18 Best Poker Books for Winning More Games (2020)


It’s easy to get better at poker if you’re only playing casually with your friends. However, if you want to win more cash games and tournaments, books will be crucial to your success. Sure, playing more hands than other people can also make you better, but books can help you learn the fundamentals of poker and win more games.

The best poker book for winning more games is Applications of No-Limit Hold ’em. The Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker, The Mental Game of Poker, and Ace on the River are also excellent titles for improving your strategies. All of these books can help you play better and win more poker games.

These are some poker books that you can read to help you win more games. This article will cover more of them in great detail to give you a glimpse of what you can expect with these books. Stick around to find the next title you should read to become a better poker player.

If you prefer videos than reading books, then go to our article Best poker training sites (many of them have a bunch of free high-quality videos).

#18 – Small Stakes Poker Tournaments

Small Stakes Poker Tournaments by Jonathan Little is a book published in 2015. This book covers the basics of everything that a poker player needs to do to minimize losses when playing small stakes tournaments. It will help you set the right foundation for mastering small stakes tournaments, allowing you to be more competitive as you get to the bigger league.

The Small Stakes Poker Tournaments book is still very relevant even today. It is really important to get the foundations down correctly and then focus on more advanced strategies.

In this book, Jonathan Little will provide you with the specific steps, strategies, and mindset that you need to have to start crushing small stakes tournaments. It’s a book that goes deep into the factors that can affect your profitability, whether you’re already winning games or you want to minimize your losses. You’ll also learn the small adjustments you need to take to turn your career around and start being more profitable.

Jonathan Little also has a YouTube channel.

If you’re only starting your career in tournaments and looking for ways to dominate small stakes games, this is the best book for you. It covers everything that you need to change your strategies, and change the results that you’re getting from tournaments overnight.

#17 – Playing the Player

Playing the Player: Moving Beyond ABC Poker to Dominate Your Opponents by Ed Miller is a book published in 2012. It talks about the fundamental insights in poker, and how professionals see it as a game of people, not of cards. Knowing what it really means can significantly impact how you play the game and potentially help you play better.

This book will go through some of the strategies that you can use to win more games, including taking advantage of nits and rocks to win pot after pot. It also talks about how you can gain the upper hand with tight players and use a player’s aggression to beat him. The best part about the book is that it teaches you how to spot your opponents’ weaknesses and build your strategy around it to attack and destroy them at any table.

Playing the Player is a book that can take you from being a good casual poker player to a competitive cash games winner. It gives you a walkthrough of what you can do to win more games and become a more successful poker player.

#16 – Elements of Poker

Elements of Poker by Тommy Angelo is a book published in 2007. Most of the poker books that you’ll read will go through pot odds, position, EVs, maths, and probabilities, except for this book. The Elements of Poker covers the facets of poker that many experts fail to tackle, such as bankroll, habits, and a winning poker player’s mindset.

Regardless of how you master the game, luck can still put you in tilt and cost you the bankroll you’ve worked so hard to build. Elements of Poker will help you see the game in a different direction and help you control the aspects of poker that can affect your profitability. Aside from this, it also shows you how you can approach the game from different angles to formulate a winning strategy.

Elements of Poker is a timeless classic that every poker player should read. Whether you’re only starting your career as a cash game player, or you want to excel in MTTs, this book will help you reach new heights. It can further your career by helping you have the right mindset to win more games and handle your losses.

#15 – Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time

Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time by Eric Lynch is a book published in 2016. Instead of going through the basics that poker players should learn, this book covers the techniques you can do to play each hand the best possible way.

The book’s selling proposition is that every hand that you’re dealt with is an opportunity to alter the course of the game, so you should focus on making the most out of it. This book tackles early stages, bubble play, and ICM poker considerations, all of which can help you formulate the best strategy on the go and play it well up to the very last hand in the heads-up.

Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time

If you’re a poker player who feels overwhelmed with everything that you have to think while playing, this book is a good read for you. It simplifies the game for you and will help you focus on the things that matter in every hand that you play.

#14 – Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition

Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition: Fundamental No-Limit Hold ’em Mathematics You Need to Know by Alton Hardin is a book published in 2016. This book goes through the basic strategies that the reader can use to become a winning player and build a solid foundation.

Essential Poker Math is a straightforward book that beginners can use to substitute courses that promise quick results in the game. Math is crucial to poker, and if you’re striving to be a winning player, you need to learn the fundamentals of the game. Going through this book will teach you essential Hold’em strategy concepts that you can use for micro-stakes games. These concepts include hand reading, implied odds, pot odds, expected value, and calculating poker outs.

YouTube: Alton Hardin speaks about the release of his book and what you will find inside.

The book focuses on teaching beginners, but even intermediate players can use it to improve their strategies and win more games. If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-follow guide that can help you win more games, Essential Poker Math is the book that we highly recommend and should be on the top of your list!

#13 – Doyle Brunson’s Super System

Doyle Brunson’s Super System by Doyle Brunson is a book published in 2002. It’s already in its 3rd Edition and still holds the title of being the Poker Bible. It was a perfectly timed publication that reveals concepts and insights that many poker players have never heard before. To this day, Doyle Brunson’s Super System is a book that we can recommend to anyone who wants to win more games.

We consider Doyle Brunson as one of the best poker players ever, he made it on our list of best poker players for a reason, and learning from his insights, alone, is enough for many players to improve their games. However, it also includes lessons from some of the biggest names in poker, including Bobby Baldwin, Joey Hawthorne, and Chip Reese. Many professionals consider it the most influential poker book and something that every player should read to be competent in poker.

Super System

Doyle Brunson’s Super System won’t help you win more games. However, missing out on the lessons that you’ll learn from this book, and the influence that it has over the majority of players guarantees one thing—you’ll lose more games without reading it!

#12 – Poker Math That Matters

Poker Math That Matters: Simplifying the Secrets of No-Limit Hold ’em by Owen Gaines is a book published in 2008. Despite the title’s age, the topics that it discusses are directly at the core of playing poker, making it an evergreen book that anyone should read. It addresses the most common problems for No-Limit Hold’em players, identifying challenging spots based on the range they’re playing.

Poker Math That Matters is a book that will teach you the importance of incorporating math in your games and using it to win more. In fact, knowing the basics of odds and probabilities can have a massive impact on your games that you can immediately see the difference as you use it. 

Overnight, this book can change how you play NLHE and make you more profitable, just by mastering the basics of poker math.

Poker Math That Matters

If you’re looking for a book that can help you change the way you play games instantly, Poker Math That Matters is the one that we recommend. The topics that Gaines discusses in this book won’t take years of practice, and you’ll definitely be on your way to cashing in more games than ever just by following the principles in this book!

#11 – Harrington on Hold ’em

Harrington on Hold’em: Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments by Dan Harrington is a book published in 2004. It’s one of the best books that you can read if you want to win more games. However, we didn’t rank it as high as it should because almost every poker player has already heard of Harrington’s concepts in this book.

Harrington on Hold’em is a series of books that every poker player should read. However, the most significant impact that it can create is with players who want to excel in tournaments.

It gives you insights into how you can protect your stack, adjust your play depending on the situation, and analyze difficult spots while in the game.

This book isn’t the best for beginners because it goes straight to the fundamentals that intermediate players should learn. However, if you already have a basic understanding, Harrington on Hold’em is a must-read for you! In fact, we couldn’t recommend it enough for those who are looking for ways to improve their strategies and be more profitable.

#10 – Kill Everyone

Kill Everyone: Advanced Strategies for No-Limit Hold ’em Poker Tournaments and Sit-n-Go’s by Lee Nelson is a book published in 2007. Despite a somewhat controversial approach in a rapidly-changing industry, Lee Nelson’s book remains a good read for almost every poker player, especially those who actively participate in tournaments.

The book goes through the techniques that you can use to play aggressively. It also shows you how you can master well-timed aggression against your opponents. Kill Everyone is a combination of real-time experience, poker math, and computational horsepower that can help you create new game concepts. 

Whether you’re playing STT, MTT, SNG, or just casual non-money games, Kill Everyone will provide you with everything that you need to win more games.

Kill Everyone by Lee Nelson

Although some of the topics that Lee Nelson discussed in his book are already outdated, it will still provide you with a good foundation about the skills that you need to develop to become a better poker player. Kill Everyone will give you a new set of eyes that you can use to understand the game better.

#9 – Excelling At No-Limit Hold’em

Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em: Leading Poker Experts Discuss How to Study, Play, and Master NLHE by Jonathan Little is a book published in 2015. Instead of focusing on what a poker player can do to win more games, it discusses the things that experts do to study and crush NLHE games.

NLHE is one of the most popular game formats today because of its fast-paced and amplified betting rounds. In fact, when casual players talk about poker, most of them are referring to NLHE. Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em is an extensive guide for players of all skill levels. It brings together 17 of the most dominant NLHE players in the world to teach others how they can dominate the game. 

YouTube: Excelling At No-Limit Hold’em book review.

If you’re playing casual games with your friends, and you want to win more games or be more profitable, this book is the best read for you. It will provide you with unique insights into the game and equip you with everything you need to win more No-Limit hold ’em games!

#8 – The Theory of Poker

The Theory of Poker: A Professional Poker Player Teaches You How To Think Like One by David Sklansky is a book published in 1999. It’s an old book that still holds a place in the poker industry with its evergreen topic of theories and concepts in almost every poker variation that we still have today.

The discussion on the book revolves around the introduction and use of the Fundamental Theorem of Poker. It’s what many professionals still use today, and it shows you how it can affect the games you play and its outcome. 

It also goes through some of the poker basics, including deception, bluffing, semi-bluffing, slow-play, raising, position value, psychology, heads-up play, game theory, implied odds, and free card.

The Theory of Poker is an evergreen book and a must read for everyone serious about poker.

With everything that The Theory of Poker discusses, it’s one of the best books that every poker player should read. After two decades in publication, it remains an excellent guide that we can recommend to anyone who wants to win more poker games.

#7 – Hold’em Wisdom for All Players

Hold’em Wisdom for All Players by Daniel Negreanu is a book published in 2005 and revised in 2019. Instead of going through the fundamentals of the game, Negreanu provides you with play-by-play insights to help you play better and win more cash games and tournaments.

Daniel Negreanu is one of the most prominent poker players today. When he walks you through 50 Hold’em situations, then explains everything, you’ll almost instantly play better than most people. His unique insights in the game and straight-to-the-point tutorials make it an easy read for anyone. 

This book also goes through the most common rookie mistakes that many people make when they’re at the table, leading to losing more games.

Daniel Negreanu: Hold’em Wisdom for All Players

Hold’em Wisdom for All Players is unique because it’s similar to a short course that players can take to change their mindset about the game instantly. With everything that Negreanu talks about in this book, beginners and even seasoned pros should definitely have this book in their list of titles.

#6 – Reading Poker Tells

Reading Poker Tells by Zachary Elwood is a book published in 2012. It’s specifically for poker players who are having fun playing live games. This book discusses everything that a player can do to take advantage of his opponents’ most significant weaknesses—their tells.

Poker tells are the most significant factors that you can exploit when you’re playing live games. Whether you’re playing cash games, single-table tournaments, or multi-table tournaments, mastering the art of reading tells will be your best skill in dominating the table. 

Reading Poker Tells

This book goes through the behavioral patterns that players go through, and how you can use them to manipulate other players and eventually lose their games.

If you want to start participating in live games, reading your opponent’s tells is the most crucial skill that you need to develop.

It will save you from potentially devastating hands and allow you to extract value from your opponents. This book will help you master it and use that skill to start winning more games.

#5 – Winning Low-Limit Hold’em

Winning Low-Limit Hold’em by Lee Jones is a book published in 2005. It’s one of the classics in poker, and we consider it the best book for beginners. This book is literally the one that we’d give to someone who doesn’t know what poker is but would like to learn the fundamentals and start winning games.

Winning Low-Limit Hold’em talks about the fundamentals of poker. It also explains why poker relies more on a player’s skill rather than luck. 

Although most of the book’s topics are for beginners, many intermediate and professional players still use it as a refresher for the fundamentals that they might have missed in their games. It’s also an excellent stepping stone for players who want to start making money by playing online poker games.

Winning Low-Limit Hold’em

Winning Low-Limit Hold’em is one of the very few titles that cover poker fundamentals, much like how a professional would explain the game to someone who doesn’t know how to play. If you want to understand the basics of playing poker and use your learnings to win more games, this book is one of the best titles for you!

#4 – Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker

Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker by Jonathan Little is a book published in 2011. It takes players a step ahead of the regular cash games that many people play. This book goes through the changes that a player needs to become a dominating force at poker tournaments.

Playing technically sound poker is one of the secrets in winning tournaments, but it’s not the only skill that you need to develop. In this book, Jonathan Little talks about poker’s various aspects, including adjusting to stack sizes and playing small, long games

Most of the lessons that you’ll learn from this book will take you from a casual cash game player to a competent tournament player who can win more games.

Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker

It’s not the best poker book for beginners because some topics require a bit higher understanding of the game. However, if you already have the right foundation when playing poker, and you want to climb up to the big leagues, then this book is the best title that you can go through!

#3 – The Mental Game of Poker

The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, and More by Jared Tendler is a book published in 2011. It goes through the phase in which poker players lose games for months without making a profit and the steps that they can do to turn it around.

Jared Tendler is a poker mental coach who has helped professionals play well even after months of running bad.

It walks you through the step-by-step processes that you need to take to handle the most common obstacles for players, including tilt, lack of confidence and motivation, and how they can handle variance while playing. It’s one of the few poker books that apply to almost any skill level in any game format.

To get insight into teaching methods of Jared Tendler, check this YouTube video.

Poker is a game that requires mental integrity and resistance, and this book shows you the exact steps that many players go through to get it. If you want to start winning more games or handle bad runs and still play well, this is one of the books that you should read.

#2 – Ace on the River

Ace on the River: An Advanced Poker Guide by Barry Greenstein is a book published in 2005. It’s one of the poker classics that you have to read if you want to improve your game because it talks about the things that beginners and seasoned professionals can do to play better and win more games.

Aside from the play-by-play sections that we still consider as the best after 15 years, it also covers poker aspects that many enthusiasts haven’t heard. It was the first advanced guide to playing poker that even beginners will find interesting and easy to understand. 

Aside from that, Greenstein also covers topics about the poker society, money management, and family matters—things that many poker books haven’t even touched.

Ace on the River (Amazon link)

Winning more games will take time, and you’ll only have the motivation to take on the challenges of being a professional player by knowing what awaits. If you’re looking for a good read that can paint a clear picture of everything that you can expect from being a professional player, Ace on the River should be on the top of your list.

#1 – Applications of No-Limit Hold ’em

Applications of No-Limit Hold’em by Mathew Janda is a book published in 2013. Normally, we wouldn’t have a book that talks about a particular game format, but given the popularity of Hold’em, and the valuable insights that a player can get from it, we gave this book the top spot.

Whether you’re playing casually or actively participating in cash games, this book will help you play better. It goes through the fundamentals of Hold ’em and will help you understand theoretical sound poker, making it easier to develop a balanced hand range

Instead of focusing on practices that will take years, Applications of No-Limit Hold’em focuses on strategies that you can immediately use for your games.

Applications of No-Limit Holdem

With the instant results that this book promises, and after reading everything inside the book, it will be challenging to find something that can beat what it can do for your poker games. If you want to start winning more games immediately, this book is one that you should start reading right away!

Conclusion

There are thousands of books about poker, but not all can help you win more games. You can choose to go through each of these books or use our list as a guide when looking for the next good read.

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Primoz

I have played poker professionally for more than 10 years. I was a winner at every poker format that I played - from tournaments to cash games, both in NL Holdem and PLO. Now my biggest satisfaction is to provide enthusiastic but new poker players with answers to all of their questions.

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