With plenty of news sites and blogs floating around, there is an infinite choice of poker content online.
That being said, reading an actual book is a completely different experience, so let me share a list of the top 20 poker books for Texas Hold ‘em players.
It doesn’t include some classics, like Doyle Brunson’s Super System, just because it’s not exactly a book on Hold ‘em.
I also skipped some other known names that are more of a general read and concentrated on actual Texas Hold ‘em books and ones that you could apply in this game.
20. Sit ‘n Go Strategy – Collin Moshman
SUMMARY: a guide to winning one table tournaments
I decided to start this list with an epic book for single table tournaments. Since there aren’t that many resources for this specific game, I think it deserves a place in the top 20.
When I started playing poker, Sit ‘n’ Gos were my main game, and Collin Moshman’s book was my go-to resource for strategy-related questions.
I learned a lot from reading it, and I’m sure it can help you as well if you’re playing this format.
It starts with a clear explanation of basic concepts of the game and covers equity, pot odds, expected chip value, and more.
Then, Moshman conveniently divides strategy concepts into:
- Low blind play
- Mid blind play
- High blind play
In each of these sections, he covers how to play various hands based on the changing environment, how to adjust versus different opponents, and when to tune up your aggression.
On top of that, he introduces specific topics like ICM strategy in the mid blinds section and bubble approach in the end game segment, which is very helpful in building your overall game plan.
The book ends with “Sit ‘n’ Go Career Play” in which Moshman discusses various topics that are vital for long-term success.
He compares this format against others, and lists advantages and disadvantages along with plenty of actionable tips on how to choose the best games, multi-table, and build a successful career.
You will also get a lot of useful materials like pot odds charts, preflop probabilities, shoving tables for various stack depth, and other statistics.
All in all, if you are playing or want to play one table tournaments, this is a poker book worth your time.
19. Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time – Eric Lynch
SUMMARY: expert tips for tournament players
Not the most well-known book on the list but still worth a mention.
Being a solid winner himself, Eric Lynch knows a thing or two about tournaments.
As you can guess from the name, this book’s about tournament strategy and all nuances that come in this format.
I like that the author shares in-depth analyses of various spots to help you understand even more advanced topics.
To mention a few:
- Adjustments in a deep-stack and short-stack situations
- Differences in multiway and heads-up pots
- C-betting strategies for various areas
- Bluffing and bluff catching
With plenty of real hand examples, this book will give you a solid understanding of tournament poker and a ton of actionable tips you can take to the tables.
18. Harrington on Hold ’em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments – Dan Harrington
SUMMARY: how to adjust your strategy in tournaments
Dan Harrington is probably one of the most famous poker authors and has book series for both cash games and tournaments, so there is no way we could exclude him from this list.
I have read all of his books, and if I had to choose the one that stands out the most, it would be this one.
If you don’t know who he is, I have to mention that he has a World Champion title for his win in the $10,000 buy-in WSOP main event, and even made back to back final tables in 2003 and 2004.
This is a huge achievement in itself, so I guess he has some good ideas to share.
Similarly to other books on tournaments, Harrington starts explaining vital information and the math part of the game, and then moves to analyze different playing styles.
This part will help you understand how to adjust your strategy against different players in MTTs – a game-changer for most.
Then, instead of analyzing different stack depth play, he divides the book into separate sections for the preflop, flop, turn, and river play.
On top of that, he breaks down numerous situations in the examples and helps you build an understanding of how you should be approaching tournaments in the first place.
With more than 370 pages of valuable material, this is a poker classic you should read.
17. Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book – Phil Gordon
SUMMARY: poker psychology to help you think outside the box in games
Phil Gordon used to play in the biggest games with well-known poker players and came out standing tall, and even helped teach players too.
After spending years playing and coaching, he decided to put everything he knew about Texas Hold ‘em in a book.
As a more generalist poker book, he covers math, strategy, and the psychology of the game.
What I liked the most about this book is that Gordon shares his ideas about the decision making process and approaching various spots, which helps you think a bit outside the box.
Understanding how he thinks will help you to follow vital adjustments, learn to change gears when playing, and know how to react no matter what comes your way.
Being an avid poker student himself, Gordon stresses the importance of learning and progression, which is one of the most valuable skills you can master.
16. Poker Math That Matters – Owen Gaines
SUMMARY: a simple breakdown of complicated poker math
This is the first book on the list that concentrates precisely on the math part of poker.
Since this is a numbers game, there is no way you can become a winning player without understanding these concepts, and Owen Gaines does a good job of explaining it in a simple way.
It covers absolutely everything you could think of on the topic.
Starting from pot odds, implied odds, and equity calculations, Gaines moves to explain expected value (EV) calculations and shares simple rules to make this whole learning process much easier.
He also covers the math behind various plays, such as set mining, semi-bluffing, hero calling, and much more.
After reading this book, you will have a much deeper understanding of poker and can make educated, math-based decisions instead of just guessing at the tables.
15. Modern Poker Theory: Building an Unbeatable Strategy Based on GTO Principles – Michael Acevedo
SUMMARY: advanced poker math
Just like the one above, this book concentrates on the mathematical part of the game, but takes a much more advanced route.
Instead of covering random numbers, Michael Acevedo concentrates on breaking down game theory optimal (GTO) play and explains how to implement this knowledge in real games.
GTO helps you understand the underlying theory of Texas Hold ‘em and ultimately make much better decisions in the long run.
And since the author has a background in mathematics and even worked as a financial analyst, he really gets the math behind theoretically optimal play.
You’l get up-to-date information not just on the strategy part but also on the available software that you can use to improve your play.
Acevedo then breaks down preflop play theory behind cash games and tournaments and moves to explaining all the vital concepts for post-flop considerations, such as bet sizing, balancing your ranges, using proper bluff and value hand ratio, and much more.
He begins explaining simple truths behind poker and only then moves to advanced strategies, so even if you aren’t very experienced, you’ll get a hold on most of the information.
This book alone can help you build a very solid understanding of Texas Hold ‘em and come out as a much better player as a result.
14. Elements of Poker – Тommy Angelo
SUMMARY: how to become a well-rounded player
Elements of Poker is not a strategy book, but rather your guide on how to approach poker to have long-term success.
Tommy Angelo covers something that most poker books leave aside, making this a well worth read.
To succeed in the long run, you need to know much more than just strategy.
You have to learn how to prevent spewing money and tilting, how to manage your money, how to find the best games, when to quit, how to control your emotions, and more.
After reading this book, you’ll understand all the elements of live and online poker, as well as how to approach both tournaments and cash games.
It will give you the solid foundations you need before mastering your strategy.
13. Kill Everyone – Lee Nelson
SUMMARY: tips of poker tells, along with plenty of hand illustrations and charts
Even though Kill Everyone has a section for cash games, this isn’t the main purpose of this book. You can find better options for that.
That being said, it’s a great read for tournament players and should be considered as a book for them.
One thing worth mentioning is the chapter on poker tells. It includes advice on how to counter better players, which is very useful to understand.
So the book starts by comparing the “old school” strategies versus the ones used in today’s games with tips on how to take advantage of this information.
Then Nelson takes a standard route of explaining things by separately covering early and later stages play and all the strategies that come with it.
In the new version of this book, you’ll find Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier comments on every chapter where he shares his thoughts and strategies, giving you valuable insights.
On top of that, simple things like hand illustrations and full-color charts make this book very easy to follow, making it a valuable addition to this list.
12. Playing The Player – Ed Miller
SUMMARY: how to adjust to different playing styles
Ed Miller is a well-known author, and even though he has written many books concentrating on math and general strategy, this one takes a different route and covers how to adjust to different playing styles.
Most players understand the importance of adjusting their strategy, but very few can do it in the right way, and Miller strives to change that.
He explains what optimal poker is, how to counter tight players by stealing more pots, what to do when facing loose-aggressive opponents, and how to adjust to weaker ones.
These are the main topics of this book, but Miller goes even further by breaking down how to play against each of these groups preflop, how to change your strategy postflop to win even more, and how to exploit their mistakes.
He also explains how to profile your opponents so that you always know who you’re up against, and that can be a turning point in your poker career.
11. The Myth of Poker Talent – Alexander Fitzgerald
SUMMARY: essential topics for players studying poker
I like this book because it shows the importance of working on your game and constantly improving.
Fitzgerald highlights how to use the right poker software, and breaks down Heads-Up Display (HUD) stats that can help you learn and make better decisions when playing.
He goes beyond general stuff, sharing math-based shoving and re-shoving ranges plus a breakdown of the most important parts of the game.
You will find topics such as c-betting, check-raising, donk betting, triple barreling and many more.
Explaining the theory behind these plays, he also shows how to think by yourself so that you can make good decisions in other situations as well.
Fitzgerald is a well-known coach who has published hundreds of videos, coached many players, and has impressive results himself, which makes him a good teacher.
10. Every Hand Revealed – Gus Hansen
SUMMARY: Gus Hansen’s playing style and thought processes explained
This book helps you get inside Gus Hansen‘s head and follows his journey to winning the Aussie Millions Championship by revealing hands he played in this tournament and breaking down his thought process.
Hansen is known as one of the most aggressive players around, and often even called a maniac, but when you see his explanation of the aggressive lines he might not seem so ‘crazy’ after all.
His opponents could hardly deal with him when he was on top of his game, so you can learn a thing or two from his approach.
This poker book offers you a unique format, where you get to see how Hansen progressed through five days of play and an analysis of the most interesting hands, giving you a clear understanding of underlying principles for his play.
Also, he shares general advice on how to play in various situations like high-ante games, how to adjust when the tables get short-handed, how to put pressure, and much more.
It’s definitely an intersting read and you’ll pick up some useful insights along the way.
9. Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments – Jonathan Little
SUMMARY: how to win low stakes games by understanding low stakes players
Jonathan Little has put together a very useful resource for anyone playing low stakes tournaments.
While this book might not help you crush the best players in the world, you’ll get a great understanding of underlying principles of lower games and making necessary adjustments.
If you’ve ever felt that you’re losing against random players who don’t seem to understand what they’re doing, you should read this book.
Instead of blaming bad luck, this book will help you understand how to adjust in these games, and how to change your strategy against weaker opponents to win more often.
I like that Little distinguishes various player types and suggests how to play against each of those.
It will give you a good understanding of how to counter aggressive or passive opponents and how to deal with nits or maniacs.
8. Winning Low-Limit Hold’em – Lee Jones
SUMMARY: cash game strategy tips, with quizzes to keep you on your toes
Like the previous book for tournaments, this one also concentrates on low stakes games but focuses on cash game strategy.
Instead of concentrating on how to adjust to different players, Jones lays down solid strategy foundations and shows how to read the board, understand pot odds and other vital topics.
The author explains strategies based on your position at the table and shares how to play preflop in probably any situation you can think of.
There’s even a quiz at the end of this section to test your knowledge and make sure you took everything in.
For the post-flop section, Jones talks about how to play in various poker hand combinations.
If you ever wondered what to do when you flop a pair, how to proceed with trips, draws, overcards, or when you completely miss, you’ll find all the answers here.
Just like in the preflop section, there are more quizzes that make the whole reading experience way more enjoyable and even entertaining.
I think this book will give you a great understanding of the game and how to approach different spots when you are just starting with poker.
7. Excelling At No-Limit Hold’em –Jonathan Little
SUMMARY: poker pros discussing different approaches to situations
This could be one of the most interesting books you ever read.
Jonathan Little gathered a group of professional players who sat down to discuss the strategy for various Texas Hold ‘em situations.
This means that you’ll discover how different players think about the same spot and learn from well-known names such as Phil Helmuth, Chris Moneymaker, Olivier Busquet, and many more.
The good news is that they cover everything from beginning in the low games, moving up the stakes, analyzing tells to playing specific tournament formats, and beyond.
When they explain the basics of the game, they move to way more advanced concepts and cover topics such as analyzing ranges, GTO approach, short stack strategies, final table play, and more.
If that’s not enough, you get to read about the importance of psychology in the game.
Two renowned experts, Elliot Roe and Jared Tendler, will help you see the whole picture, understand the mental side of the game, and learn how to avoid tilting.
This book helps you see how different players approach the game, which is very beneficial for growing as a player.
I enjoyed the format of this book, and think you will too when you read it.
6. Exploitative Play in Live Poker – Alexander Fitzgerald
SUMMARY: how to manipulate other players in live games into making mistakes
This is the second book by Alexander Fitzgerald on the list and the one that I liked even more.
There aren’t that many books concentrating on live poker, so if you are actually playing in a local casino or often join a home game with your friends, this is a must-read for you.
Playing online and in live games can be very different, and if you’re not able to adjust to different players, you will surely leave a lot of money on the table.
This book will help you avoiding doing that.
Fitzgerald suggests the idea of forcing other players into making mistakes.
You’ll learn how to manipulate your opponents into making the plays that you want them to make, and then exploiting it with effective counter-strategies.
Live games are all about exploiting others, so even though understanding GTO strategy is a great starting point, this book will help you think differently and learn how to put others in very uncomfortable situations.
It will help you understand how various players think about the game, which will help you see poker in the whole new light.
5. Reading Poker Tells – Zachary Elwood
SUMMARY: an easy-to-follow guide on understanding poker tells
I have read this book and seen Zachary Elwood’s training videos, so I can safely say the man knows what he’s talking about.
His book concentrates on explaining people’s behavior and helps you read other players at the table.
Elwood explains everything in a very simple and easy-to-understand way, which is always a huge bonus when talking about complex topics like this one.
I like that he distinguishes poker tells of players who are waiting for action from tells in scenarios where they are betting or checking themselves (completely different situations that often can have contrary tells).
He also groups the chapters by tells that indicate weakness or strength, which makes it really easy to follow.
After reading this book, you’ll understand common verbal and behavioral tells as well as general poker psychology.
On top of that, you’ll learn how to deceive your actions and manipulate your opponents or spot when they are trying to do it to you, which will put a lot of cash in your pockets.
4. Essential Poker Math – Alton Hardin
SUMMARY: poker math made simple – a great guide for beginners
Math is an essential part of Texas Hold ‘em strategy, so whether you like it or not, you need to learn the basics.
This is where Alton Hardin does a great job. He explains poker math in a simple manner, which could be a huge advantage to new players.
You don’t need to make complex calculations when playing, but understanding the underlying principles of decision making will help you improve almost at once.
In this poker book, you will learn about probabilities and odds, equity and EV calculations, card combinatory, pot and implied odds, and mathematical explanation of various plays.
Hardin also takes all of the theory and shows how it works in practice by analyzing hands and breaking down all of the concepts.
This part is very beneficial for new players because it helps you see how everything works in reality and that it’s not as hard as it might seem in the beginning.
You’ll get all the Texas Hold ‘em math that you need to know in one place and can build very solid fundamentals for your play.
3. The Mental Game of Poker – Jared Tendler
SUMMARY: an essential guide to handling the emotional side of poker
Many players underestimate the importance of psychology in poker and choose to ignore this topic, which costs them a lot of money in the long run.
To be honest, I was one of such players when I started in poker and lost a lot of money due to tilting and making emotional decisions.
Luckily, I found this book by Jared Tendler at the right time.
Learning to deal with such swings is vital, or you won’t be able to compete at a higher level.
Tendler clearly explains this topic and gives you step-by-step advice on how to handle variance, permanently fix tilting issues, control your emotions, and avoid all the pitfalls that you’re almost guaranteed to face.
You might be forced to read this book a couple of times to properly understand and implement all of his advice. At least that’s what I did.
Even if you only take one thing away from this book, it will pay off no matter what games you’re playing.
2. The Theory of Poker – David Sklansky
SUMMARY: a must-read classic for any poker player
This book has stood the test of time and is known for being one of the best poker books ever written.
Although it doesn’t cover cutting-edge strategies like GTO poker, it gives you everything you need to know about approaching the game in the right way.
If I tried to mention everything inside the book, it’d take me a full page just to list the topics.
You can be sure to find all of the important information, like math for various situations, explanation of different plays, advice on reading hands, poker psychology, and even a general approach to the game.
It’s also worth mentioning that you can apply this knowledge not just in Texas Hold ‘em but in other formats as well.
It gives you everything in one place to learn the fundamental theory of poker, which will help you become a better player.
An essential read.
1. Applications of No-Limit Hold em – Matthew Janda
SUMMARY: an essential guide to mastering Texas Hold ‘em strategy
Applications of No-Limit Hold ’em is easily my favorite poker book and one that helped me learn the most.
If your goal is to master Texas Hold ‘em strategy, I doubt you will find a better option than this.
This book will help you build a solid understanding of how to play your entire ranges, not just the individual hands.
Without a doubt, it is the most important concept for serious poker players.
All of this might sound complicated, and to be honest, it is.
However, Janda does a great job by giving many examples to illustrate his points, so even if you aren’t an experienced grinder, you’ll be able to understand what he is trying to teach.
He covers many topics with extremely in-depth analyses, so you will not only be able to see the right moves but also understand why they’re right.
And that is way more important.
Things like over betting or balancing your ranges for multiple bet sizing can be very complex to figure out on your own, but with the right guidance it’s much easier.
That being said, you should not expect to quickly skim over this book and go to crush everyone at your games.
I do believe you will need to revisit some of the chapters, just because there is so much information that it’s impossible to memorize everything at once and understand how to use it.
If you want to get the most from this book, you’ll need to put in the work yourself.
The good news is that Janda shares a lot of useful tables with various range examples and math explanations.
He breaks down all the content in an easy-to-follow way and starts by explaining a theoretically sound approach for preflop play and analyzes various situations.
Then the author moves to postflop strategy on different streets, facing different situations and sizing. I can’t even think of a situation that isn’t covered inside.
He ends the book by explaining how to use all this theory in practice by analyzing real hand examples so that everything sinks in.
I do think this is the best poker book on Texas Hold ‘em, so if you don’t have it yet, be sure to get yourself a copy so you don’t miss out on its valuable information.