Nobody’s born into poker. We all have to try hard to become better players. But learning from scratch isn’t easy. Fortunately, it’s also unnecessary. There are plenty of great players out there who put their wealth of knowledge into books to help us become better players. You’ll still have to practice, of course, but these books will get you on the fast track to becoming a better player.
The question is where should you start? There are so many books to choose from that it’s hard to separate pure gold from pure trash. Here’s a list of must-read poker books to help you on your way.
The Theory of Poker
The Theory of Poker was written by David Sklansky and is considered the bible of poker. This book is required reading for any first-time poker player. It’ll teach you basic concepts like pot odds, implied odds, reverse pot odds and more. In short, it will tell you everything you need to know to understand the game of poker.
All more advanced poker books build on Sklansky’s The Theory of Poker.
Sit ‘N Go Strategy
Sit ‘N Goes are great. They give you lots of experience for a little investment. Not to mention the fact that they’re much easier on your bankroll. Colin Moshman’s book Sit ‘N Go Strategy teaches you how to be a Sit ‘N Go winner regardless of the level of the blinds. This book tells you everything you need to know from what starting hands to choose to advanced theories like the Independent Chip Model. It’s everything you need to become a winning Sit ‘N Go player.
Harrington on Hold ‘em Series
Okay so I cheated a little bit. The Harrington on Hold ‘em series is actually three books, but they could be the best three poker books you’ll ever read. It’s full of practical information to make you a better tournament poker player. Perhaps the best thing about these books is the practical questions it has. In fact, the third book is nothing but questions designed to test your knowledge of the game. If you want to be a winning tournament poker player, this series is all you need.
John Vorhaus’s book Killer Poker, and in fact his entire Killer Poker series, shows you the application of theoretical poker knowledge. His books are full of real-world examples that’ll help you grasp abstract concepts better. In addition, Vorhaus’s straightforward style and sarcastic wit make his books fun to read as well as incredibly informative.
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Poker is a lot like golf in that it takes minutes to learn but a lifetime to master and it certainly would take a lifetime if you had to learn all of the nuances by yourself. Fortunately we have poker professionals to guide us along the way. Today, acquiring the knowledge of a poker star is as easy as turning a few pages. If you are truly serious about improving your poker game, take a look at the four (okay, six including the other two Harrington books) that I recommended. I guarantee they’ll make you a better player.