rate accuracy, free bets, bankroll requirements, dangerous ideas, tournament strategies, why people lose, staying calm under pressure, professional behavior, the future of poker and more.

Whether you’re a novice player looking for advice and tips on how to begin playing or you’ve been playing a while but need to brush up on technique, these books offer sound advice and improve the way you play the game.