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Top 26 Best Poker Books You Should Read

best poker books

Before playing poker, you undoubtedly thought that it was all about luck, a few bluffs, and interpreting your opponents’ body language. Well, there’s more to it than that.

To be a great poker player, you need to know more than just the basics of the game. And this can be achieved by reading poker books. 

Books allow you to learn everything about poker, from the fundamentals of hand analysis to the ins and outs of playing in tournaments.

But, with so many poker books and resources on the market, it can be a daunting task to figure out which one is worthwhile investing in. 

The good news is that we’ve researched and put together a list of the best poker books to help you take your poker skills to the next level. Read to find out more.

What are the most popular poker books?

Essential Poker Books

1- Harrington on Hold’em – By Daniel Harrington

Harrington on Hold’em is one of the most popular poker books ever written. The author of the book Daniel Harrington is a professional poker player with a world champion title to his credit—he won the 1995 World Series of Poker main event.

In his book, “Action Dan” gives in-depth information on the strategies that made him a successful poker player. The book is divided into three series:

  • Volume I: Strategic Play covers basic strategy concepts, including how to calculate pot odds, analyze hands and players, bet, alter your style, react to re-raises and handle bad beats. This book will equip you with the tactics you need to succeed in the early and middle rounds of a No-Limit Hold Em tournament and make it to the final table.
  • Volume II: The End Game provides an arsenal of advanced techniques to help you win more hands, take control of tricky inflection point plays, and make more money when the chips are down. This book will teach you how to win against the best poker players in the world.
  • Volume III: The Workbook includes exercises to help you practice the strategies presented in the other two chapters. It will help you internalize and apply the lessons learned to become a better poker player.

With a rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon, this book will help you maneuver your way to victory on the poker table.

2- Elements of Poker – By Tommy Angelo

Element of Poker is a comprehensive guide to the poker world that will teach you everything you need to become a better player. The book is less concerned about strategy and more with the mental aspect of poker, which is where most amateur players fall short.

Tommy Angelo breaks down the different facets of the game, such as bankroll management, playing your A-game, controlling emotions, knowing when to quit, and more.

He communicates in a cheerful, engaging, and thought-provoking style making his ideas applicable to life on and away from the table. 

This book will not only equip you with a solid foundation of poker knowledge but will make you experience a real-“aha” moment from start to finish.

3- Playing the Player – By Ed Miller

As the title suggests, this book is about identifying your opponents’ weaknesses and playing to their strengths. Learning the thought process of other players will enable you to better adjust to the table and beat your opponent using different strategies.

Ed Miller demonstrates how you can read other players and employ strategies used by top players to dominate their opponents. 

In this book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Get the nits to give you victory
  • Prevail against aggressive players
  • Use Loose player aggression against your opponents
  • Analyze your opponents, spot weaknesses, and attack

This book has a rating of 4.5 on Amazon, and it’s a good recommendation for intermediate and advanced poker players.

4- Kill Everyone – By Lee Nelson

Kill everyone is a tactical guide to winning at No-Limit Hold Em—explains how loose player aggression can transform your game.

The author Lee Nelson (Austral-Asia grand champion 2000-2005) looks at early and later stages of play, end game strategies, and cash games. He provides examples and drills to help you put his theories into practice.

Kill Everyone has a second edition version with an extra 50 pages, including a commentary for Bertrand Grospellier and a chapter on short-stack cash games.

5- The Mental Game of Poker – By Jared Tendler

The Mental Game of Poker is a guide to improving emotional and mental issues when playing poker, and it’s tailored specifically for professional poker players.

In this book, Tendler delves into:

  • How to handle variance 
  • Fixing tilting issues 
  • Controlling emotions 
  • Being motivated to win 

Plus, he provides personal exercises that can help you chart your performance and fine-tune your mental game.

6- The Theory of Poker – By David Sklansky

This masterpiece by David Sklansky is the go-to book for anyone looking to learn the fundamental concepts of poker. It’s well-respected and enjoyed by novice and experienced players alike.

The book covers the value of position, exception, bluffing, psychology, game theory, implied odds, the slow-play, and more.

Even though the book was published 24 years ago, it’s still regarded as “the bible of modern poker theory.”And you can apply its concepts to various games, including Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and Heads-up No-Limit Texas Hold’em.

7- Winning Poker Systems – By Norman Zadeh

Winning Poker Systems was initially crafted for players in the public card rooms of California in 1973. The book drew attention to poker games like the draw poker, low ball, five-six and seven-card stud, and high-low draw—which were the only legal games in California back then.

Zadeh, who has received recognition from great authors such as Dan Harrington and David Sklansky, provides an in-depth look at deceptive plays and poker psychology.

The book addresses the importance of position, hand selection, pot control, and more.

Despite its age, Winning Poker Systems is still a valuable source for players of all experience levels.

8- Ace on the River(2005) – By Barry Greenstein

Ace on the River (2005) helps players of all skill levels, from amateurs to seasoned pros, play better. Typically, the book is an easy, entertaining read that talks about the gambling or casino culture and what poker was like in the older days.

The writer of this piece draws heavily on philosophy, realism, storytelling, and a bit of economics as it relates to the professional poker scene and the players.

Some of the topics this book covers include:

  • Money management 
  • Psychology of poker
  • Family matters

This book will allow you to view the poker world from the perspective of someone who participates in it.

9- Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition – By Alton Hardin

Essential Poker Math quips players of all levels, from beginners to pros, with fundamental No-limit Hold’em maths. This book will teach you how to apply mathematics at the poker table and make winning moves.

It’s based on Hardin’s book, Essential Poker Strategy, and provides an in-depth analysis of pot equity, pot odds, the expected value (EV), implied odds, and more.

You’ll also learn pre-flop and post-flop poker concepts such as:

  • Betting with the best hand
  • Semi-bluffing all-in
  • Bluffs and hero calls 
  • Steal attempts 
  • Set-mining 
  • Three-bet bluffing 

Best Poker Books for Beginner Players

10-Small Stakes Hold’em (2004) – By Ed Miller ft. David Sklansky

This book is a definitive guide for helping experienced players crush loser games and players at the smaller tables. But, if you’re new to poker, you’ll learn the basics and strategies to play like a maniac.

The book is written in straightforward language, making it easy to follow. Some of the topics it covers include:

  • Large pots versus small pots
  • Betting for value on the river
  • Protecting your hands
  • Playing overcards
  • Speculative hands
  • Hand categories
  • Evaluating the flop
  • Counting outs

Sklansky also presents you with over fifty hand quizzes to help you put everything you learn into practice.

11-Getting Started in Hold’em – By Edward Miller

Getting Started in Hold’em is packed with thorough explanations that demonstrate to the beginners how to win at hold’em (limit and no limit) in the simplest ways.

The book is laid out in an easy-to-read and understandable manner while providing hands-on practice to help you win.

Edward Miller takes you through concepts such as semi-bluffing, free card plays, pot equity, hand valuation implied odds, and more. He also includes a chapter with a recap quiz to test your knowledge.

12-The Raiser’s Edge (2011) – By Bertrand Grospellier

This book explains how and why the LAG and hyper-LAG styles function and provides strategies to defend against them.

It also shows you how to adapt to situations and pursue your aggressive strategies in all levels of tournament play.

You’ll learn techniques such as thin value betting,smooth-calling, floating and squeezing, heads-up play, mini-raising, and more.

13-Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em – By Jonathan Little

Excelling at No-Linit Hold’em is one of the best poker tournament books available if you’re eager to deepen your knowledge of the game or supplement what you already know. The book is to follow and understand.

The author breaks down the book into three sections: 

  • Poker Strategy: Focuses on topics such as satellite play,lower-buy in events, analyzing tells, and moving up stakes.
  • Technical Game: Tackles value betting, range analysis, game theory optimal play, and short stack strategies.
  • The Mental Game: Involves the mental and psychological aspects of the game.

Best Poker Books for Tournaments

14-Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker– By Jonathan Little

The Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker gives you a complete understanding of everything you need to know to compete in tournaments. The book is intended for poker players who want to improve their poker strategy.

This book provides an in-depth look at:

  • How tournaments work
  • Playing deep stacked
  • Playing mid stacked 
  • The late stages

Additionally, the book discusses non-technical aspects of playing, such as the mental approach, and provides hand examples to help you assess your understanding.

15-Every Hand Revealed – By Gus Hansen

Gus Hansen (“The Madman”) will take you on a fascinating journey in his world of poker tournaments, from the first hand to win at the final table. Here’s what you can expect from this book:

  • Learn when to overcome a weak hand 
  • Raising out of position
  • How prize structure affects the way you play
  • Educated guesses, bluffing, and precise calculation
  • How to apply Gus’s rational strategies 

Hasten delivers his ideas in a way that will undoubtedly keep you turning the pages while helping you to play your best.

16-Moorman’s Book of Poker – By Chris Moorman

This book is a terrific resource for low- to mid-stakes players who want to advance to higher-stakes tournaments. In addition, it provides excellent guidance on how to improve right away in sit-and-go and multi-table tournaments. 

The author of this book (Chris Moorman) has a wealth of experience as both a professional online poker player and a coach.

In this series, he examines Byron Jacob’s 80 tournament hand histories explaining what he did right and wrong. He also offers guidance on the correct play for each situation in an engaging manner.

17-Poker Essays – By Mason Malmuth

This book is a compilation of essays written before 1991 by one of the most renowned poker players, Mason Malmuth. These essays include theories and predictions about poker’s future— many of which have come to pass since the book was published.

It provides exciting and unique perspectives on various aspects of the game and actionable advice for improving your poker skills. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Strategic Ideas
  • In the Cardrooms
  • Technical Ideas
  • Erroneous Concepts
  • Structure
  • Tournament notes 
  • General Concept

With this book, you’ll learn poker skills, handling pressure, maximizing your expectations, moving up, playing the overs, adjusting to the big ante, three betting levels, choosing the blinds, and more. 

18-Super/System 2: A Course in Power Poker – Author: Doyle Brunson

The book expands on its initial publication by including fresh scenarios, new experts, and—most importantly—insider insights from the foremost authorities on the subject. It brings all together the best players, strategists, and title holders.

This two-volume compilation includes the best poker tips, techniques, and specialist techniques ever recorded, coupled with the original Classic System, which experts have acclaimed as the most impactful poker book in the world. 

No competent poker player can manage to neglect this indispensable book because it is filled with cutting-edge approaches, ideas, tactics, and revenue methods.

Top Cash Game Books

19-Harrington on Cash Games – By Dan Harrington

Dan Harrington focuses on teaching readers the fundamental ideas that underpin deep-stack pay playing experience in Harrington on Cash Games Volume I.

You’ll gain knowledge in choosing starting hands that are appropriate for your stack value, what to do to spot the rising deceptive worth of seemingly inferior holdings as stack amounts rise, and how to stay ahead of the idea of pot commitment as the pool size increases. 

Harrington first explains the basic ideas underlying deep-stack high-stakes play before outlining a comprehensive post-flop game approach and the distinction between post-flop performance against a particular opponent and post-flop play versus numerous competitors.

20- Poker Math That Matters – By Owen Gaines

It has never been simpler to understand the math underlying winning poker. By using Owen’s techniques and strategies, you’ll be using math at the poker table in no time. 

This text covers the mathematics required to master judgments in no-limit hold ’em cash games. It also has about 100 quiz questions and answers to help you evaluate your understanding and practice sharpening your skills.

This book tries to assist players interested in gambling who don’t have a high aptitude for arithmetic or probabilistic reasoning. It will guide you through simple and complex issues by explaining fundamental ideas.

21-Little Green Book – By Phil Gordon

The top poker players all over the globe compete against Phil Gordon. He has won and lost in competitions and live poker multiple times, but he has also studied the subject and gained knowledge from each hand dealt. 

The book provides all of Phil Gordon’s knowledge on No Limit Texas Hold’em. In his advice regarding how to approach the game and create a distinctive playing style, Phil assumes the roles of both teacher and pupil is utilizing poker-related information as well as psychology, philosophy, strategy, arithmetic, and other disciplines. 

He disintegrated the game into instructive nuggets and illustrated narratives that motivate you to practice and persevere to improve at poker.

22-Optimizing Ace king – By James Sweeney

A highly lucrative hand is Ace King. AK makes up a significant portion of your capabilities and attributes and is among the top 5% of profitable hands. However, many players have trouble with AK because of minor strategic flaws. 

Therefore, Optimizing Ace King (OAK) doesn’t seem to offer you a ton of moves and strategies that you can recall. Instead, OAK demonstrates how AK integrates into your overall approach and playing space. This equips you to play AK, among other hands, in various situations and with multiple factors at play. 

Through the viewpoint of a single strike, the book takes a thorough look into Holdem’s strategies. And is an intriguing read because it discusses concepts like:

  • 3 betting
  • 4 betting
  • C betting
  • GTO vs. exploitative play
  • Determining patterns using GTO solution results

23-Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players – By David Sklansky

Texas Hold ’em is a complex game to master. You’re required to balance various ideas—some of which periodically conflict with one another—to develop into an expert.

Anybody who reads this book, practices self-control, and gains sufficient expertise ought to succeed significantly.

Dealing with the first cards, semi-bluffing, the extra card, provoking bluffs, sticking with draws, pitching whenever a pair emerges, handling garbage hands, despair bets, gambling in wild games, analyzing hands, and psychology are a few of the other concepts covered.

With more than 100 pages of fresh content, including in-depth segments on “loose games” and “relatively brief games,” the editors have once again advanced the field’s state, making it an interesting aid in the gaming experience.

Best Poker Mindset and Tells Books

24-The Body Language of Poker – By Mike Caro

What could be more frustrating than playing poker with someone seemingly oblivious to your every move? Unfortunately, most poker players encounter this situation, so players of all levels must develop their ability to interpret their opponents’ body language.

This book’s author utilizes images to illustrate why you should use body language to communicate during games and how it might affect your level of success.

You’ll learn how to study your opponent’s facial movements, posture, and voice inflections to gain an edge in your next poker game.

 25-The Psychology of Poker – Author; Dr. Alan N. Schoonmaker

If you want to increase your chances of winning at poker, you need to understand the psychology of the game. 

This book comes into play as it takes you through the different psychological factors that can impact the game, from your beliefs about poker to how you deal with stress.

Dr.Schoonmaker also helps you understand the behavior of different players and suggests strategies you can use to play better, enjoy the game, and win.

26- The Poker Mindset: Essential Attitudes for Poker Success – By Matthew Hilger

Mathew’s book addresses some of the most important aspects of a poker game that most authors don’t consider—the emotional and psychological effects on the game.

This book will equip you with the mindset you’ll need to play poker profitably. In addition, you’ll be able to determine your opponents’ mental and emotional stresses and take advantage of them.

How to Apply Poker Books Knowledge in Actual Play

Reading and understanding poker books can be an excellent resource for learning poker, but it’s essential to know how to apply that in actual play. Here are 3 tips:

1. Know Your Skill level: Before you can start applying any of the knowledge gleaned from a poker book, you need to know your playing skills. This way, you’ll not skip any stage of the learning process.

2. Choose Games You Want to Play: This involves estimating how good you are at each type of poker and determining which strategy will work best for you.

3. Put the Theory into Practice: To become a successful poker player, you’ll need to practice applying the theories you’ve learned as often as possible.

Final Take: Are Poker Books worth it?

Poker books are a great source of information for beginners and experts alike. In addition, these books have exercises at the end of each chapter that can help boost your skills in various games.

What’s more, they present you with an opportunity to glimpse the lives of some of the world’s top poker players and how they manage to achieve what they have.

FAQs on Best Poker Books


Daniel Harrington’s  Harrington on Hold’em is the best poker book because it has the top ratings and endorsements.

Yes, but only if you’re prepared to put in the effort using the techniques you’ve learned.

Generally, Youtube is an excellent resource for poker strategy videos, while the poker forum on Reddit offers the best poker discussions. There are also many websites offering poker training.

Poker is a great game to learn because it requires both skills and strategy. By reading books about poker, you can learn how to play the game better and improve your chances of winning.

No, but they may help you become a better poker player. To become a professional poker player, you must study the game, practice, and play against pros.

The best cash game poker book is Harrington on Cash Games – by Dan Harrington. It focuses on Hold’em cash games and provides helpful tips and advice for playing optimally.

Some of the best mindset and psychology poker books include The mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler, The Psychology of Poker by Allan N. Schoonmaker, and The Poker Mindset by Mathew Hilger.

Yes, the Supersystem is still relevant. The principles within the system are still remarkably applicable to modern poker and can help you improve your game significantly.

The Secret of Professional Tournament Poker by Jonathan Little is the best tournament poker book because it’s an in-depth guide to playing at the highest poker levels.  

Best beginner books include Modern Poker Theory, Master Micro Stakes Poker, and Ever Hand Revealed.

Some of the best poker books for online play include The Grinder’s Manual, Small Stakes No Limit Hold’em, and Applications of No-Limit Hold’em.

Best books for poker tells include Caro’s Book of Poker Tells, Reading Poker Tells, and Verbal Poker Tells.

The best GTO books are Play Optimal Poker and Mathematics of Poker.

The best book to beat the micro stakes is No Limit Hold’em- Beating the Micro Stakes.

Some of the best free poker books include The Theory of Poker, Poker Math That Matters, and Secrets of Sit n Gos.

Best poker books on kindle include Beat the Deale, GTO Poker Gems, Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition, and The Modern Poker Theory.

Some of the best audio poker books available on audible include Optimizing Ace King, Unfolding Poker, Reading Poker Tells, and The Mental Game of Poker.

Reviewed by

Picture of Austin Harper

Austin Harper

Austin is one of the co-founders at Betsperts and a devoted father of 2. Born and raised in Atlanta Georgia, Austin is passionate about the Atlanta Hawks, Braves, and Falcons. Austin received his Bachelors of Science from Clemson University and gets back for Clemson football and basketball games every chance he gets!

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