Top 5 Poker Books

9 July 2008, Created By:
Top 5 Poker Books
If you are reading this, chances are you're literate ... and you like poker!

Well then, this is the perfect guide for you - just a soupçon of the varied world of poker literature out there for the discerning player - and by that I mean you - to read. Some of it is strategic, some of it just anecdotal, but all of these books are worth getting hold of.

Here's my top 5 poker books. Read on ...

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5) Super/System - Bobby Baldwin. As well, perhaps the most amusing section of the book, the Draw poker guide, was written by a crazy, anarchic but very funny Mike Caro.

Super/System deserves to be read by all poker players. If you haven't done so already, you should grab a copy of this slice of poker history immediately!

4) Education of a Poker Player - Herbert Yardley

You've probably caught the odd gut-shot in your time; maybe you've caught a one-outer while at the felt.

But have you ever caught a spy while playing poker?

I doubt it ... but Herbert Yardley did!

Education of a Poker Player
is a mix of strategy tips and related anecdotes blended together to make a fascinating read about the life of Yardley, who as well as being an expert player in his day, was also employed by government agencies for his skills at code-breaking.

Although much of the actual poker advice is a little tight and often relates to almost-extinct variants of poker, Yardley's stories will take you on a stunning journey through a kaleidoscope of exotic locales as he travels the world playing high-stakes poker games.

This is one of the poker books that has stood the test of time. Get a copy today and you won't be disappointed.

3) Texas Hold 'Em: Tournaments, Cash Games and Embarrassing Social Gas - Tony Korfman

Tony Korfman
A profane genius

A relative newcomer to the poker literary scene, Korfman has produced probably the funniest book you will ever read about poker.

As soon as you read the words "endorsed by ninjas" on the front cover, you will be made aware that something strange is afoot and this will become even more apparent you work your way through the bile-fueled, bitter, scathingly funny prose that Korfman passes off as sound poker strategy advice.

Every chapter has laugh-out-loud moments as the runner-up in last year's $1,000 WSOP Seniors event leaves no stone unmocked, seemingly seeking to ridicule the entire poker world.

Not one for the faint of heart, Korfman's style can prove a little offensive to those of a sensitive disposition, due to the regular profanities that pepper the chapters, but if you are made of sterner stuff and have a dark sense of humour, buy this immediately. You'll have a ball reading it.

2) How To Cheat your Friends at Poker - Penn Jillette and Mickey D. Lynn

With a politically incorrect title like this, you may be gun-shy about trying out this book, but the title is deceptive, and this is actually a little gem.

Jillette, credited with the book, is actually ghost writing for an old acquaintance to whom he owed a favor. He's repaid his debt in full, detailing the compulsive, sometimes amoral world his hustler friend lived in, where making a living hustling home poker games using whatever edge he can is the goal.

The author also details the actual cheating of these poker games, although you would need to be a highly skilled card mechanic to employ the bulk of the advice. The real attraction of the book is the various stories this old-style, gun-slinging hustler tells as he scams his way through the heart of America.

Once you read how much you have to give up of your soul to be a hustler, you will be very unlikely to choose this route as a career path, although the vicarious thrill you'll get reading the tales is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat till the end of the book.

1) Harrington on Hold 'Em Series - Dan Harrington

Dan Harrington
Back-to-back Main Event finals? Maybe tight is right?

As soon as this series was released, it was hailed as the finest collection of poker strategy books to be written. Harrington talks the reader through many concepts in poker strategy in great detail, from the viewpoint of a classic tight-aggressive player.

Though sometimes gently chided as being an overly tight player, hence his ironic nickname, Action Dan, Harrington has created a great resource for beginners to learn about poker, and many intermediate players would benefit from taking on board the advice of the man who's won $6,500,000 in tournament winnings.

Buy it, read it, and you'll make the money you invested in the book back in next to no time.


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This is a really brief listing of some of the great poker literature out there. I haven't mentioned Sklanksy's many seminal works on poker theory, and I haven't yet warned you off Bad Girls Guide to Poker, which is as awful a book as the title suggests it might be.

Get your feet wet by trying some of these out. You might find your poker improves, but even if it doesn't, you'll have a great time delving into these unique authors as they take a look at poker from some unusual perspectives.


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Roman P 2009-08-26 04:22:00

To be fair charlie, the blog is called top 5 poker books, not ''fresh obscure list of books you don't need to know about''. If you were already were familiar with all the top books out there, why would you be suprised to see them on the list?

You say the blog doesn't interest you at all yet you take time out of your life to comment on it.

I for one enjoyed this as am comparing many peoples lists of the top 5 books to see which ones make all of them (if any), as they will clearly be the best ones available.

Now you have just openly insulted someone who has done nothing to offend you, I think you are the one who needs to grow up, ''junior''.

Rod Stirzaker 2008-07-11 06:14:00

I wasn't trying to upset you Charlie!

I'm glad you read the blogs even if you didn't like that one.

If you have any poker books you think I missed out, and there are lots of good ones out there, I'd be interested to hear about them.

TOPFAP is probably the main one I didn't include and it is a very useful read in my eyes. Glove compartments, rampant rabbits and scandal aside, David Sklansky is an important figure in poker literary history.

PS Thanks for calling me Jr. You da man!

charlie 2008-07-11 02:35:00

No problem your comment shows us how much of a pro you are no class at all-grow up jr just told you the truth.

Rod Stirzaker 2008-07-11 00:08:00

Thanks for the comments guys.

Yarm, I look forward to reading your book: "Bad Beat Stories Of My Life - Always On One Of The Two Rivers." Keep the beats coming. The first one does sound a bit sick. The second one, well it's a coin flip isn't it. Not so bad. Play well and you'll beat the game.

Charlie - thanks for the advice, I always enjoy an oxymoronic insult. Hope you enjoy the next blog more!

Wilco 2008-07-10 17:12:00

Dude, you're going to have many worse beats than losing to queens with aces. In fact, if that's going to get you upset, you should probably stop playing poker right about now.

Also, your second post... doesn't make any sense... at all.

yARM HERDLES 2008-07-10 14:44:00

forgot to mention was an ace on the flop too.

another time got all in with pocket sevens. tightest player at the table too. know who calls me thats right ace jack. how do you play that. jack on the turn. seven on the river jack on the river. Ho'ws that for a bad beat?

Yarm Herdles 2008-07-10 14:41:00

Ive taken so many bad beats could write a book. Never had to wirte em down either i remeeber them all. aces cracked by queens kings cracked by jacks pokers been bad to me. could have been doyle brunson if id had his luck.

just last night was playin in a cash game. flopped a set of jacks. guy calls me with a pair of tens. queen on the turn ace on the river bam out $35 dollars. hows that for a bad beat?



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