Small Stakes No-Limit Hold'em is probably the best book for novice poker players. It goes through everything you need to be a winning poker player: expected value, pre-flop hand ranking guides, adjusting for tight and loose games, odds, implied odds, everything. Jan 13, 2021 Top 13 Poker Books 1) Theory of Poker. This is the book that started it all, in a way. Two Plus Two Publishing is the biggest and best. 2) Harrington on Hold 'em: Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments volumes I-II. The two best books ever written on. 3) Small Stakes Hold'em. Top 100 poker books, places 91 to 100 reviews more books about learning Texas Holdem. Learn from the best and become a poker pro in no time. Take a look at our previous blog post Top 100 Poker Books for Learning Texas No-Limit.

I have read many poker books and this is probably the best no limit cash game book I have read, especially for covering all stakes. Largay's low limit book is a good read for a very limited game and probably offers some more intensive coverage of that slice of the pie but Harrington covers most of what Largay does and much more in this book. Hwang uses over 200 hand examples and walk-throughs to reinforce the advanced skills, concepts and strategies in this huge book. Covers short-handed play, 3-betting before the flop without the nuts, value betting the river, small ball, picking off bluffs, deep stack leverage, stack-to-pot ratios, check-raising, bluff raising, positional disadvantage and advantage, playing six-handed or less.

There is a wealth of instructional material for beginning poker players available all over the internet, but there are some amazing poker strategy books for beginners that all aspiring poker players should study.

Sure, poker training has become its own industry, with a plethora of professionals teaching players how to win on video. Plus, there are any number of poker forums with in-depth discussions on just about every situation you’ll face at a poker table.

For anyone new to the game of poker, the opportunities to learn and get better are almost endless.

But with a few thousand poker strategy books to be read, beginners should be use books as the foundation to any poker syllabus. That said, it can be almost impossible for beginners to decide where they should begin, so we’ve put together our very own list of the Top Five Poker Strategy Books For Beginners.

Poker For Dummies, Richard D. Harroch and Lou Krieger (2000)

A lack of understanding of the basic concepts of poker doesn’t necessarily make you a dummy. But since the “For Dummies” book series has taught people everything from how to fix their car to how to program a computer, it is as good a place as any to start with poker.

This book is ground zero for poker beginners as it covers all the basics and even some winning concepts along the way. It’s perfect for our list of top poker strategy books for beginners.

The poker book is written by lawyer and poker player Richard Harroch and veteran poker author Lou Krieger. Plus, it includes anecdotes from professional players like T.J. Cloutier and the late legendary Stu Unger. The book was originally published in 2000, but later editions now include a forward by 2003 World Series of Poker Champion Chris Moneymaker as well.

It goes into everything from setting up a game at home to the do’s and don’ts of playing poker in casinos. Plus, Poker For Dummies will give you a good grasp of poker jargon, and all the poker rules and etiquette the game employs.

The book doesn’t include a lot of the advanced modern game theory practices employed by young professionals today. It may be a bit cliché, but Poker For Dummies is exactly that and a great place to start if your knowledge of the game is in its infancy.

Doyle Brunson’s Super System: A Course In Power Poker, Doyle Brunson and Others (1979)

Doyle Brunson’s Super System is the original poker strategy bible. The book was written by some of the greatest minds in the game. Brunson was joined by late Cash Game Legend Chip Reese, World Champion and Casino Executive Bobby Baldwin, and respected Poker Theorist and Author Dave Sklansky.

While there is a Super System 2 and several later editions, the original was published in 1979, making some of it dated. The concepts, though are pure, most are still relevant. If you believe in the old adage that you have to know where you’ve been to figure out where you’re going, it’s a perfect book for beginners.

Super System contains tips on Texas hold’em, Omaha and stud. The book dives into tournament poker and cash game strategy, and by and large covers all the poker bases.

These are legends giving you access to the moves that make up their own personal playbooks and a great foundation on which to build a poker education. Considering how much the game has changed over the past 20 years, anyone wanting to learn more about poker strategy isn’t going to end with Doyle Brunson’s Super System, but it is a great place to start.


Harrington on Hold’em, Dan Harrington (2006)

This book from 1995 World Champion Dan Harrington has now seen three volumes published. The book remains the best-selling poker strategy book in the history of the game.

Harrington focuses on Texas hold’em tournaments, the most popular type of poker. Even ten years later, Harrington’s concepts regarding all the different stages of a tournament remain viable.

These days, beginners might want to go beyond what Harrington teaches, but they won’t likely be successful in doing so without it.

The volumes also include quizzes where you can put your newfound knowledge to the test. This is a concept that reinforces the idea poker is a game that can be studied, with strategy that can be tested, not just played – One every beginner should grab hold of early on if they really want to succeed.

Positively Fifth Street, James McManus (2003)

James McManus’ Positively Fifth Street is not, strictly speaking, a poker strategy book. It is instead an account of McManus own run in the 2000 World Series of Poker Main Event. The book also examines the murder of Horseshoe Hotel and Casino owner Ted Binion, and is as solid an introduction to the culture surrounding poker as a beginner is likely to find.

McManus was hired by Harper’s Magazine to write an article about women participating in the WSOP and cover the Ted Binion murder trial. Instead, he blew his advance money on a WSOP Main Event satellite, ended up finishing fifth in poker’s World Championship, and came out of all of it with Positively Fifth Street.

Sure, there are some strategy concepts in the text, including advice McManus weaned by reading books by poker greats. There’s even a bit of a blow-by-blow account of his deep run in the tournament that beginners can certainly learn from.

However, Positively Fifth Street stands more as a great introduction to poker culture than poker strategy. Either way, it’s perfect for a beginner immersing themselves in the game.

Mastering Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em: Strategies to Consistently Beat Small Stakes Tournaments and Cash Games, Jonathan Little (2017)


Over the past few years, WPT Season VI Player of the Year Jonathan Little has put out several books. Little’s books cover both advanced and beginner concepts in tournament and cash game poker.

However, 2017’s Mastering Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em: Strategies to Consistently Beat Small Stakes Tournaments and Cash Gamesis perfect for our list of top poker strategy books for beginners. After all, unless you’re a billionaire hedge fund manager you’re likely starting out at small stakes.

Little presents an easy to follow plan for how players can exploit small stakes poker. While it’s great advice for beginners, it’s even something he claims advanced players can learn.

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It’s all about a solid, competent, and moderately aggressive approach to the game that beginners will easily benefit from. Tthe book provides a basic strategy for crushing small stakes poker games. The book also identifies the adjustments needed for tougher opposition. This poker book is absolutely perfect for anyone just starting out.

Are you ready to take the challenge and start playing poker? Be sure to check out our list of legal poker sites in New Jersey and Nevada.

While interacting with fellow players in discussion forums, watching a training video presented by a seasoned pro, or reading a blog on your favorite poker site are all excellent ways of improving your game, there will be times when even the most digitally integrated of us want to step away from the laptop for our poker fix.

Fortunately, there is a wealth of terrific poker material available in long-form, with some of the game’s most revered analysts having published books in traditional and electronic form.

Before we take a look at our favorite poker books, let’s consider something Daniel Negreanu stated in a post he wrote about selecting one. In poker, one should not separate the author’s achievements from their work. Unlike many other competitive pastimes, knowledge about poker has to play out as success at the tables.

While many experts on sporting technique and strategy were themselves never competitors at the highest level of their areas of expertise, this should not be the case with poker. Pay attention to who the author of a particular book is. Find out what their achievements are before putting stock in their views. This is solid advice when exploring poker literature.

1. Gus Hansen: Every Hand Revealed

There are few players to whom a “window into the mind of” would be more fascinating than Gus Hansen and with this publication, the eccentric and massively successful Dane gives us just that.

The innovative concept behind this book would surely have been enough to render it a worthy read, but, as it turns out, the content is absolutely stellar too, giving insight into the thought processes that drove a remarkable tournament performance.

Here’s some background: In 2007, Mr. Hansen won his fifth major title when he became the Aussie Millions Champion, outlasting more than 700 players to take home an astonishing $1.2M in prize money.

Every Hand Revealed is the inside story of that victory. It is an unprecedented analysis of over 300 hands in which one of the game’s most popular and enigmatic figures reveals the reasoning behind every single decision he made on his way to the final victorious hand.

Best No Limit Poker Books For Real

About the author
Gus Hansen has reported live winnings well over $10M and was, at the height of his success, ranked 11th in the Global Poker Index (GPI)’s All Time Money List Best Rank.

2. Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier: The Raiser’s Edge

Possibly the most relevant publication in terms of unpacking the current Loose Aggressive (LAG) style of poker employed by today’s most successful players, The Raiser’s Edge has far more going for it than just a clever title.

Focusing only on tournament strategy, the book helps readers understand the stages and spots where and how to employ a LAG approach and even when to shift to hyper-LAG. The book also deals with how to defend against a player who is bossing the table with this particular strategy.

The Raiser’s Edge doesn’t compromise its value by having too narrow a focus, however, with a significant portion of the book also focusing on innovative, but extremely valuable, concepts like opponent nationality and age.

A guest-chapter, written by leading body-language expert Steve van Aspelen – a man who regularly assists the Australian police force in suspect interrogation – focuses on spotting and interpreting physical “tells”. This novel inclusion elevates The Raiser’s Edge to must-read level for players who focus on live tournament poker.

About the author

With over $13M in live winnings, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier is one of the world’s leading tournament players. His groundbreaking style of play, and his remarkable ability to explain it coherently makes him one of the most popular figures in the world of poker.

3. Mike Caro: Caro’s Book of Tells: The Body Language and Psychology of Poker

Mika Caro’s book, as you may have guessed from the title, deals entirely with the art of interpreting your opponents’ physical behavior. The ability to pick up clues about a player’s cards based on a combination of shrugs, sighs, shaky hands, eye contact, and many more is invaluable, and here Caro gives us 320 pages of information on this obscure topic.

Despite its length, the book only covers 20 basic tells but includes a significant amount of information on how each one can be interpreted based on certain conditions. It also defines how each of these tells can be exploited for maximum reward.

Critically, the book also deals with how to spot and respond to opponents who are deliberately exhibiting fake tells.

Bear in mind, though, that Caro’s Book of Tells is an influential piece of literature and is likely to have been read by a number of players at any given table.

About the author

Mike Caro is a professional poker player with seven WSOP “in the money” finishes under his belt. The 73-year old also contributed a chapter to Doyle Brunson’s seminal Super/System, one of the first ever books on poker strategy.

4. David Sklansky: The Theory of Poker

In publishing, the term “classic” is ordinarily reserved for texts that have influenced generations of readers, and, strictly speaking, this is entirely true of David Sklansky’s seminal effort.

Despite being published a mere 24 years ago, The Theory of Poker could easily be regarded as being outdated, given how quickly the game and meta-game has evolved in recent years. However, nothing could be further from the truth since the book focuses on introducing and demystifying the fundamental logical and mathematical concepts that drive a winning poker player’s decisions.

It is rightfully regarded as setting the benchmark for poker debate and is pretty much as essential as reading can get.

Best No Limit Holdem Book

About the author

It may not come as much of a surprise to those familiar with his legacy to learn that David Sklansky practiced as an actuary before taking up poker as a full-time profession. A three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, Sklansky is predominantly a live player and boasts career earnings in excess of $1.3M.

5. Dan Harrington: Harrington on Hold’em Vol. 1: Strategic Play & Vol. 2 Endgame

The first volume in a series of three was without a doubt the most influential work on the topic of tournament poker and introduced the world to many strategic concepts that are nowadays taken for granted, even at the micro-stakes.

It’s almost impossible to think that there was a time, not too long ago, when most tournament players were not taking their M-ratios into consideration. This concept was introduced by Harrington and Robertie and is widely regarded as one of the most important contributions to the poker lexicon.

While the books’ significant level of influence does render some of its knowledge less valuable than more contemporary offerings, it is still packed with a wealth of essential information and considered required reading for anyone interested in tournament success.

The second volume in the series narrows its focus to the final stages of the tournament – a topic so complex, the author felt it warranted a publication of its own. This volume deals with the fragile dynamics of playing when the money is in sight and the blinds and antes are starting to overwhelm the short stacks. “Endgame” navigates these complexities expertly, providing readers with an arsenal of strategies to employ during this crucial phase of the tournament.

About the author

Dan Harrington won the 1995 WSOP main event, has ranked as high as 8th on the All Time Money List Best Rank and boasts career earnings of over $6.5M.

The 72-year old also recently expanded his bibliography by publishing two new volumes dealing with cash poker.

Bonus. Jared Tendler: The Mental Game of Poker

As an exception to the rule mentioned in our introduction, here is one book written by a non-player that has received such recognition that it is impossible not to include it in our list.

Psychology plays a bigger role in poker than most other competitive pursuits since it’s the only game in the world where a good player can continuously play well but still lose. The mental repercussions of losing a big hand or running bad for two months can ruin a tournament or, in extreme cases, a career.

This highly insightful book helps serious players overcome the challenges they will face when their emotions become involved in their decisions. It provides an actionable approach to dealing with tilt and it has been hailed by several WSOP bracelet winners, including 2012 Main Event Champion, Greg Merson, as having revolutionised their game.

About the author

Former mental health practitioner, and holder of a master’s degree in psychology, Jared Tendler, is a coach to over 500 professional poker players. His now defunct podcast, The Mental Game, has over 4.5M downloads and is still considered one of the most valuable resources on the psychology of poker.

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