Poker Books: A Proven Way to Improve Your Game
Doyle Brunson’s Super System may have been the trailblazer — the “godfather” of all poker books if you will — but there are now a plethora of great poker books out there for players to enjoy, be entertained by, and learn from. Whether you’re a recreational poker player or a hardcore grinder, there’s always a good tip or two that you can pick up by reading modern poker books authored by the game’s experts.
Here at Cardplayer Lifestyle, we’ve reviewed numerous great poker books over the years, and we’re happy to present you with a selection of some of the finest poker books out there on the market today. These great poker titles – many of which have been published by the venerable D&B Poker – are certainly worth a read. From popular poker strategy tomes to the best tournament poker books to poker autobiographies to GTO poker books and more, here’s a list of some of our favorite poker books.
Pulling the Trigger: The Autobiography of Poker Pro Eli Elezra
Pulling The Trigger” The Autobiography of Poker Pro Eli Elezra was originally written by by Matan Krakow and Yoav Ronel and published in Hebrew in March 2017. The English-language version of the book was published in January 2019 and was translated into English by Cardplayer Lifestyle founder Robbie Strazynski.
The book discusses Eli’s early life in Israel, service in the IDF, time working in the Alaska fishing industry, world travels, the golden days of Bobby’s Room, life in Vegas, and much more.
Modern Poker Theory – Poker’s Bible for Serious Winning Players
Almost immediately upon its release, Michael Acevedo‘s Modern Poker Theory, published by D&B Poker, was hailed as a groundbreaking book. Thought by many to be the preeminent guide to Game Theory Optimal (GTO) strategy, it became — and remains — a bestseller in the poker niche.
The uber popular strategy book is essentially thought of as a bible for serious winning poker players, and the best GTO poker book on the market.
Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker — Jonathan Little Explains How to Play Your Best Tournament Poker Game
Jonathan Little has revised, updated, and re-compiled what used to be a 3-volume series into a singular modern day bible for professional tournament poker players. In effect, this is one of the best tournament poker books you can buy nowadays.
In it you will learn the fundamentals of play and how to handle varying stack sizes, a technically accurate style of play, and how to examine each individual hand, consider the relevant factors and formulate your thinking about the best line to take.
GTO Poker Gems — Understand and Implement GTO into Your Poker Game
Red Chip Poker founder James “SplitSuit” Sweeney has produced a gem of a book here. It’s a 128-page volume that covers virtually every aspect of Game Theory Optimal (GTO) play in bitesize format.
Reading it and internalizing its instructional methodology will enable you to integrate that type of specialized thinking into your gameplay. If you’re looking for a great GTO poker book, you can’t go wrong here.
Mastering Mixed Games – The Gold Standard for Mixed Game Instruction
Dylan Linde‘s strategy book is a great resource for mixed game players, no matter their experience or skill level.
An excellent instructor, the WSOP bracelet winner and WPT champion wastes no words in this 304-page guide to all the poker variants, from stud games to flop games to draw games.
The Moneymaker Effect — A Great Poker Story
Some poker books are guaranteed to grab your attention. One such book is Eric Raskin’s The Moneymaker Effect. Right from when you start the first page, you won’t be able to tear yourself away from this excellent oral history of Chris Moneymaker’s legendary run to the 2003 WSOP Main Event winner’s circle.
It’s a fantastic read that documents one of the most important moments in poker’s history in a way like no other. Bonus: Check out our interview with 2003 WSOP Champion Chris Moneymaker.
Poker Satellite Success! – Learn How to Play Big Buy-In Events at a Fraction of the Cost
Playing in satellite tournaments has become a way to succeed in poker that appeals to both professionals and amateurs alike. While it of course focuses exclusively on satellites, this is nonetheless one of the best tournament poker books out there.
Bernard Lee is one of the game’s most experienced satellite winners, and in this book he shares his tips and tricks for how to win your way into high-ticket events at a fraction of the cost.
The Mental Game of Poker — A Top Poker Book to Boost Your Performance
Jared Tendler’s The Mental Game of Poker is a true 5-star classic! For years people have said that Brunson’s Super System or the Harrington on Hold’em series are must-reads for the poker playing set. This book shouldn’t just be added to that list, it should be at or near the top.
Arguably, having an A+ mental poker game is more important than your poker game itself, as a solid mental game is guaranteed to make you the best poker player you can possibly be.
GTO Poker Simplified — Everything you need to play your best poker
Another excellent Dara O’Kearney and Barry Carter collaboration, this top-notch strategy book will have good students of the game playing at the next level so long as they’re willing to put in the time to improve. As far as GTO poker books go, this is unquestionably one of the most well-regarded.
From understanding the need to balance your bets, the importance of concepts like “blockers”, value betting, and more, this book covers all the basics you’ll need to understand how to play proper Game Theory Optimal poker.
Fossilman’s Winning Tournament Strategies — Greg Raymer Teaches You How to Win
Greg Raymer‘s win at the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event wasn’t a fluke. He’s got three decades of experience as a poker professional and regularly puts all that knowledge to work at the felt.
Now, you can gain insight into what makes a poker player a champion and learn some of Raymer’s secrets.
Exploitative Play in Live Poker — Learn How to Crush Your Opponents
Alex Fitzgerald’s book, Exploitative Play in Live Poker debuted to rave reviews. It’s the unique book capable of helping already winning players take their poker game to the next level, explaining what to look for so as to know when it’s best to apply pressure on your opponents.
The book doesn’t read like a complex construction diagram for trained professional carpenters, but rather it’s easy to read and understand, like Lego instructions.
Endgame Poker Strategy – The ICM Book – Learn How to Maximize Your Cashouts when Running Deep in Tournaments
Dara O’Kearney and Barry Carter explore a concept (The Independent Chip Model) whose mastery will surely give you a leg up in becoming a better tournament poker player, and maximizing the amount of money you walk away with from tournaments in which you’re fortunate to experience a deep run. Here’s a free excerpt.
Life’s a Gamble — Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton’s Autobiography
The influence of the late Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton on the poker world was arguably second to none. What he accomplished in his storied career, both as a player as well as a promoter of the game, is well documented (for example, check out our interview).
Mike penned this autobiography in which he gives readers and poker fans a front row seat experience into what it was like from his perspective to have been such an integral part of the poker world and its maturation over the years.
Excelling At Tough No-Limit Hold’em Games – How to Succeed Beyond the Small Stakes
Poker coaches Jonathan Little and Alex Carr have collaborated, along with almost a dozen other coaches, to produce this strategy volume filled with practical tools that can be implemented to exploit recreational players and more advanced GTO fundamentals to keep in mind when playing against seasoned regulars.
The Postflop Poker Workbook – A Great Poker Math Study Tool
With all of the hi-tech, interactive poker study tools out there nowadays, it might seem like working with pencil and paper is old fashioned and outdated. This book, by poker coach James “SplitSuit” Sweeney, proves that idea to be completely untrue.
Enabling a player to study and work out all of the many calculations poker requires, this is an excellent tool to train with if you’re serious about studying and improving your mathematical skills at the tables. Also, be sure to check out Sweeney’s Preflop Poker Workbook.
The 100 Biggest Mistakes That Poker Players Make
This is the perfect poker book for players who prefer to study by working from the perspective of eliminating negatives. The book is a catalogue of errors, that Fitzgerald shines a light on so that they might be identified, scrutinized and eventually, eradicated from our game
This hefty 398-page work (including the index) is not a pocket-sized handbook, but more the kind of poker bible that you should devour before referring back to.
Molly’s Game — Molly Bloom’s Account of Legendary Hollywood Home Games
Molly Bloom achieved widespread notoriety for organizing the biggest private poker game in Hollywood. There’s a lot more to know about Molly’s story, however, besides what was portrayed in the media reports. Molly’s Game proved to be an intriguing read to say the least. As far as the best poker books go, it’s hard to top one that was made into a feature-length film.
Of course, you could also watch the Hollywood movie, but poker fans who like a great story and want all the juicy details ought to pick themselves up a copy. Also, you can watch our interview with Molly.
Mastering Small Stakes Pot-Limit Omaha – How to Crush Modern PLO Games
PLO crusher Fernando “JNandez” Habeggar guides you through the process of making the switch to PLO as your main poker game of choice.
From pre-flop play to post-flop play, this is a great guide book to have as you climb the proverbial PLO ladder.
From Vietnam to Vegas — WSOP Champ Qui Nguyen’s Poker Book of Stories and Strategies
If you were among the legions of people who watched Qui Nguyen win the 2016 WSOP Main Event, you might’ve thought you were witnessing a “madman.” Yet, there was obviously a method to that “madness.”
Along with AdvancedPokerTraining.com’s Steve Blay, Qui has written a book that provides in-depth explanations and analyses of his play at the Final Table along with sharing his amazing personal story.
The Only Way to Play It – Gripping Poker Fiction at its Finest
Peter Alson‘s poker-infused book is a great read for fiction lovers and poker lovers alike.
Follow the main character as he flits from real life to the underground poker life, and let yourself be swept away by a great tale from a great storyteller.
Unfolding Poker — A Texas Hold’em Poker Book from Poker Coach James “Splitsuit” Sweeney
When you’re a beginner or an intermediate poker player, you’ve often got lots of questions. Red Chip Poker co-founder renowned poker coach James “Splitsuit” Sweeney understood this and took it upon himself to compile a fantastic Q&A guidebook called Unfolding Poker.
Available in both print and as an eBook, here’s our review of what is unquestionably a phenomenal resource for beginner- and intermediate-level poker players.
A Girl’s Guide to Poker – Let’s Play Poker, Girlfriend!
A fabulous book by Amanda Botfeld, solidly formatted that equips a beginner with everything needed to head out to their local brick and mortar poker room.
A great, fun read for men and women alike in which the author breaks down complicated concepts into parts of a story that she tells to a friend.
Mastering Small Stakes Cash Games — A Comprehensive Approach to Winning at Poker
Evan Jarvis does all cash game players a massive service with this book, which teaches the importance not just of booking wins, but of how to maximize profit with each win. By adhering to the principles of his ‘Triple Threat’ theory of position, selection and then aggression, your bankroll will thank you. The strategies brought forth are essentially guaranteed to remain evergreen, thus making this one of the best modern poker books for ardent students of the cash game realm.
Moorman — WSOP Bracelet Winner Chris Moorman Shares Winning Poker Strategies
Following the success of his first book, WSOP bracelet winner (and online poker’s winningest tournament player) Chris Moorman has written his second eponymously-titled volume, which includes both biographical and hand-analysis sections.
50 Mental Biases That Cost You Money at the Poker Table — Learn How to Improve Your Poker Winrate
Roland Jones, a Bankruptcy Attorney, decided to write a book about how to increase your poker bankroll called 50 Mental Biases That Cost You Money at the Poker Table. In a nutshell, there’s a lot to learn from Jones’ unique perspective and very well-researched examples of biases in this 178-page book.
Positive Poker — A Top Poker Psychology Book
Dr. Patricia Cardner’s Positive Poker, is an in-depth examination of the psychological aspects of all elements of poker. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to improve their play.
As per poker psychologist Dr. Al Schoonmaker, “Discussions of great players’ characteristics resemble religious arguments: People have strong opinions, but no solid evidence. Dr. Cardner’s research provides that evidence, and the picture is surprisingly complicated.”
Gardena Poker Clubs: A High-Stakes History
Gardena, California used to be THE poker Mecca. Max Votolato researched the area’s history over 10 years, and ended up compiling a great novel.
This is a great book to pick up that will surely give you a greater appreciation of poker’s history in Southern California.
Best Poker Books 2023
As more advanced strategy volumes get published by some of our industry’s top authors, you can rest assured that we will continue listing the best poker books on the market. Typically, D&B Poker tends to publish a good few new poker books each year on a wide variety of topics. Whether you’re looking for the best Texas Hold’em books, mixed game guides, or even just some of the poker books written by Hall of Famers and legends, you can always rest assured that there’s room for your library to grow.
Generally speaking, the best modern poker books can be divided into two main categories: poker strategy books and poker story/fiction books. The former category tend to be the more popular sellers, as players are always on the hunt for every possible edge to improve their skills and likelihood of succeeding at the felt. This is especially true of tournament poker books. Thus, spending on poker strategy books can be thought of as more of an investment. Poker story books, whether they’re autobiographies or historical accounts of legendary poker tales, make for great reading, plain and simple.
As you can see in the table above, we showcase many of the top poker books in both major categories. For instance, Poker Hall of Famers like Eli Elezra and Mike Sexton share their life stories in their autobiographies. By contrast, well known poker coaches like James “SplitSuit” Sweeney and Alex Fitzgerald offer plenty of great poker strategy tips that’ll easily get you a quick return on your investment of buying the book in the first place. Still others are written by captivating storytellers like Eric Raskin and Molly Bloom, who will enchant you with their detailed accounts of some of the most titillating moments you’ve ever heard about taking place at poker tables.
Whatever your preferred style, and whomever your preferred author, you can rest assured that you’ll be informed and entertained when you pick up copies of the industry’s best poker books.