Compiling a list of the top five books to read on poker is more than an arduous task. With the boom of online poker, it seems every man and his dog is releasing books which tell you how to win, and win big. But what is the definitive top five?
Harrington on Hold ‘Em Volume 1-3 (Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie)
Ok, I know this is probably on every list of top five poker books. I know. But there is a reason, a very good reason. For tournament poker this is what you need to know, from little tells to spot in your opponents to stake management. What makes this book so appealing though are the little exercises that you get set at the end and during the chapters. You actually start to learn and think about situations (or you should be) which creates an easy to read book and a great learning environment. There are three books in the series two of which deal with the start, middle and end of tournaments. With a final book of exercises. Read them all, again, and again. If you haven’t read them, chances are your opponents will have.
Doyle Brunson’s Super System 1 and 2 (Doyle Brunson et al)
Damn there goes originality again. But again these books are what everyone who’s playing poker should have read. Even if you don’t agree with the points detailed by Doyle and friends it’s important to understand the theories he is talking about. And of course if you can spot someone trying a move straight from Doyle’s book you have the edge. These books are fairly old though, and some of the tactics and strategies have been criticised and surpassed, but still a good read. Tough to read in places, but acknowledged as the poker bible in many circles, can you afford not to read it?
Online Ace (Scott Fischman)
At last something different. This book details how to make money from online poker, mostly sit and goes. It’s precise in what it teaches and is written by someone who has done it at the top level. Fischman’s system is an interesting and money making one, if put into practice. Some of his theories go against the grain but if they make you money, who cares? A good read and very informative and fresh view of online poker.
Killer Poker Online (John Vorhaus)
This is another interesting read. It assumes that you already know how to play poker, perhaps live poker, and how to change your game to suit internet poker. It is not teaching you how to play but gives you issues to think about. Importantly it outlines the differences between live poker and online poker. This makes you think about your own game, and you can reflect on yourself as a poker player. Look at it as a self improvement book and you may get the premise of what it is trying to do. If you expect a point by point guide to playing online, you are looking at the wrong book.
Caro’s book of tells, the body language and psychology of poker (Mike Caro)
This book is a little dated, but is a classic of poker literature. The Mad Genius of poker, as he has been named, is back with a new edition and is in paperback, which makes it cheaper too. This book will help you understand how poker players think, and how you should be thinking. It outlines poker hands and Mad Mike explains them as they play out and tells you why they are bluffing. Obviously if you are reading any book on poker you want to improve or gain an edge in the casino, online or home game, this book gives you that edge. It also gives a view of body language and what body movements can mean. All in all, another must read.