Thursday, September 4, 2014

Poker Books

Got a comment on a recent post (here) about poker books I recommend to students. There's a lot to choose from, but some of my favorites are as follows (in alphabetic order):

Advanced Degree in Hold'em Swayne Weird book. Hard to read, with the author making up  his own terms for standard concepts, but this book also really made me think about poker on a deeper level. Wouldn’t be my first choice as a recommendation for  newbie, but it’s definitely on the should-read-sometime list.
Big Deal Holden Fun read. You won’t really learn how to play poker, but it’s entertaining and insightful into the life of a pro poker player.
Bigger Deal Holden Fun read, part II
Caro's Book of Poker Tells Caro Very dated, but there’s still solid golden nuggets of important read and tells in this classic.
Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker McManus You won’t learn how to play poker reading this, but it’s full of fascinating history and lore of poker. Did you know Richard Nixon financed his first congressional run via poker? Betchadidn't.
Crushing the Microstakes Blackrain A really good book for learning how to beat online games. Very good, solid fundamentals and tips. It's geared for online, however, so there's lots about HUDs and trackers and the like...
Dynamic Full Ring Poker Sweeney Another very good book, but don’t make this your first read if you're just starting . It’s really for medium/advanced players looking to improve.
Easy Game Volume I, II and Adaptations. Seidman Actually three separate books. I’d recommend the Adaptations version, as it’s the latest. Good stuff therein.
Elements of Poker Angelo Before the poker boom, this book reportedly sold for upwards of a $1,000 per copy. Dunno if true, but that's the lore. Now it’s significantly cheaper. It’s not a step-by-step learning book, but more of a collection of little pearls of wisdom by one of the best poker coaches in the world. It will make you think.
Every Hand Revealed Hansen Absolutely fascinating look into the mind of someone that everyone considers to be a crazy maniac. Guess what? He's not.
Getting Started in Hold'em Miller Anything by Miller is on my must-read list. This one is pretty basic stuff, but it's good intro material to thinking properly about poker. A little dated, but still solid.
Harrington on Hold'em Harrington The classic books on tournament poker play. Info is a bit long in the tooth, and many players today have mastered these techniques, but if you want to understand ABC poker tournament play, the 3 books in this series are how do so.
Holdem Excellence Krieger I discovered Krieger late in life, after he passed away. His writings are basic but powerful. One of those guys in the world I’d wish I’d had a chance to meet in person.
Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players Sklansky An oldie, but a classic. Lots of basics and fundamentals. Somewhat hard to read, but still worthwhile.
How to Read Hands at NLHE Miller Again, anything by Miller is gold. This one is no exception. Buy it.
Let There Be Range Cole An insanely high priced book (Amazon currently has it for $1,850. Seriously!). I picked up a copy at an estate sale for significantly less money. There are a ton of books out that now rehash this info, but Cole’s book was the first (and one of the best).
Modern Small Stakes Blackrain A follow up to Blackrain's Crushing the Microstakes book. This one is a gem, too. Blackrain is a true expert at beating online games, and you can learn a helluva lot reading his books.
Playing the Player Miller Another awesome Miller book. Very accessible and easy to understand. One of his best, imho.
Poker's 1% Miller Not a book for beginning, or even medium skilled players. This one is for advanced players who are ready to play level-3 and above poker. Very powerful stuff that is really mostly applicable to high stakes tables. It will change completely how you think about poker.
Positively Fifth Street McManus You won’t learn poker reading this, but you’ll be totally fascinated in a prurient manner reading this timeless classic. The vicarious thrill of making a final table of the Main Event with the author is alone worth the price of admission. I confess I’ve read this book 3 separate times.
Professional NLHE Vol 1 Flynn et al Awesome book (it helps to have Miller as an author). Reading this gave me a couple of serious, game-changing “a-ha!” moments, including the basis for my own creation of REDi. I keep waiting, year after year, for Vol 2 to be written. Alas, it's not even on the authors' radar screens...
Reading Poker Tells Elwood Very good stuff. I also hear his new Verbal Tells book is quite good, too, but I don't own it. Solid, fundamental stuff about tells.
Real Poker II: the Play of Hands Cooke Focused on Limit Poker, this is still a very good collection of essays by a part-time semi-pro in the Vegas circles. Cooke does a really good job describing his thought processes in hands.
Small Stakes Hold'em Miller Another Miller classic. Lots of theory, examples, and practical advice. Good book for a newbie looking to advance their game.
Small Stakes NLHE Flynn et al Very good stuff. A little disorganized, but well worth the read. It will definitely help improve your game if you are a beginner.
The Making of a Poker Player Matros You won’t really learn how to play poker reading this, but it’s another really fun read that I’ve done a couple of times.
The Poker Tournament Formula Vol 1, 2 Snyder A truly crazy, outside-the-box style of tournament poker that is not for the faint of heart. Really, really, really made me think deeply. The link here is to Vol 1, but Vol 2 is just as good.
The Theory of Poker Sklansky Don’t even think about trying to read this until you’ve mastered at least half the other books on this list. Very dense, hard to read, detailed… and powerful. The fundamental theorem of poker alone is worth the price.
Winning Poker Tourneys: One Hand at a Time: Vol 1, 2, 3 Lynch, et al Wow, wow, wow. If you want to learn serious, deepstacked tournament poker, these three books are very, very, very good.
Note there aren't any poker math books on this list. I'm still looking for a good one that I can recommend. It's also interesting how many Ed Miller books I include in my list; he's really one of the best poker authors around.

I'll add more books as they occur to me, so keep checking back....

All-in for now...


  1. Thanks for sharing that list. Looks like some more poker book purchases for me - I only have 4 of those books in my library. Thanks for the excellent blog.

  2. Love the inclusion of non-theory books, but McManus and Holden, and no Alvarez?

  3. I now count a couple of Ed Miller's and a Tommy Angelo amongst my collection. Thanks Bug. I'll digest these new additions before checking out some of the others on your list.

    "Elements of poker" looks to be a pearler.

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