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Which poker books are worth your attention

January 23, 2011 6 comments

As most people reading this blog are beginners, I decided to make a list of all the poker books that I have read and which I think you should know of.

Some people say that reading poker books is unnecessary, and that all you really need to play poker well  is a combination of experience and hand analysis with the help of other poker players. I agree that you don’t need to read any books on poker — providing you do justice to hand analysis. But I do think that it can give you some extra edge, even if just a few percent. Reading these books will most certainly open up your mind to new possibilities and teach your mind to think unconventionally, which is always useful when for a poker player.

I have divided the books into categories, based on the different types of poker you may choose to play.


For Starters:

  • Getting Started in Hold Em by Ed Miller. A fantastic little book, well-written and engaging. A great ready for anyone completely new to poker, who would like a quick introduction to the game, the basic strategies and concepts, such as pre-flop hand valuation, domination, betting for value, protecting your hand, semi-bluffing, pot equity, and much more. Any micros player should definitely give it a shot.
  • The Little Green Book by Phil Gordon and H. Lederer. As the name suggest, the book is small and green. Just as the one above, it is a great introduction with many basic concepts explained. If you have to pick, go with the first book. If you can, get both. A very good read.


Poker Math:

  • Poker Math Made Easy by Roy Rounder. A simple and short book explaining the basic mathematical concepts found in poker. As far as I know this book is free, so click the link and read it.


No-Limit Hold ‘Em:

  • Harrington on Online Cash Games; 6-Max No-Limit Hold’em by Dan Harrington. An excellent resource for anyone starting out in online No-Limit Hold ‘Em. Deals with aggression, stack size consideration, using poker software to help you gain a huge edge on your opponents, and much more.
  • Veneer’s beating the micros e-book. An excellent, free book, written by one of the instructors at the reputable poker school, Card Runners. Intended for micro stakes players. Extremely valuable information from a very skilled player.


Limit Hold ‘Em:

  • Small Stakes Hold ‘Em – Winning Big With Expert Play by Miller, Sklansky and Malmuth. The bible of beginner/intermediate Limit Hold ‘Em players. If you have $16 to spare, go for it.
  • Holdem For Advanced Players by Sklansky and Malmuth. This book is intended for the slightly more advanced Limit players. I strongly recommend you read the “Small Stakes Hold ‘Em” title described above before reading this one. Get both books if possible.


Tournaments:

  • Harrington on Hold ‘Em Vol. 1, 2, 3 by Dan Harrington. The best series of books for any tournament player. Volume 1 talks about general tournament strategy, vol. 2 talks about the later stages of a tournament, and vol. 3 is a workbook with a set of exercises to test your understanding of the data presented in vol. 1 & 2. I don’t know a single serious tournament player who hasn’t read these books, even if just for fun. Note that these books will benefit cash games players greatly, as it gives a deep insight into the proper way of doing hand analysis.
  • Poker Tournament Strategies by Sylvester Suzuki. Aimed at tournament beginners, it talks about the strategies you can employ in small-buyin tournaments, both those allowing re-buys and those that don’t. It also contains a lot of useful advice about transitioning to higher buy-in tournaments.


Omaha:

  • Pot Limit Omaha: The Big Play Strategy by Jeff Hwang. A great resource for Pot Limit Omaha beginners. should be your first choice if you are starting out in the game. Received tons of positive reviews from fellow poker players.
  • High Low Split Poker, Seven-Card stud & Omaha by Ray Zee. Talks about strategy in Omaha Eight-or-Better. The book was intended for people who already have a solid grasp of the basics of Omaha 8ob.


For Everyone:

  • Theory of Poker by Sklansky. The poker bible. No matter what your game of choice is, this book will help you greatly. Explores subjects such as pot odds, fundamental theorems, ante structures, effective odds, mathematical expectations and hourly rate, the value of deception, the semi-bluff, the free card, the psychology of poker, analysis at the table, and many more (these are all chapter names from within the book by the way, and there are 25 chapters total). An unconditional read.
  • The Poker Mindset: Essential Attitudes for Poker Success by Hilger. The best book out there dealing exclusively with the psychological aspects of playing poker. Tilt control, distancing yourself from the game, keeping your ego at bay, handling bad beats and downswings, and more. An excellent resource and well written, too.


Live Poker:

  • Caro’s Book of Poker Tells by Mike Caro.  The best resource on learning how to read your opponents at a poker table. Virtually every conceivable poker tell is described in this book. Even if you don’t care about reading body language and signals, you should still read it — since many people have read it and will be trying to get reads on you based on that information from the book, knowing the rules will allow you to deceive your opponents with false tells.

Always remember though: no book will ever be a substitute for reading and participating in quality poker forums, such as 2+2 or Liquidpoker.

If you know some other books, please let me know in the poker and tell me what you learned from them.

Good Luck.

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