The best poker books every serious poker play should read

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the founder and lead instructor at MicroGrinder Poker School, arguably, the most prominent micro stakes poker school, and I’m fascinated by poker. I started playing poker as a hobby, and it soon became an obsession. I delved into poker theory, seeking to understand the game’s nuances. And as my game improved, I wanted to share my success with others. I’ve always been passionate about teaching, so I started MicroGrinder Poker School. Between my best-selling poker books and 35+ courses, I’ve helped over 80,000 poker players improve their poker game drastically.


I wrote...

Book cover of Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition: Fundamental No Limit Hold'em Mathematics You Need To Know

What is my book about?

Poker mathematics—which is easy to understand and implement—is often overlooked by many players in No Limit Hold’em, causing them to make mathematically incorrect moves. While this may seem somewhat insignificant, over the long run, these incorrect moves can cause both good and bad poker players to win significantly less, and lose significantly more money than they would if they both understood and applied basic poker mathematics.

In this book, you’ll learn how to use simple arithmetic at the poker table to gain a huge skill advantage over your opponents that’ll allow you to win more and lose less.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Dynamic Full Ring Poker: Beyond The Basics

Alton Hardin Why did I love this book?

James Splitsuit Sweeney is a household name for serious poker players and a prolific poker author. His first book, Dynamic Full Ring Poker is a must-read. This book goes into great depth, covering all of the fundamental concepts any serious poker player should master, discussing essential pre-flop and post-flop strategies and scenarios in detail.

By James Sweeney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dynamic Full Ring Poker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than anything else, the hallmark of a great poker player is his ability to read hands and to adapt his play accordingly.

From Dynamic Full Ring Poker, YOU WILL LEARN:

• How to hand read better by following CardRunners coach James “SplitSuit” Sweeney’s hand reading tactics

• How to estimate your opponents’ hand ranges

• How to exploit your opponents and their likely holdings

• How to profitably c-bet, lead, raise, float, double-barrel, check-raise

• How to profile your opponent in a few seconds

• How to calculate the expected value of your play

• How to correctly 3-bet…


Book cover of The Grinder's Manual: A Complete Course in Online No Limit Holdem 6-Max Cash Games

Alton Hardin Why did I love this book?

If you haven’t read The Grinder’s Manual, you need to. It should be a staple book in your poker library that you review and reference on a regular basis if you want to beat tough games. Peter Clarke does do an excellent job of breaking down the theory of the game, and highlighting strategies for beating low-stakes online cash games.

By Peter Clarke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Grinder's Manual as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Grinder's Manual is a 540 page highly theoretical textbook in Online No Limit Holdem Cash Games. It contains 80 colourfully illustrated instructive figures and 152 carefully chosen example hands that are analysed in great detail. This Manual is designed to teach all levels from near beginner to seasoned player. The book is very progressive with a steep incline in complexity throughout its 14 chapters.

Peter (Carroters) Clarke, who is a very well respected instructor on various poker training sites, has been teaching online poker for the last six years and has finally compiled his knowledge into one huge, but…


Book cover of No-Limit Hold 'em For Advanced Players

Alton Hardin Why did I love this book?

As you move up in stakes, whether that be live or online, you need to start developing an understanding of game theory. Matthew Janda, an excellent theoretical mind in poker, wrote this book for just that reason—to analyze and discuss poker from a game theory perspective using PokerSnowie and PioSOLVER. If you’re just starting out with game theory optimal (GTO) play, this should be one of your first reads.

By Matthew Janda,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No-Limit Hold 'em For Advanced Players as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2003 poker was put on television and no-limit hold em quickly became the most popular form of poker played in casinos, public cardrooms, and on the Internet. At first, because of the newness of the game to most participants, they could be easily be beaten by players with only a moderate knowledge of sophisticated strategy. But today, this is no longer the case.

Even though no-limit hold em is not, from a Game Theory perspective, a solved game, many ideas and concepts which come from this branch of mathematics now play an important role in a strong, winning no-limit…


Book cover of Modern Poker Theory: Building an Unbeatable Strategy Based on GTO Principles

Alton Hardin Why did I love this book?

Modern Poker Theory is the go-to GTO-based poker book. This is a must-read for poker players playing the toughest games in the world, where their opponents are employing unbeatable strategies and GTO. But be forewarned, this is not a book for novices or beginners—only serious poker players! There’s a reason this book is a perennial bestseller since it was released; it’s that good.

By Michael Acevendo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Modern Poker Theory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Modern Poker Theory is a comprehensive, rigorous guide to the most important aspects of No-Limit Hold'em. It is based around an in-depth examination of what is meant by game theory optimal play (GTO) and how it can be applied at the table. Understanding GTO is fundamental to being able to make accurate poker decisions and being able to exploit players who don't.

Modern Poker Theory uses modern poker tools to develop a systematic approach to the analysis of GTO. It organizes the ideas and concepts in an intuitive manner that is totally focused to practical applications.

Next time you are…


Book cover of The Mental Game of Poker 2: Proven Strategies For Improving Poker Skill, Increasing Mental Endurance, and Playing In The Zone Consistently

Alton Hardin Why did I love this book?

If you’re a serious poker player, I’m assuming you’ve already read The Mental Game of Poker. If you haven’t, definitely read it. And if you have, it’s time to read The Mental Game of Poker 2. Jared Tendler’s books are the go-to poker psychology and mental games books. Ask any poker player on the most popular poker forums, and just about everyone will recommend Jared’s books. The Mental Game of Poker 2 builds on the first book by focusing on mental topics such as mental endurance and playing in the zone—things every serious poker player should be actively working on.

By Jared Tendler, Barry Carter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mental Game of Poker 2 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imagine the edge you would have if you could consistently play poker in the zone. In the zone you make all the right decisions, instinctively when to bluff, and are unfazed by a losing hand. You’re locked in and feel unbeatable.

It’s shocking how many poker players stumble into this elusive state of mind. As quickly as that euphoric feeling of invincibility arrives, it's gone. And no matter how hard they try, they can’t get back there. Until now.

In The Mental Game of Poker 2, author and renowned poker mental game coach Jared Tendler breaks down the zone and…


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Evil Alice and the Borzoi

By DK Coutant,

Book cover of Evil Alice and the Borzoi

DK Coutant Author Of Evil Alice and the Borzoi

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Professor Cross Cultural Psychologist Dog Lover Traveler Reader

DK's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Cleo Cooper, a cross-cultural psychology professor, is living the dream on the Big Island of Hawaii. With ocean-dipping weekends, she enjoys her dog, her job, and her boyfriend Ben - until the day she’s on a research vessel and a dead body is caught in the dragline.

The police determine it is murder and set their sights on a gentle former student, Kai. It doesn’t take much urging from Kai’s auntie for Cleo to investigate. But Ben grows distant, and Cleo’s dog grows ill. A couple of accidental deaths later, and someone makes an attempt on her life.

What happened to Cleo’s life in paradise? Can she discover the true killer? Can she stop the killer before the killer stops her?

Evil Alice and the Borzoi

By DK Coutant,

What is this book about?

Paradise is shaken when the body of a young woman is dragged onto a university research vessel during a class outing in Hilo Bay. Cleo Cooper is shaken when she finds her favorite student is on the hook for the murder. Danger lurks on land and sea as Cleo and her friends are enticed to search for the true killer. In between paddling, swimming, and arguing with her boyfriend, Cleo discovers all is not what it seems on the Big Island of Hawaii. But will she figure out the truth before she becomes the next victim?


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