The wonderful game of poker has many variations, but all have the same objective. You need to get the best hand possible according to the rules, especially when playing full house poker.
If you are a casual player, you might be happy enough to ‘go with your gut’ and play according to the way you are feeling, but if you are wanting to learn more about the game to have success in local tournaments (or even become a professional player), then you need to get a handle on strategy.
There are so many ways you can learn strategy – from professional players, through online resources, and just from experience, but the classic way to learn is through books, and even in our technologically advanced world books are still very important.
The five books on this list are both suitable for beginners and contain the information that you will need to better understand the game of poker, from theory through to manipulation and strategy – and some are absolute classics that have really influenced the way the game is played today.
The Theory of Poker: A Professional Poker Player Teaches You to Think Like One – David Sklansky
While this book was first published nearly 40 years ago, it has been updated multiple times, and it has become something of a strategic dictionary of play, covering the basic fundamentals of strategy that provide a benchmark for players who want to be more than just casual.
In this book, you will find poker concepts that are not only well-researched but also apply to almost every variation of the game. These are the concepts that are a benchmark for discussion and debate around how poker has developed and will continue to grow.
While the writing might be considered rather dry, it has been written to be more scientific than some of the other more entertaining books available, but because it has so much information in it, if you haven’t read it you are already risking being the worst player at the more professional tables.
Harrington on Hold’Em – Dan Harrington
Dan Harrington was the 1995 World Poker champion, and when he published this book in 2006, he was one of the best-known players on the Texas Hold’Em circuit.
This particular book is the best-selling poker book in history, with more than 300,000 copies sold, and that is a combination of the well-respected author and the concepts that are covered.
This book breaks down the expert strategies that offer consistently good play when in No-Limit Texas Hold’Em tournaments.
Co-authored with Bill Robertie, a master game theorist and chess player, this book is regarded as an excellent starting point for beginners, but it might be considered a bit too basic for more experienced players.
The Body Language of Poker (a.k.a The Book of Tells) – Mike Caro
Mike Caro is a pioneer in poker strategy, and when this book was first released In 1983 it was a ground-breaking analysis of something that is extremely important in live poker – yet it wasn’t deeply understood.
Caro has written many articles and reports on the science of poker and has engaged thousands of poker enthusiasts over 30 years of poker seminars, and this book, in particular, is a really deep dive into the body language of poker players, from voice inflections to posturing and even minute facial movements.
Every Hand Revealed – Gus Hansen
Gus Hansen is one of the most unorthodox poker players ever, and in this book, he goes through the details of his thought process for every hand through every stage of a tournament, from the very first hand to the last table (and hopefully winning).
This is a poker book that was put into the world through a mainstream publisher and has had widespread public and critical acclaim. While the concepts described are critical, they do really only apply to Texas Hold’Em – but they are easy to follow with no complex equations to follow.
Exploitative Play in Live Poker: How to Manipulate Your Opponents into Making Mistakes – Alexander Fitzgerald
Another excellent book that is more about playing your opponents than the cards in your hand, this book has been written by a world-class player that became a world-class coach – so this is really distilled knowledge that applies to players of every level of knowledge and experience.
Using the strategies in this book, players can approach their game from an entirely new angle; using unorthodox tactics that are designed to improve profit margins and make the game more enjoyable.
Moving outside your comfort zone and focusing on manipulation, is poker from a more personal angle.
Books vs Online
People learn differently, so they might think that the online resources are best – but anyone can claim to be an expert online, and this might damage your game.
Choosing books that will help you as a beginner to have more strategy and understanding of the game will have a deep impact on your play.