Poker is not an easy game, and those who want to stay ahead of the curve need every bit of help they can get.
Books are one of the best sources of organised information you can find on the subject of poker, and one of the best ways to improve your poker game.
Unfortunately, some poker books are not as applicable in today’s games; whereas some are gold mines which will greatly improve your game, despite their age.
Below, we list books which are relevant and useful on the felt today, as a lot of books haven’t aged very well.
So here is my list of the best poker books in 2020 that you can get your hands on in (organised by Amazon rating).
Use the filters below to help you find the book that best fits your needs:
Table Of Contents
- Master Micro Stakes Poker by Alton Hardin
- Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em by Jonathan Little
- Play Optimal Poker By Andrew Brokos
- Poker Math & Preflop Workbook by James “Splitsuit” Sweeney
- Modern Poker Theory by Michael Acevedo
- How To Study Poker Volume 2 by Sky Matsuhashi
- Every Hand Revealed by Gus Hansen
- Essential Poker Math by Alton Hardin
- The Course by Ed Miller
- Harrington on Cash Games Vol. 1 by Dan Harrington
- The Poker Book by Hank Cashman
- Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler
- Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo
- Mental Game of Poker 2 by Jared Tendler
- Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments
- Applications of No-Limit Hold ’em by Matthew Janda
- Purposeful Practice for Poker By Patricia Cardner
- Reading Poker Tells by Zachary Elwood
- Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em by Ed Miller
- Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Cash Games by Jonathan Little
- Kill Everyone: Advanced Strategies for No-Limit Hold ‘Em Poker Tournaments and Sit-n-Gos
- The Poker Mind by Jonathan Bradley
- Crushing Low Stakes Poker by Mike Turner
- Unfolding Poker by James “Splitsuit” Sweeney
- Poker’s 1% By Ed Miller
- Crushing The Microstakes by Nathan Williams
- Get HowToPlayPokerInfo’s Poker Book For Free?
- Your Best Poker Books?
- Frequently asked questions
- Will reading poker books help my game?
- What is the best cash game poker book?
- What is the best tournament poker book?
- What are the best poker books for beginners?
- What are the best poker books for online play?
- What are the best books on poker tells?
- What are the top books for learning GTO (game theory optimal) play?
- What poker book is best for learning to beat the microstakes?
- What are the best free poker books?
- What are the best poker books available on kindle?
- What are the best books audio poker books available on audible?
- What are the best mindset and psychology books?
- Is the Supersystem by Doyle Brunson still relevant?
This poker book an excellent choice for someone who is beginning their poker journey in the cash game realm. We all have to start somewhere and the microstakes is a place where you can learn how to play solid poker without breaking the bank; however, the microstakes do require some specific adjustments in order to maximise your EV, and this book lay theses adjustments out in an easy to read and comprehensive format.
This book boasts almost 400 pages of content across 30 chapters which covers everything from setting up your HUD to playing against limpers (of whom there are many in the microstakes), how to study the game, and player profiling. Suggested raise first in opening ranges (depending on your skill level) are also provided.
The sheer number of positive reviews for this book is impressive, and I have yet to find a negative one so it appears that this book is very well received by those who purchased. As well as the content of the book, you also get a free bonus of a 17.5 hour Crush Micro Stakes Poker course at Microgrinder Poker School – so the package is extremely good value given the book only costs around $20.
Here is an example of a positive review:
This is a great book for people like me that are starting to learn the basics of becoming a winning player at poker. It does a great job of taking you through the main concepts and then building on them to teach you the key strategies you need to know. I like the way it’s written in clear, logical terms that take you step by step through the processes.
I also love the free online course that comes with the book different people learn in different ways – I like the reinforcement you get by both reading and hearing the same concept. Seeing the author play various hands also helps understand what to do in specific scenarios. Highly recommended!
I have been watching poker for years and have been playing for a few months. I’ve done okay, but I’m not even close to the player I want to become. I’ve read other books (pamphlets), but none were as comprehensive as this mammoth and detailed read. Hardin teaches you how to play poker intelligently. There is a lot covered in Master Micro Stakes Poker, like variance, bankroll management, pre-flop strategy, and so on. Also, the bonuses at the end are valuable and keep player development going. This is a must-read for poker players and enthusiasts, and I’ll be referencing this often to improve my game and win more hands.
How would you like to read the insights and tips from 17 of the top poker pros across the globe all in the one book?
This is what Jonathan Little has put together in this book and as a result, he created one of the best poker books of the last 10 years.
You must be a competent poker player before diving into this one. This book doesn’t delve into the basics and jumps head first into more advanced topics.
Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em will make you rethink some of the ideas and strategies you have had ingrained for years (that have been costing you money).
Topics include understanding the fundamentals, satellite play, lower-buy in events, analysing poker tells and moving up in stakes. You will then move onto a thorough technical breakdown of the game including sections on range analysis, game theory optimal play, short stack strategies, value betting and final table play.
Touted as the new supersystem of the poker world, it has lived up to its hype.
I really enjoyed this book and it helped my game immensely so I would thoroughly recommend it.
And a positive Amazon review:
Excellent book, probably the most up to date and in-depth book wrote since the Harrington on hold’em series.
A very detailed book in every way and a must for any poker player taking poker seriously and wanting to make money at poker.
Mainly aimed at tournament play and online poker but easily transferable with top contributors from the world of poker…excellent.
And a negative review (the only review less than 4 stars I could find on Amazon):
It is a comprehensive book there are various authors who have given their valuable insights however for an amateur it is difficult to get all the concepts preferred if the book was limited to 3-5 main points to focus on rather than hundreds
So to repeat, if you are a beginner, I would not recommend this book (for now, anyway).
But for everyone else, it’s a must buy!
The common misconception is that GTO play is only for the elite players and the nosebleed games and that we should be playing exploitatively at all times, particularly at the micro and small stakes. I have been saying the contrary for years – not that you shouldn’t be trying to exploit your opponents, but that an understanding of GTO or the “correct” play in a give situation will allow you to exploit your opponent more effectively.
After all, if you don’t know what the correct play is in a given situation, how are you meant to know if your opponent is playing incorrectly or even how to adjust to maximally exploit them? This is the opinion of Andrew Brokos who states:
Game theory is for anyone who’s ever been unsure of what to do at the poker table.
Andrew follows on from this to provide a series of “toy games” to help you understand the basics of how and when to apply a GTO based strategy. As the book progresses through the 420 odd pages of content, the complexity of the toy games increases until holdem is reintroduced about mid way through the book. The lessons learned in the book so far are then applied.
The book concludes with in the final chapter “Putting it together” which a number of common holdem situations and lessons that you can directly apply to your game today.
Overall, this book isn’t one for providing a fixed strategies, starting ranges, or generalized tips that you might find in other poker books. Instead, this book aims to provide you with a new framework for viewing the game which can help you understand an exploit your opponent more effectively. Based on my reading of this content, it certainly helped me and gets my vote!
Here is a positive Amazon review:
I highly recommend Andrew’s new book to all poker players. Game Theory is all the rage in poker these days. Andrew starts from the basics to explain what game theory is, how it works, and why you should have some understanding of it. Then starts small with toy games to show how it applies to poker.
Ultimately the book finishes with ways to use game theory concepts to exploit mistakes that your opponents may be making. Such exploits include how to play against villains that call too much or fold too much, don’t bluff enough or too often and more.
And a negative review:
A better title for this book would be “An Introduction to Game Theory.” There are only a handful of examples in the book related to No Limit Holdem, and, while some parallels are drawn between the game theory examples and poker, they are not developed fully. This book may work if it is the first volume in a series of books. By itself, it’s painfully lacking in poker content.
This is the first poker book to be released in 2020, and it’s off to an amazing start with great reviews so far.
If you are serious about playing better poker, you need to fully grasp the underlying math but you don’t need an IQ of 195 to do these calculations.
You just need to learn the key formulas, practice putting them to use, and train your brain to precisely and automatically estimate the math during sessions. And that’s exactly what this workbook does.
You’ll learn and practice basic math concepts like pot odds, implied odds, and combos and eventually get into more complex topics like EV (expected value), 3betting, and preflop all-ins.
Each chapter includes information about the concept, gives you all necessary formulas, and then lays out example after example for you to put your skills to use. The paperback is also full-color, which is rare for poker books given how expensive full-color printing is compared to traditional black and white. And the workbook is large size (8”x10”) so you don’t need to squint to see the ranges.
If you grab the ebook version instead, you’ll find that you can write directly into the workbook and save your answers for simple review. The Poker Math & Preflop Workbook is over 200 pages, has 1,500+ questions, and includes a full answer key so you can ensure you got everything correct.
Author James “SplitSuit” Sweeney suggests doing a few pages per day to build a +EV habit that results in excellent retention – and I think that’s 100% worth your time to do! Here is a positive review from Amazon from Matt Beckett:
There are no negative reviews thus far.
Poker is on an inevitable path towards being solved by computers and debatably already has in some restricted circumstances. This means that much of the learning we will take from the game going forward will be based on theory derived from solvers.
This is where Modern Poker Theory by Michael Acevedo comes in. This poker book contains almost 500 pages of content starting from simple concepts such as minimum defense frequency (i.e. how much do you have to call or raise for your opponent not to make an autoprofit with their bet or raise) to applying GTO concepts to multi-way situations and using modern poker solvers.
I really like how the book presents as presents a lot of ranges but walks you through their construction step by step. In other words, how we balance value with efficient bluffs, some medium-strength hands for board coverage to maximise our EV vs our opponents. The book walks through how to take into account stack depth, position and other factors to modify these base ranges for many of the common situations you will encounter.
Overall this provides good model for range construction so in-game you can normally be in the ball park with your strategy. In contrast to many theoretical poker books, this one is quite light reading yet still manages to provide lots of useful information without getting bogged down in formulas, equations and complex graphs.
The graphs and illustrations provided are easy to follow and DO NOT require a couple of minutes study just to understand what’s attempted to be shown.
Here is a very positive review form Amazon:
I think this is the best book ever written.
I have competed for many years at the highest levels, and the level of my game jumped when I started studying the material in this book diligently. Every poker player should buy this book. It’s not the quickest read, but all of the time you invest will be richly rewarded. I have read this book three times, and I will most definitely revisit the material.
And a negative review:
Highly touted book. Felt like the structure was terrible and could have been better. Much better value out of paying for a training course.
Aside from the negative review above, there have been a few mentions of typos. An addendum has been provided here which addresses this issue.
The book is sub-titled “A Proven Playbook For Increasing Your Poker Skills Through Dedicated Daily Study” and is a template that you can use to study poker and improve your game very quickly.
Studying is not always easy and often the most difficult part is simply getting started – but getting started is easy with the strategies given in this book. Sky gives you a 28-day template where you’ll see all the content he studied, his hand reading practices, his database reviews and filters, many poker equity calculations and all the lessons he learned throughout this process.
I would recommend this poker book to anyone who is currently trying to improve their poker game! Here is a positive review from the UK version of Amazon:
I have been studying poker for some time but always struggled to make decisions about what to study and to see a real impact of that study. I think like many players I scratched the surface of many topics without achieving enough in any specific topic. This book has changed that for me as it sets out a clear process for selection of topics and how to get the knowledge and skill you need on that topic before moving on.
This book is a great way to supercharge your other poker material and to get more from these other sources as well. It’s a great book indeed; just buy it! Thank you Mr Matsuhashi
In this book, you will find out how Gus played every single hand when he won the 2007 Aussie Millions out of a field of 747 players.
Although, some of the poker material from may be outdated a lot of the concepts he uses are still critical to beating the games today.
Even, so if you just want an entertaining read about poker or gambling, this is the book for you.
Gus is one of the best live players to have played the games, having made multiple mega cashes over his career.
Find out how the poker pros think and see how he played every single hand in the tournament. Not only his best hands.
The hands he discussed aren’t just glossed over. Each one has a detailed narrative which allows you to understand his thought process for each hand.
It’s easy to follow and doesn’t require you slog through complex equations or math.
What’s not to like?
And a review from Amazon:
“This was a really enjoyable read for me. Gus goes through the 300+ hands that he played in winning some big tournament in Australia and explains his thinking hand by hand. A shame that he didn’t mention all the hands he folded preflop – including these would have given a better picture of Gus’ play, even if it would have made the book more boring in places
But I’d better tell you why I liked the book before I go any further. It reminded me a bit of reality television. I felt like I was sitting there watching Gus from behind the safety of a TV screen and waiting for the car crash to happen. It was also a bit like listening to Dark Side of the Moon in that it gave me a picture of what goes on inside the head of a barking loon
You see, Gus is a very different player to those that have read through Harrington, Moshman, Gordon et al. His starting requirements for betting are unbelievably loose, he has no respect for position at the table, he spits in the face of Sklansky’s Gap Concept, he never folds his blinds,… Need I go on?
This is definitely more a book to read for entertainment than one to learn from, unless – you need a bit more aggression in your game, or – you’re planning on playing tournaments with big stacks, long blind levels and high antes relative to blinds, or – you’re Andrew “Gutshot” Chow from Bristol, in which case Gus Hansen is relatively sane and might be able to help tighten your game.”
And a not so positive review:
I’ve read a few poker books. This one is very boring, I made it through 1/3rd of the book it’s just boring. Every hand revealed is it, a lot of the same reading page after page in my opinion not a good poker book.
I can’t fathom how you can find this book boring unless you aren’t into poker. It is the complete opposite of boring.
But for the rest of us, I would recommend this book to anyone, beginner or pro.
Sick of all that complicated math?
“I hate math” & ” Just tell me what I need to know”, you say?
Well, this is the book for you.
The most important poker math is distilled down to easy to understand and digestible nuggets which will get your mathematical thought process on the right track.
There is a lot of math which can be applied to poker – but not all of that is practical.
This book takes a simple route and just gives you what you need, in an easy to explain manner so that you don’t need a PhD in Theoretical Physics to understand it all!
You can do everything required with just a basic understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and some practice on the felt.
Examples of what you will learn are how to quickly estimate your equity on the table, whether a drawing hand should be folded or called and how often you need to be right to make them hero calls.
If math is your weak point of the complicated game of poker, I highly recommend this book.
Here is an Amazon review:
This is everything you need to know to use math PRACTICALLY when playing good poker. There is no number theory here, there are other books if you want that. But if you want the essential math foundations for your game when making tough 20 or 30-second decisions playing online, then this is the book. If you believe poker is a numbers game, at least as much as a psychological one [and it is], then get this book.
I could not find a review below four stars for this book on Amazon.
Here is a video explaining Essential Poker Math in more detail:
The Course by Ed Miller takes a different approach to many of the other poker books on this list: instead of concentrating on how your opponent is playing, you should instead concentrate on your own game and “control the controllables”.
This the premise of this book stems from golf where players are often taught to not think about other players or the scoreboard and instead just play the course. While this at first may seem to go against a lot of what conventional poker or even Hollywood’s take poker would suggest (i.e. poker is all about playing the player), this approach has a merit and, in fact, this is the same approach that a theoretically optimal player would use.
When playing a theoretically sound or “GTO” based poker game, it doesn’t matter how your opponent plays – you will make money unless your opponent unless they are also playing that same GTO strategy. To take an example, if you have a perfectly balanced betting range on the river, it doesn’t matter if your opponent calls too much, as your value bets will win money from this leak whereas if he folds too much your bluffs will be exploiting this leak.
So this book comes from the perspective which is somewhat similar to a GTO style but adjusted to to Live $1-$2 to $5-$10 and without the heavy math, equations and hard reading that’s typically associated with a theoretical text. This book is one of the easier books to read that I have sunk my teeth into with plenty of practical examples frequently sprinkled with quizzes to test your knowledge.
The Course is targeted at Live games so taking the strategies employed in this book and translating them to the online scene may not deliver the expected results. Further, this book is aimed towards a beginner.
A quick glance at the table of contents shows a range of topics which may leave an experienced player feeling underwhelmed given the relatively expensive price tag. In saying that, as an experienced player, I did enjoy this book and the new perspectives provided.
Here is a positive Amazon review for this book:
I bought this for a friend. His mindset on the game was running bad and so was he. This book got him back on track to his winning ways. Great book for your poker arsenal. If you feel your game is getting stale and you can’t seem to win again. This book will give you a fresh outlook on poker again.
You can’t control what other players do, you can only control how you play ‘the course’. As in poker and as in life.
And a negative review:
The material of this book is beginner level material. Yet, it is hyped as a take to the higher level book. WRONG!
Dan Harrington is rather famous in the poker world, not only for his the WSOP main event back in 1995 but also for his series of books called Harrington on Holdem which were somewhat revolutionary when they came back in 2004.
These books were primarily geared towards tournament poker but he was back in 2008 to pen a strategy book aimed at cash games. Since this book is more than 10 years old, there will be a number of strategies which are out of date and taken from an “exploitative” point of view rather than a game-theoretic perspective. To be fair, there likely wasn’t any form of a poker solver back when this was written so it’s completely understandable.
However, the book is easy to follow, provides a great list of hand examples, and would be good for a beginner or intermediate player who needs a refresher of the fundamentals of cash game play.
Here is a positive amazon review:
I have read many poker books and this is probably the best no limit cash game book I have read, especially for covering all stakes. Largay’s low limit book is a good read for a very limited game and probably offers some more intensive coverage of that slice of the pie but Harrington covers most of what Largay does and much more in this book.
I have read a lot of poker books where the hand examples are almost unbearable to read; in this book I found the presentation of them interesting and understandable. Whoever did the editing of the hand examples seems to have taken special care to make them more easily read than in most poker books, this alone is very helpful.
And a negative review:
This is a decent guide to play poker but not good or close to optimal.
He teaches you a way to play that will hinder your future growth as a player. So if you really want to become good this book will hinder your longterm growth because he is teaching you ways of thinking that will put you in a lot of bad situations. Ex: “Computer simulation has shown that it’s always best to open raise if you are first to act. Still he think it’s better to limp some of the time (which I can agree with) BUT he wants you to limp randomized, not because it’s the best option but because he think you should mix it up for mixing sake.” This is only one of many terrible advice!
[There are of course some good points also and I haven’t read the 2nd book but can’t recommend it for poker players that really want to become good]
This is the big book of rules for over 100 variations of poker including Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, Badugi and many more.
It simply does what it says on the tin – so if you are looking to learn a few different variations of poker, this is the book for you.
And a positive Amazon review:
I am really pleased with this book! The man who wrote it is very enthusiastic about Poker. He has really delved into the facts to get the games correct. I’m a beginner and I wanted a book that told me about Poker. This book explains the games simply & directly. In the back he has “Robert’s Rules of Poker” which is supposed to be the last word on Poker Rules. There’s even a section on Poker Terminology which to me is really necessary! They use a whole different language.
This book is very well written, nothing seems to be left out. I am totally enjoying it! Would buy it again and certainly recommend it to friends.
I could not find a review below four stars for this book on Amazon.
So often, players will just work on their technical skills on the poker table and as a result are susceptible to tilting, motivation issues and lack of focus.
The psychology of poker is equally important as your technical skills – if you cannot apply your technical skills due to tilt, motivation, etc. what’s use are these skills?
You can remove the ‘low hanging fruit’ so to speak by putting in the work on your mental game that the other regs aren’t doing.
By working on your mental game you are ensuring you play your best more often and remove the really bad days – hence, your winrate will improve in the long run.
Read the Two plus two poker review of Mental Game of Poker for more info.
Positive Amazon review:
This book is absolutely crucial and should be read by any player moving on from the Beginner stage. Jared’s view on tilt and other mental game issues is pretty much novel amongst poker writers but more to the point it’s far more on the money and will actually help you cure tilt as opposed to just suppressing it.
This is one of the best poker books I’ve read and heartily recommend it to everyone.
Have issues with dealing with regs on the table? You will find the answer in this book.
Have issues with spewing off buy-ins over and over? Don’t worry there are steps in this book to reduce the likelihood of this happening.
You can even apply the skills you learn from this book to outside of poker. Jared started out life as a golf coach after all.
When you think about all the money you could have saved over the years you will kick yourself. Improve your game now by reading the mental game of poker.
And a critical review:
It’s like one long intro.
For me, it highlights why things are the way they are but never actually goes into depth on how to solve them.
Excellent at highlighting problems but telling you to then think about stuff is a bit pointless in my opinion.
In my opinion, the negative reviewer didn’t put enough time into working through the quizzes and questions posed by Jared. These are the only way you will improve your mental game. Reading alone won’t help.
Unless you really want to improve your game and are willing to put in the work, I wouldn’t buy this book.
If on the other hand, you are ready to pick up an edge on all the other lazy regs out there you should pick up this book.
Even at 10 years old, this book has rafts of relevant tidbits which will help you improve your game. Although poker strategy evolves, the mindset, habits of playing solid poker have not.
A total of 144 elements of poker, each of which can add the pieces of your poker game puzzle together and get your playing better poker.
“Bliscipline,” is a term coined by Angelo: a combination of bliss and discipline: “when you are at the table and you are so totally in control of yourself and so totally at peace in the situation that no matter what happens next, you’ll still have plenty of resolve in reserve.”
‘Bliscipline’ describes exactly what reading and applying this book will bring to your game.
This book is a great supplement for the topics covered in the Mental Game Of Poker as it covers tilt and managing emotions from a slightly different perspective.
Check out the Two Plus Two thread on Elements of Poker.
This book is unlike any other poker book you’ll read. It is not about a particular game or how to play certain cards. It is mostly about limiting your time in what Tommy calls your “C-game”. I know a guy who says, “I don’t need to read any more poker books; I already know how to play better than I do.” Elements of Poker was written with this guy in mind.
Tommy Angelo gives you credit for having a winning A-game. His point is that every minute you spend playing your C-game is costing you a tonne compared to spending that minute in your A-game. I certainly know that if I played my A-game 100% of the time, I would be a substantially better player. Tommy’s book has helped me get closer to 100% A-game; I suspect it can do that for most people.
Look, serious poker players don’t talk about Elements of Poker much because, well, they’d just as soon play against your C-game than against your A-game. But I promise you that the best serious players have this book and review it often, particularly when things aren’t going well.
Read Elements of Poker and watch your C-game diminish from your life. It never leaves completely, unfortunately, but Tommy Angelo can help you keep it mostly behind you.
And a more critical review:
This book is a little dated but does contain a lot of practical poker/life skills that are useful. His take on table and seat selection is important a bit more in depth than most other material.
I wouldn’t expect any in-depth strategic information from this book, it contains more of the more subtle skills and ideas required to be a winning player.
I had been playing poker for a couple of years when I read this and found it very useful.
Recommended for the beginner to intermediate.
Tommy Angelo discussed some of the concepts from the book in the video below:
Jared’s second book follows along the same lines as his first but goes into some of the other mental game issues – most importantly playing in the zone.
For those of who are unfamiliar with the zone, it is the “flow like state” that you get into when doing something you enjoy that seems to allow decisions to come to you automatically without conscious thought. If you can get into the zone while playing poker regularly, it’s very powerful.
And if you can implement the tips in these books, you will take your mental game to the next level, no matter how good you think your mental game is today. I can guarantee that.
Here is a positive review from amazon.
I don’t post reviews for books often but I had to do that for this book. it has been the best poker book I’ve read in the last several years. Here is what I posted:
I play poker semi-professionally and this book gave me insights that can truly take my game to the next level. if you are playing poker and have been stuck at the same level for a while or want to read a book that can help you dramatically improve your game then this is the book for you.
Before reading this book, I would recommend the MGOP 1, but it is not required.
Here is a video which contains more information on this poker book:
Jonathan Little is the Author of many great poker books, and this is another one that you should consider getting your hands on if you are trying to tackle tournaments. This book isn’t very theoretical or “GTO” focused but more so looking at how to evaluate and characterize your opponents into the three many categories that play small stakes tournaments, and then how to adjust to each of these styles. The three main categories are:
- those who play to passively
- those who play too aggressively
- those who play roughly the right amount of hands in an intelligent manner.
The book then offers a list of strategies that adjustments that you can make against each of these players types. At 84 pages, the book is a little on the thin side and doesn’t offer the level of depth that one might expect from a hardcore tournaments book. So this book will be well received by those starting with this Texas Hold’em type.
And a positive Amazon review:
Jonathan concisely spells out his basic approach for staying ahead of the competition in tournaments. His suggestions provide a flexible and adaptive method for meeting the challenges of reading other player’s styles, finding their weaknesses and exploiting them in order to improve your game. I’ve been watching his webinars for a little over a year now and my win rate and confidence in my game have both skyrocketed. I was stuck as a small winner at small stakes games until I started learning from Jonathan Little, but I’m winning more and moving up to higher stakes now! Everything he spells out in this book is consistent with what he teaches online and can improve your game.
And a negative review:
A very short book with large print and lots of white space. Very disappointing and not worth it. It talks about exploitative strategies when you know your opponents tendencies really well. Something that rarely happens in a small tournament. Save your money!
Another book which really helped me improve my poker game. I’d go as far as saying, this book actually changed the way I think about the game completely.
I read this book at least 5 times and have gone back to test, change and test again the hand ranges and examples Matthew gives in the book.
I definitely think this book is underrated on Amazon, but that’s just my opinion.
This book is written for advanced players so if you are brand new to the game I wouldn’t recommend you dive into this one just yet. Bookmark and come back to it later.
Matthew discusses the important subject of how to ‘balance your range‘ which might seem useless to some.
But the benefit is knowing how to balance a range is knowing how to attack someone who doesn’t have a balanced range (99% of all other players).
So this teaches you how to best target and exploit other opponents which are essentially the crux of poker.
I refer to this book as my poker bible and plan to read it again soon as a refresher. Unfortunately, my paperback has seen a bit too much reading:
For anyone who has any aspirations of moving up to small stakes and above, make sure you check this book out.
“I’ve read over 20 books on poker over the years. I’ve been quite impressed with the quality of poker books recently, compared to several years ago.
This book would be in my top two favourites and most useful poker books, with the other one being Will Tipton’s “Expert Heads Up No-Limit Holdem”.
His discussion on how to reason balancing has been vital to me. Also, I’ve found a major leak in my game when playing out-of-position. I’m generally a very aggressive player and almost always prefer betting out monster hands instead of trapping since it grows the pot. I think a common rookie mistake is to get too sneaky-trappy, resulting in smaller pots than monster hands deserve. In general, my choice of aggression vs. trappy has worked out to my advantage.”
And a negative one:
The book should one of the first pages clearly state that the approach is an approximation and the results should not be used.
As a theoretical book, it is very poorly written. If it was sold as a non-theoretical book I would give it 2 stars.
The top poker players make lots of approximations in every single hand. How would they know how many hands an opponent may be holding, or what they will do with their hands? They use past experience to APPROXIMATE what they will do.
Approximations aren’t perfect, and the better your approximations, the more money you will make.
So, if you are a reasonably experienced poker player, do yourself a favour and improve your approximations by reading this book 🙂
With the wide availability of training sites, training software, books, forums etc, you can be caught jumping from one thing to the next trying to find the right material to study. But knowing how to study is almost (if not more) important than knowing what to study.
While this book will not teach you how to become better at poker directly, it will, however, teach you how to develop a study plan and how to teach yourself to become a better player.
Purposeful practice provides a framework for studying poker: starting with developing the right mindset, to study techniques and templates, all the way to using poker software and playing at the final table. This is a blueprint for how to should go about improving your game.
The book includes many example of “learning projects” which you could directly undertake for your game or you can use the material to help develop custom projects for yourself.
If you are a new player I wouldn’t recommend this book, but if you are an experience player who is spending a lot of time improving your game, it will be a great addition to your book collection!
Here is a positive Amazon review:
This is the difference between champions and wannabes . . . . how they practice before the big game! Dr. Cardner and Gareth James help you break it down step by step, on putting together a systematic action plan that helps you improve the various facets of your game. I love their honesty that to get good you need to work at your game, when you are not at the table. Practice more, and with a definite purpose, (not just randomly blowing through yet another poker book), and when you do play, you will start to see more pots coming your way! Gotta go! It’s practice time!
And a negative review:
The quick and easy-This book will not teach you how to be better at poker. It will give guidelines on how you should study poker to give yourself a better chance of retaining what you learn or practice. Not a good choice if you are new to poker. Possibly a great choice if you have a lot of experience with online poker and but cannot seem to go up in stakes.
Poker tells have always been a touchy subject – online poker players are not exposed to many of the classic poker tells that live poker players embrace. On the other hand, live poker players often over-rely on tells and try to put their opponent on a single hand, as opposed to a range.
However, there is, of course, a lot of merit to reading into your opponents tells, and online poker players have a lot of catching up to do on this front. This is where Reading Poker Tells by Zachary Elwood comes in – both for online to Live converts and the live player who needs to improve their tells game.
This book is a comprehensive guide to poker tells and is the most well-renowned book on this subject and also comes highly recommended from me. I wrote a list of tells which you can find here, but this book takes that to the next level with over 200 pages of content not only on the most common tells you can use to read your opponent but how to protect yourself from giving off the same information.
As Zachery describes it in the prologue of this book, this book will not provide you with hard and fast rules but instead the tools and methods to interpret your opponent’s movements and actions on the table. But these tools must be put to practice (just like any skill) so you can make the most of them on the table.
Don’t expect a single read of this book without any further work to bring amazing results. Amazing results require time, practice and concerted effort but with this book, you will have a guide and excellent resource to follow. This will allow you to improve the reading of your opponents tells a rate much quicker than if you had not dove in.
Here is a very positive review.
And a negative one:
I disagree with this reviewer sentiment. Everything in poker is true unless it’s not true; it’s like asking “is your opponent bluffing or value betting in this spot?” expecting him to only have a single hand when in fact he has a range of hands. You will of course see tells that are not 100% reliable but being informed on these tells, understanding that they aren’t always reliable, and being able to make an educated verdict based on this will greatly help you improve your decision making process and bottom line. Pick Up This Book On Amazon Listen To This Book On Audible
Excellent book by Ed Miller who is a renowned poker author. Everything you need to know to beat the small stakes no limits cash games are contained in this book. It has been described as the ultimate poker handbook.
This book uses real-world hand examples to help translate high-level poker theory into easily understandable strategies that you can apply to your poker game.
It has been described as the ultimate poker handbook which “outlines a powerful path to success”.
This book uses real-world hand examples to help translate high-level poker theory into easily understandable strategies that you can apply to your poker game.
Find out the 7 easy steps to No Limit Holdem success, how to deal with aggressive players, and how to maximally exploit the weaker players.
Some other content covered:
- Making decisions using steal equity and showdown equity
- Beating online 6-max games
- Determining optimal bluff sizes and planning big bluffs
- Balancing your lines of play to maximize deception
Here is a review from Amazon:
This was my first and favourite poker strategy book. An absolute goldmine of information and ideas. I’ve been a recreational player for about 5 years and found something to highlight on pretty much every page I turned. Excellent informative insight, well written and easy to understand. only 6.25 on Kindle as well…. it really is a no-brainer.
And a 3-star negative review:
Will probably hurt your live game rather than help it. They postulate that if you can win at six handed online, you can crush live games. Bad hypothesis. The statistics are all different for live 10 handed play. They devote a chapter to stealing binds that would be reckless if tried in a cash ten-handed game. And their barreling advice is also reckless in a cash game.
Competent players will realise that if you play 6max there will be some adjustments when playing full-ring live games. However, the skills learned in 6max will be directly applied to full-ring live games.
The author isn’t suggesting you apply everything no matter what game type. That point seems to be missed with this review.
I would recommend this book for intermediate to advanced players.
Note: You seem to be able to pick up the kindle version for a fraction of the price of the hardback right now ($35 vs $8 at the time of writing) – a great deal for anyone that doesn’t mind not having the paper copy.
Excellent poker book rated 4/5 on Amazon for its in-depth cash game poker strategy.
Jonathan little started out small with only a $50 online bankroll. But he has since amassed over $6.4 million dollars in tournament winnings over his career.
Discover the pitfalls and common mistakes along with winning strategies that allow you to target your weaker foe.
Find out how to stop blaming bad luck and learn the real secret to dominating No Limit Hold’em games.
Just finished reading Jonathan Little newest book: “Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Cash Games,” and it’s going to be a huge seller, so congratulations on two accomplishments this month. Happy Birthday and continued successes with your outstanding books. (A must get everyone).
Some of my clients have asked what I liked the best about the book: I loved the “postflop skills discussion,” the reminder everyone needs about “blocker hands,” and especially how to extract more value from certain type players on the river. Johnathan answers the questions you have on your mind playing the 1/2 NL stakes and the kindle version (e-book version), is only 77 pages of pure poker content and sound advice to convince you to “observe,” “execute” and “profit,” even at the Small Stakes Cash Games.
And a negative one:
The book is not worth the hype. Strategies are all pointing to one answer – “IT DEPENDS”! I would not buy something to get an answer – IT DEPENDS. The author may be a great tournament player but have fairly limited low stack cash game IQ and experience
Unfortunately, I don’t think the reviewer is going to find poker books which provide them with the answers they are trying to find.
The truth is each decision in poker does depend on a myriad of factors. But what good poker books teach us is how to think at each decision point, not when ‘x’ do ‘y’. Not even a computer has enough memory for all the different xs and ys.
If you’re looking for definitive answers for how to play poker, don’t buy this poker book (or any poker book for that matter).
If you’re looking to improve your game, this should be one of the books at the top of your list.
The three authors of Lee Nelson, Tysen Streib, and Kim Lee, penned this book back in 2009 with the aim of how to tackle tournaments and sit-n-go’s. Although this book is over 10 years old, it is still known as one of the greats of the tournament poker literature.
Kill Everyone offers a wide range of strategies for both live and online tournaments which are still relevant in today’s game. For example, the concept of Power Numbers which is thought in this book is an easy way to compress all the difficult to remember push/fold charts that are required for success in tournaments down into a single chart.
Other topics such as bubble factor (how the value of chips changes near the bubble of a tournament) and ICM are introduced in this book and still important concepts that every good tournament player must understand and put to use in today’s games. My recommendation is that this is a must-read for all tournament players!
And a positive Amazon review:
This book is a great insight into the modern poker game. The author (Lee Nelson) and his team have put together a truly remarkable work that even seasoned players can benefit from. The commentary from Betrand Grospellier isn’t simply a bunch of “I agree” he actually does disagree with Nelson on some points and always provides details on why he either agrees or disagrees.
This book will show you how and more importantly WHEN to up your aggression, widen your hand range, or even lighten up. More geared towards tournament players, even cash gamers can benefit from the knowledge. While the book shows you loose-aggressive play, even players uncomfortable with this style should still read this book to gain insight into how OTHERS are playing. There is also a section towards the end on conditioning and fitness (who woulda thought you needed to be fit to sit on your butt all day) for long tourneys (some events last for 4-5 days playing 8-10 hours a day). Diet and exercise are important for long term mental function and the author lays out a basic guideline to get you started. All in all, definitely worth it to read, you’ll make your money back on it.
And a negative review:
A few interesting ideas but mostly a rewording of common tournament concepts. Adding in the six-max cash game section must have been needed to get enough pages to make a book!
This book apparently teaches you how to play poker like the top 1% of players and get rid of the “long losing streaks”; however, I am skeptical.
Firstly, a single book will never teach you to play like the pros. A book might help you get there but it won’t do it alone. So I am at odds with the subtitle. Further, I don’t agree that you can get rid of long losing streaks, as is suggested in the Amazon sales pitch.
Losing streaks are a part of playing poker – even the pros face long and grueling losing streaks, hence the reasons for a rigorous bankroll management strategy. This book also appears to be geared towards beginners, which is fine, but advertise it as such and don’t sell false promises of miracle strategies that will turn you into a pro.
As for the actual content of the book, the basics and some intermediate strategies are covered such as player profiling, poker tells, betting & calling, ranging your opponent and more. However, the lack of a game-theoretical approach to the game is evident which is critical the modern-day “top 1% play”. The book has received quite a few positive reviews such as this:
Poker for me is confounding. The objective of the game is to win the pot of money. Practically everybody plays poker it’s simply an issue of how fortunate you are or how great you are on foreseeing on the off chance that you will win or lose.
Reading this book, you will get guidelines on the diverse sorts of hands poker has and which suit beats different mixes. You will take in the procedure of playing distinctive card blends.
Basic tips and rules are explained in this book step by step. So on the off chance that you are keen on turning into a Poker expert you have to peruse this book. Especially it’s recommended to the beginners.
But are contrasted with the strongly negative ones such as this:
This book is nothing but regurgitated material from other poker books. It tells you basic to intermediate strategy without getting too far into details. I read the book in less than 2 hours. I own over 100 poker books and this is definitely in the bottom 10%. The book is 137 pages and the author uses really big font to stretch it to that many.
If you are a fresh beginner MAYBE this book would be useful. But if you are trying to be part of the top 1% as the title claims, this is a total waste of time and a piece of trash.
Poorly written, poorly presented, not useful for any poker player unless you’re 14 and you’ve never heard of poker and even then don’t follow the advice. The writing is so bad that the language actually tells you to do the opposite of what’s being advocated.
If you still feel like it, you can find this book on Amazon using the links below:
One of the series of three books in the series by Mike Turner clearly detailing how to play Sit ‘n Gos aimed specifically at low stakes.
Not a book for the complete beginner as it is assumed that you know some basic maths and such as pot odds, implied odds and position.
Even if you aren’t a Sit ‘n Go player this book cans till help you out as a proportion of the material will be directly transferable to cash games and tournaments.
Here is an Amazon review:
I’ve played poker for a long time socially and have always enjoyed watching it on TV but I’ve never really been the type of player that plays above the basic level of thinking i.e. “what is my hand?”.
It amazes that so many of the world’s top players make the final tables time and time again so I decided to invest a little bit of money and open a new account to play online.
Mike Turner breaks down the skill set required to play in lower stakes ($10-$12) Sit n Go tournaments and offers some really insightful information and points us toward some really useful tools that we can use to our advantage. He also introduced the concept of ICM during tournaments to me (I’d never heard of it before).
A lot of the hints and tips in here were a revelation to me, and I now find myself better informed to read other players at the table and finishing in the money more often than not. I am now making plays based on the pot odds being offered to me weighed up against the chances my hand is good.
My only gripe, and its only slight, so it doesn’t impact on my rating, is that at times this book feels like a sign posting bible, pointing you here and there for more information (usually at a cost of subscription).
And a 3-star review:
The strategies charts and maths within will give new players a very decent, succinct and easy to follow basic how-to which is what the book offers and delivers for a small price. The small price does mean an understandable and expected lack of content. 3 rather than 4 stars purely for the reason that with a little bit more effort everything within can be found with a couple of Google searches.
This book is mostly for players starting out with Sit ‘n Gos. The primary benefit of a book is that the material is organised in a linear manner which makes learning so much easier.
While google searching is free, you can miss out on some important information and it can be sometimes difficult to find a reliable source.
If you are a more advanced player I wouldn’t recommend this book for you.
This FAQ styled book was only recently released by Splitsuit which is subtitled: Advanced Answers To The Most Frequently-Asked Poker Questions.
If you are yet to come across Splitsuit, you should know he is an expert poker coach who has released tons of content over the years which you can check out on his website Splitsuit.com.
His content greatly helped me out in my early days of poker so I couldn’t recommend his work enough.
Splitsuit wrote this book in front of a live audience on Skype where questions were expertly selected and answered with input from the audience. So these FAQs were created by micro and low stakes players who couldn’t get the answers anywhere else.
The questions answered include, “Making Money in tight games”, “When do I hold or fold overpairs”, “How to use my table image” and “Hand reading in fishy games” plus loads extra. What I really like about this book is that it is very easy to read and digest.
All of the content is broken down into short chapters so you can pick up the book for 20 minutes, digest some good poker content and then pick it up again a few days later. This is in contrast to the Mathematics of Poker (MOP) (Amazon link) which is so heavy in math and theory that you need to focus on every single word and sometimes re-read the same page 3 times!
I’m no slouch with math, I am currently studying a PhD in Engineering. Note: unfolding poker is primarily aimed towards beginners. So it will probably be too basic for someone who is been around the poker block.
If you’re not sold yet, here is a positive Amazon review:
Poker’s 1% is a book by Ed Miller published in 2014 and has been turned into a video course by SplitSuit. The whole premise behind the book is looking at the game of poker from a frequencies perspective and determining somewhat optimal percentages for folding/calling/raising.
Since 2014, this concept has become ever more important with the move towards more GTO/unexploitbale play. However, a number of reviews felt that this book was lacking in overall depth, was outdated and in some cases misleading. For example:
Some of the concepts in this book still hold, however many have been disproved with modern solvers and will result in you losing money at the tables, over calling bets in many spots, and also over betting resulting in losing pots. The main issue is the frequencies for betting/calling don’t factor the board texture into account and so will give you blanket rules on how often you should be betting/calling regardless of what the board looks like. This was a great book at the initial time of publishing where the author gave his gut feeling on what may be optimal (before the advent of solvers where this could actually be investigated), however he was quite far off the mark with lots of the strategies. I would give this a miss and if you want a GTO book which is more aligned to modern theory/dynamics go with something like ‘Modern Poker Theory’ by Michael Acevedo.
Overly Simplistic, Misleading, Dangerous and just straight up incorrect in a lot of areas/details.
Ed uses a one size fits all approach to his strategy and makes no mention of adjusting this strategy based on other factors, with the most important one being board texture. He just blindly advises readers to maintain the same frequencies across all board textures.
I tend to agree with the reviewers with many of their points. This overall sentiment is reflected in the Amazon rating which has been getting progressively worse as a greater understanding of the game has been developed from solvers.
If you would like to understand and implement a frequency based game, I would suggest that you give this book a miss and instead look into the video course on the same topic by Splitsuit. This course covers this content in a lot more detail and doesn’t fall into many of the same traps that this book does. If you still want to check it out, feel free to do so from here:
Nathan Williams, the all-time biggest microstakes winner, wrote a step-by-step guide which shows how to crush the 2nl and 5nl games.
Unfortunately, it is not available on Amazon, so no Amazon review. But my rating is 4/5!
Even years later, this book still provides a done for you strategy which explains how you can follow in the footsteps the biggest winner at the micros.
If you are only just starting out as a poker player, I truly think this is one of the best investments you can make.
Here is the Two Plus Two poker thread on the book and a review from a WSOP bracelet winner:
You can pick it up the ebook over at Nathan’s ‘Blackrain79’ blog here: Crushing the Microstakes.
Get HowToPlayPokerInfo’s Poker Book For Free?
Want to get our poker guide for free? This simple guide to poker will take you through the basics of the game and provide you with tips specifically designed for the Zynga play money games and low stakes home games! It will also be useful for beginners who are starting with micro stakes online poker. Use the unlock button below to get instant access:
Thank you! Get the poker book here https://howtoplaypokerinfo.com/guide
Your Best Poker Books?
So there we are, the best poker books 2020 has given you a list of some of the most influential books to date.
Read up and let us know what you think!
Are there any poker books I have left out? Or do you disagree?
Let us know below.
If you like this best poker books post, you might like our post on the best poker training sites.
Good luck at the tables!
Note: HowToPlayPokerInfo may earn an affiliate commission through some of the recommendations in this post (at no extra cost to you).
Frequently asked questions
Will reading poker books help my game?
Reading poker books is one very effective way you can go about improving your poker game. Poker books contain structured content that is tailored towards players of a particular skill level. This means it is much easier for you to learn when compared to finding information from various sources across the internet.
You just have to make sure to find a book for your skill level!
Other than reading poker books, I find that poker training sites which provided structured content such as poker courses are very helpful. But books are a cheap way to improve your poker game in a time effective manner once you are willing to study the book and not just give it a quick read!
What is the best cash game poker book?
The best cash game poker book according to my list from amazon is Master Micro Stakes Poker by Alton Hardin. This book is a great beginner’s introduction to cash games aimed at the microstakes and is the mostly highly rated book on my list.
For more experienced cash game players, I would suggest Modern Poker Theory or Applications Of No Limit Holdem as these are both great books which provide you with a solid theoretical approach for cash games.
What is the best tournament poker book?
Out of our list of the best tournament books, ranked #1 is Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em by Jonathan Little . This book takes insights from 17 of the top poker pros from around the world and compresses them into one book.
For a ground up approach to tournaments, I suggest Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments.
What are the best poker books for beginners?
One of the best poker books for beginners is Master Micro Stakes Poker. This book is a great beginner’s introduction to cash games aimed at the microstakes and is the mostly highly rated book on my list.
For tournaments, I suggest Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments which will teach you the basics types of the opponents and how to combat each of them!
What are the best poker books for online play?
For online play, I recommend more math and theory based books such as Modern Poker Theory and Applications Of No Limit Holdem as these books provide a solid foundation into how you should approach the game from a theoretical standpoint. Both of these books are suited to either tournament or cash game players.
What are the best books on poker tells?
There are two main books which I recommend for those who are looking to improve their poker tell reading ability. The first is Reading Poker Tells by Zachery Elwood which provides a comprehensive view of both spotting tells and the adjustments to make based on this information.
Mike Caro’s Book of Tells is another option which is somewhat more dated than the first option, albeit still very helpful.
What are the top books for learning GTO (game theory optimal) play?
For learning GTO based play, my go to book is Modern Poker Theory which teaches you the how to construct ranges that are balanced and have board coverage, how to use modern poker solvers, and apply GTO concepts to multiway scenarios.
Another book which helped me understand GTO more more comprehensively was Applications Of No Limit Holdem and is one I still go back and read regularly for refreshers.
What poker book is best for learning to beat the microstakes?
For learning to beat the microstakes, I recommend Master Micro Stakes Poker by Alton Hardin which gives you a step by step guide to beating the micro games. It also comes with a 17 hour videos series so is fantastic value.
Crushing the Microstakes by Blackrain is another book that I recommend which provides enormous value to new players starting out on the microstakes journey!
What are the best free poker books?
The best free poker book that I have come across is Polished Poker by John Anhalt . This book is a 175 page resource which covers everything from terminology to playing from the blinds to betting and bluffing.
Blackrain also provides a great free resource called Massive Profit at the Micros
My free poker book called crushing the Zynga games Crush The Zynga & Home Games is also a helpful resource.
What are the best poker books available on kindle?
Nearly all of the poker books that can be found on amazon are also available on kindle. For the best list of these, check out our table here for the best kindle books on amazon.
What are the best books audio poker books available on audible?
Not all poker books can be listed to on audible, however, a lot of them can. Check out our list of books which can be listened to on audible. If you have yet to sign up to audible, you can listen to the first one for free!
What are the best mindset and psychology books?
My favorite mindset and psychology book is The Mental Game Of Poker By Jared Tendler which helped me play the my “A-game” more often and tilt less when on the felt.
Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo is also an excellent choice for improving your perspective and outlook on poker.
Find our full list of review poker books on mindset and psychology here.
Is the Supersystem by Doyle Brunson still relevant?
In 2003 when this book was released, it was a gamechanger for the poker scene. However, poker has moved on a lot in the 17 years since it’s release. That’s not to say that you won’t learn a lot from it, there are still some key nuggets of information and the book is an interesting read in itself despite being dated. However, we would recommend that you check out our full list of poker books for beginners for more up to date and comprehensive poker information.
Last Updated: 14th May 2020