Great Poker Reads: 13 of the Best Poker Books Ever Written

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Does Poker Brat make the cut? You tell us.

If you choose to play winning poker, you'll have to rededicate yourself to that goal throughout your life.

You can't ever let your game become stale.

The minute you think you know it all is the minute you will switch to a losing player's mindset. Poker is a game that takes a lifetime to master; there is always more information out there that can make you a better player.

Books are a great resource to help you strengthen your skills. There are thousands of books written on the subject of poker and almost all of them will be able to teach you something.

Here are my picks for the best poker books - and not just books dedicated to strategy.

Top 13 Poker Books

best poker books
David Sklansky

1) Theory of Poker

Author: David Sklansky

This is the book that started it all, in a way. Two Plus Two Publishing is the biggest and best publishing company when it comes to poker- and gambling-related literature.

This book showcases many strategies and theories that had never been put to paper before. A must-read for any novice to intermediate poker player.

2) Harrington on Hold 'em: Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments volumes I-II

Author: Dan Harrington

The two best books ever written on tournament poker, by "Action Dan" himself. Learn how to play all the different stages of the tournament and how to adjust your play for each blind level.

Dan goes into incredible detail with strategies that made him the successful tournament player that he is.

3) Small Stakes Hold'em

Authors: Edward Miller, Mason Malmuth and David Sklansky

This is a book about Limit Hold'em that even a No-Limit player can benefit from. One of the most complete texts ever written for crushing low-stakes Hold'em this book will teach you the fundamentals to play any game and give you the tools to win.

4) Getting Started in Hold'em

Author: Edward Miller

This beginner book will teach you the fundamental building blocks that any solid game is built on. It is not advanced but should be the starting point for any new player wanting to learn Texas Hold'em.

great poker books
Gus Hansen

5) Sit-and-Go Strategy: Expert Advice for Beating One-Table Poker Tournaments

Author: Collin Moshman

This is the best book on sit-and-go play ever written. If you play single-table tournaments, run (or navigate) to the bookstore now and pick this book up. It's guaranteed to increase your ROI and make you a better player not only in sit-and-gos but in multi-table tournaments as well.

6) Every Hand Revealed

Author: Gus Hansen 

In 2007 Gus Hansen outlasted 747 players for a $1.2 million win at the Aussie Millions to add to his four WPT titles and countless massive tournament scores.

In Every Hand Revealed Gus goes into amazing detail about over 300 hands that he played en route to victory. During the tournament Hansen could be seen whispering into his voice recorder after every hand. Here's your chance to hear what he was saying.

7) Check-Raising the Devil

Author: Mike Matusow 

Mike Matusow's road to the top of the poker world was not a smooth one. From humble beginnings as a video poker degenerate to low limit poker player/ dealer to the Main Event final table to jail and back again. 

In Check-Raising the Devil Matusow waives the fifth and tells all, whether it’s flattering or not.

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8) Elements of Poker

Author: Tommy Angelo 

This is a poker strategy book with no real poker strategy. Tommy Angelo doesn't want to teach you to play poker, he knows you know how to play poker. He wants to teach you how to play your best poker. You can be the best player in the world when you're on your A-game, but if you only play you’re A-game 20 per cent of the time you're not going to be very profitable.

Conversely, a player that's nowhere near the best in the world but consistently plays his A-game is always going to be profitable.  Elements of Poker teaches you how to stay at the top of your game and ultimately become a better poker player.

poker books
James McManus

9) Positively Fifth Street

Author: James McManus 

In 2000 James McManus was sent to Vegas by Harper's Magazine to write stories on women in the WSOP and Ted Binion's murder. When he got there, however, he took his front money and entered a satellite to the Main Event.

He improbably went on to final table it and wrote a book detailing all three story lines. Positively Fifth Street is an improbable “only in Vegas” story that can't be missed.

10) Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People

Author: Amarillo Slim 

In a World Full of Fat People tells the tale of one of the greatest gamblers of all time. He beats a Chinese Ping Pong champion using Coke bottles for paddles. He beats Minnesota fats at pool with a broomstick.

He gets robbed at gun point more often than I can count. He wins the WSOP Main Event and he does it all and for higher stakes than you or I could even imagine. A book could be written about just one of these stories but Slim’s got a hundred. 

11) Small Stakes Hold'em

Author: Ed Miller 

Unless you’re playing Limit Hold’em you probably missed this book. However, Limit player or not, that would be a huge mistake. Small Stakes Hold'em is probably the best book for novice poker players.

It goes through everything you need to be a winning poker player: expected value, pre-flop hand ranking guides, adjusting for tight and loose games, odds, implied odds, everything. Even for players wanting to play No-Limit Hold'em this should be the foundation you build your game on.

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Stu Ungar

12) One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall Of Stu Ungar

Authors: Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson 

Stu Ungar was a lot of things. He was a father, a drug addict, a poker player, the best gin rummy player to have ever lived, a degenerate, and one of only two players to win the WSOP Main Event 3 times. 

That alone would make for an interesting enough book but One of A Kind goes above and beyond and brings you the stories behind the stories. It’s gripping and heart-wrenching and you won't be able to put it down.

Watch our short documentary on Stu Ungar right here:

13) The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King

Author: Michael Craig

In 2001 a billionaire banker by the name Andy Beal strolled into the Bellagio Poker Room. It didn't take long before he was playing for the highest stakes in history. The games took place over a number of years, and each year Beal came back better and better.

But that didn't stop a “corporation” of poker players from pooling their money and taking turns playing the Dallas billionaire heads-up with at mind boggling high-stakes ranging from $500/$1,000 to $50,000/$100,000 limit hold'em. 

Michael Craig tells the story of an amateur who takes on the best in the world for the highest stakes ever. If that doesn’t make you read it nothing will.

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