The 5 poker books aspiring poker players should read

When I was coming up through the poker ranks there were only a handful of poker books available, and truth be told they all were pretty consistent in the strategies and theories they preached. Because of this I have added to my poker knowledge base in many ways over the years, and in a very Helter Skelter kind of way as I read a book as it was published and not in a cohesive order from beginner to advanced strategies.

Today aspiring poker players have a different problem (a problem I wish I had faced when I started) in that there is an over-abundance of information to choose from, ranging from entry-level to advanced reading. With this in mind I have come up with a list of five poker books that players could benefit by reading in a specific order; this ordered approach should keep the information being conveyed in a neat line, without having to bounce around between advanced and basic concepts, or worse, competing theories that may have been debunked in today’s game.

Overall there are 10 steps I have come up with regarding the order and progression you should read your books (despite there being only five books) but you will soon see why.

  • #1 – The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky
  • #2 – Treat Your Poker like a Business by Dusty Schmidt
  • #3 – Choose any  strategy book/series in the format you intend to play *I will provide a list at the end of the article*
  • #4 – The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler
  • #5 – The Mathematics of Poker
  • #6 – Re-read The Theory of Poker
  • #7 – Re-read your strategy book(s)
  • #8 – Re-read The Mental Game of Poker
  • #9 – Re-read Treat Your Poker like a Business
  • #10 – You shouldn’t need my advice on your next step at this point!

Once you have gotten to this point you should be a consistent winner at the lower limit games and will be ready to take your game to the next level, which means joining an online training site, contributing at a ‘serious” poker forum, and talking with other skilled players about the game and game theory.

Author Suggestions for Strategy Books

No Limit Holdem

Chris “Fox” Wallace’s No Limits is a great read (For heads-up play I would recommend Expert Heads-Up No Limit Holdem by Will Tipton)


Anything by Rolf Slotboom or Jeff Hwang will suffice, and if you want something a little more advanced (and pricier) you can check out Tri Nguyen’s books

Limit Holdem

Limit Holdem is a fairly static game, so anything by Ed Miller will work, and if you want more of a simple primer you can read Lee Jones’ or David Sklansky’s older works.

Tournament Poker

Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time series

Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker series

Kill Phil, Kill Everyone, The Raiser’s Edge series


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  • Posted in: Poker, Poker Book Reviews, Poker Strategy & Tips
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