The most recommended poker books

Who picked these books? Meet our 14 experts.

14 authors created a book list connected to poker, and here are their favorite poker books.
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Book cover of Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

Sima Dimitrijev, PhD Author Of Trial, Error, and Success: 10 Insights into Realistic Knowledge, Thinking, and Emotional Intelligence

From my list on realistic knowledge and decision making.

Why am I passionate about this?

My core value is realistic education—learning from each other’s errors and successes, but with full awareness of the difference between the determined past and the uncertain future. We can benefit from uncertainty, which I’ve been doing for a living as an engineer, academic researcher, and inventor. I make use of knowledge and science as much as possible, but I also know that strategic decisions for the uncertain future require skepticism and thinking to deal with the differences in a new circumstance. With my core value, I am passionate about sharing insights and knowledge that our formal education does not provide.

Sima's book list on realistic knowledge and decision making

Sima Dimitrijev, PhD Why did Sima love this book?

Certainty is a black-or-white concept, either zero or hundred percent; uncertainty is something between zero and hundred percent, and this grayness is a difficult concept. In the context of dealing with uncertainty and making better decisions, I find Annie Duke’s use of poker in Thinking in Bets clever for two reasons: (1) People can engage with the concept that winning or losing in a poker game is neither exact science nor pure luck. (2) Given that poker games are so different from our everyday reality, there is no danger that people would expect decision recipes for dummies. 

By Annie Duke,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Thinking in Bets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal bestseller, now in paperback. Poker champion turned decision strategist Annie Duke teaches you how to get comfortable with uncertainty and make better decisions.

Even the best decision doesn't yield the best outcome every time. There's always an element of luck that you can't control, and there's always information hidden from view. So the key to long-term success (and avoiding worrying yourself to death) is to think in bets: How sure am I? What are the possible ways things could turn out? What decision has the highest odds of success? Did I land in the unlucky 10%…


Book cover of The Biggest Game in Town

Jonathan Grotenstein Author Of Ship It Holla Ballas! How a Bunch of 19-Year-Old College Dropouts Used the Internet to Become Poker's Loudest, Craziest, and Richest Crew

From my list on high-stakes poker for people who hate math.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the kid of tournament bridge and Scrabble players, I’ve been hooked on games my whole life. None more so than poker, which has helped me make a living both at the tables and as a writer. I’m currently working on a TV adaptation of Ship It Holla Ballas!  

Jonathan's book list on high-stakes poker for people who hate math

Jonathan Grotenstein Why did Jonathan love this book?

Poker is an American game—maybe the most American game—but an Englishman elevated it into something literary: in 1981, Al Alvarez, a poet, editor, and critic best known for introducing the world to Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, traveled to Las Vegas to chronicle the World Series of Poker. His deceptively breezy account of the larger-than-life characters who played a card game for nosebleed stakes inspired a new generation of players to discover the world’s hardest way to make an easy living.

By A. Alvarez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Biggest Game in Town as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Al Alvarez touched down in Las Vegas one hot day in 1981, a dedicated amateur poker player but a stranger to the town and its crazy ways. For three mesmerizing weeks he witnessed some of the monster high-stakes games that could only have happened in Vegas and talked to the extraordinary characters who dominated them--road gamblers and local professionals who won and lost fortunes on a regular basis.

Set over the course of one tournament, The Biggest Game in Town is botha chronicle of the World Series of Poker--the first ever written--and a portrait of the hustlers, madmen, and geniuses…


Book cover of The Long Firm

Mike Gerrard Author Of Strip till Dead

From my list on crime set in London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my freelance career as a travel writer, though I now also write about drinks. While living in London I worked for a while at the men’s magazine, Mayfair, and around that time went out for several months with a woman who was a stripper. I didn’t know that when we met, so judged her by her personality not her profession. One of the magazine’s models was murdered, and one of the staff questioned by police. He was totally innocent. I wanted to write the kind of book I like reading, bringing together those two storylines to create a fictional version of a very real part of London life.

Mike's book list on crime set in London

Mike Gerrard Why did Mike love this book?

This is an obvious follow-on from my first choice, a gritty fictionalised version of the kind of world the Kray Brothers moved in. It features the gangster Harry Starks, who is both a porn king and a sociology graduate, and has one of those great openings that grips you from the start:

"You know the song, don’t you?" “There’s no business like show business.” Harry gets the Ethel Merman intonation just right as he heats up a poker in the gas burner.

How can you not read on, albeit a little nervously?

By Jake Arnott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Long Firm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The cult bestseller that launched Jake Arnott as one of the most exciting new voices of the decade - 'A gangster novel every bit as cool, stylish and venomous as the London in which it's set' (Independent on Sunday)

'I'll tell you what happens now,' Harry says, reading my mind. 'You can go now. We're quits. You don't talk to anybody about anything. You've had a taste of what will happen if you do.'

Meet Harry Starks: club owner, racketeer, porn king, sociology graduate and Judy Garland fan. To be in his orbit is to be caught up in the…


Book cover of Everleigh’s Game

Amber Daulton Author Of Mistletoe in the City

From Amber's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Book cover designer Historian Vegetarian Cat lover

Amber's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Amber Daulton Why did Amber love this book?

I read all kinds of romance books, and this slow-burn historical western caught my attention because the heroine is more interested in creating a name for herself as a newspaperman than she is in finding a man.

Also, she’s an excellent gambler and gives her winnings to the impoverished people of her community, almost like Robin Hood. For a woman to thrive in a male-oriented workplace and to gamble, which is strictly a pastime only for men, well...this had me hooked! 

I was so worried for Everleigh, the heroine, because her scandalous actions could lead to her downfall, but I cheered for each of her successes. This is a great story about female empowerment and finding love with someone who respects you for who you are.

By Kara O’Neal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everleigh’s Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Houston, Texas, 1899

Everleigh Camden has upset her mother. She has chosen a profession over marriage. But Everleigh intends to get hitched someday. She just wants some experiences before she settles down, which includes being the secretary to an attorney, and using her winnings from nightly poker games to form the anonymous, charitable persona, "Bets Gamble".

 

However, when a new partner joins the law office, he brings his unwelcome ideas and shocking orders to help him catch the Shooter Creek Bandits.

Wade Bennett, sour on marriage and orderly to a fault, moves to Houston with the intent of catching the…


Book cover of Fast Company: How Six Master Gamblers Defy the Odds - and Always Win

Arnold Snyder Author Of Radical Blackjack

From my list on those contemplating gambling as a profession.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a mailman when I became obsessed with card counting at blackjack. Not having enough money to play at a pro level, I decided to sell a mathematical formula I’d devised for evaluating games and systems. I offered it for sale through gambling newsletters at $100. I immediately had big sales because no one had ever seen a method for estimating card counters’ win rates. I got letters from college math professors asking me how I’d come up with the math. So, I started my own blackjack newsletter where I published my discoveries. I was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2002 and soon had big investors funding my play.

Arnold's book list on those contemplating gambling as a profession

Arnold Snyder Why did Arnold love this book?

Really fun true stories about six gambling legends. Titanic Thompson never entered an official PGA event, yet made more money playing golf than most of the top pros in his era, often by beating the famous pros at their own game. Minnesota Fats never won a major pool tournament, but made so much money traveling from city to city to hustle the local pool sharks he became a legend in the Midwest pool halls. Johnny Moss cut his gambling teeth in illegal poker games in Texas and Oklahoma, then went on to win the first two World Series of Poker championships in 1970 and 1971, winning nine WSOP bracelets in total, his last one in 1988 at the age of 81, making him the oldest WSOP bracelet winner ever.

By Jon Bradshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fast Company as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this classic book, Jon Bradshaw singled out from the world of full-time gamblers six men who consistently win - the men who year after year, deal after deal and proposition after proposition come away with their pockets filled and their sense of infallibility intact.

Bradshaw follows three legendary poker players - Johnny Moss, Pug Pearson, and Titanic Thompson; tennis player Bobby Riggs; pool player Minnesota Fats and backgammon player Tim Holland. His evocation of ambience and his dramatic description of the games themselves are fascinating but Bradshaw also deftly probes their minds and hearts as he attempts to define…


Book cover of Crushing The Microstakes

Alton Hardin Author Of Master Micro Stakes Poker: Learn to Master Online 6-Max No Limit Hold'em Micro Stakes Cash Games

From my list on poker for beginner and struggling poker players.

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.

Alton's book list on poker for beginner and struggling poker players

Alton Hardin Why did Alton love this book?

Crushing the Microstakes has been around since 2011, and it’s still highly recommended. This is a no B.S., straight to the point, but also a comprehensive 200+ page micro stakes cash game book. Nathan is one of the biggest winners at the micro stakes, and he shows the strategies he personally uses to beat these games in this book. The book covers just about everything you’d need to know to start beating micro stakes cash games, from player types to post-flop strategy.  

By Nathan Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crushing The Microstakes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Million Dollar Video Poker

Arnold Snyder Author Of Radical Blackjack

From my list on those contemplating gambling as a profession.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a mailman when I became obsessed with card counting at blackjack. Not having enough money to play at a pro level, I decided to sell a mathematical formula I’d devised for evaluating games and systems. I offered it for sale through gambling newsletters at $100. I immediately had big sales because no one had ever seen a method for estimating card counters’ win rates. I got letters from college math professors asking me how I’d come up with the math. So, I started my own blackjack newsletter where I published my discoveries. I was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2002 and soon had big investors funding my play.

Arnold's book list on those contemplating gambling as a profession

Arnold Snyder Why did Arnold love this book?

The four areas of a Las Vegas casino where you’d be likely to find the most professional gamblers would be the poker room, the blackjack pits, the race and sports book, and the video poker machines. Bob Dancer is one of the most successful video poker pros ever. He’s written numerous books on the subject, has put together highly-profitable video poker teams, and is widely recognized as the game’s top expert. This is his story about how he came to Las Vegas with $6,000 and within six years had won $1 million from playing video poker. Video poker is one of the most overlooked areas of professional gambling and one of the most accessible to players starting with a small bankroll.

By Bob Dancer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Million Dollar Video Poker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bob Dancer is the best known video poker player and writer in the world. In just six years, after coming to Las Vegas with a $6,000 bankroll, Dancer won more than $1 million playing beatable machines. Million Dollar Video Poker recounts the events of those six years, with stories about his meteoric ups and downs, and lessons for players of all skill levels. Video poker is one of those rare casino games that can be beaten by a talented and informed player, and Dancer explains how it’s done. Never before has a top video poker professional shared so many of…


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

Jared Tendler Author Of The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, and More

From my list on poker that every player needs to read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a leading expert in how your mental game impacts performance. For over a decade I’ve coached hundreds of poker players, including some of the best players in the world. My clients include numerous bracelet winners at the World Series of Poker, and winners of other major titles. I have a passion for helping players become great, and many of them have climbed the ranks to become among of the best in the world. Whatever you aspire to in poker, whether it’s making some money off your friends or competing in the WSOP, be sure to pick up the books I’ve recommended—they can make a big difference! 

Jared's book list on poker that every player needs to read

Jared Tendler Why did Jared love this book?

This book is one of the best-selling poker books of the modern era despite the author not being a household name. It is a brilliant and dense primer on poker math with the amateur in mind. Other poker math books have arguably been written with a more expert tone, but this one is ideal for a beginner.

By Alton Hardin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Expanded, Updated & Greatly Improved

New Expanded Edition Includes:

More Than 150 Pages of New Material with Greatly Expanded Content and 4 New Chapters Over 75 Carefully Devised Practice and Example Poker Hands That Are Analyzed in Great Detail Free Enrollment into My 10-Hour Essential Poker Math eLearning Online Video Training Course Poker Math Is Easy to LearnPoker math is a vitally important aspect of No Limit Hold’em poker. But, it's often overlooked or simply not used because many poker players fear it is too difficult to learn. I'm here to tell you it’s not. In fact, fundamental poker math…


Book cover of Esquires Handbook for Hosts

Cas Oh Author Of CO Specs: Recipes & Histories of Classic Cocktails

From my list on the drinks enthusiast’s library.

Why am I passionate about this?

Cas Oh is a drinks industry veteran and author of the award-winning book CO Specs: Recipes & Histories of Classic CocktailsCO Specs is the product of Cas Oh’s 20+ years behind the bar, mixing drinks, managing teams, and training staff in such notable venues as The Groucho Club and the Hospital Club. Most recently Oh was running the bars at the iconic Ivy Club in London's West End, where he held the tiller for a decade before leaving to finalise the manuscript for CO Specs. Known for his obsessive approach to research and training, his book is the 'one-stop shop' he always wished he'd had.

Cas' book list on the drinks enthusiast’s library

Cas Oh Why did Cas love this book?

Handbook for Hosts is a throwback to a golden era, when dinner parties were an artform. This book covers the whole gamut: everything from canape suggestions, food recipes, cocktail recipes, how to stock your home bar, party games, conversation tips, the dos and don’t of hosting, and even 365 excuses for a party! This is the kind of book they don’t make anymore, but you wish they would. It’s entertaining, insightful, and beautifully formatted. Read this book and you’ll be a dinner party Jedi in no time.

By Inc. (Firm) Esquire,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Esquires Handbook for Hosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Original 1949 Edition! L. J. Allen, Illustrator. Contains: "316 tantalizing canape, snack and male slated food recipes; 608 Esquire tested recipes for the happy home bartender; 585 bright entertainment ideas, bar games, hints for hosts. This is the modern guide to hospitality at home." Learn how to throw a hopping party like they did fifty years ago! A must-have for every party giver, Esquire's Handbook for Hosts is a time-honored guide on how to eat, drink and be merry with inimitable style. It offers the secrets of the perfect cocktail party with the tradition, excitement and hosting flair of the…


Book cover of The Moneymaker Effect: The Inside Story of the Tournament That Forever Changed Poker

Jonathan Grotenstein Author Of Ship It Holla Ballas! How a Bunch of 19-Year-Old College Dropouts Used the Internet to Become Poker's Loudest, Craziest, and Richest Crew

From my list on high-stakes poker for people who hate math.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the kid of tournament bridge and Scrabble players, I’ve been hooked on games my whole life. None more so than poker, which has helped me make a living both at the tables and as a writer. I’m currently working on a TV adaptation of Ship It Holla Ballas!  

Jonathan's book list on high-stakes poker for people who hate math

Jonathan Grotenstein Why did Jonathan love this book?

In 2003, a struggling accountant (and poker amateur) from Tennessee parlayed $39 into victory at the World Series, a $2.5 million prize. His story, coupled with his unforgettable name – Chris Moneymaker – catalyzed poker’s explosion into the mainstream. For the next couple of years, tournaments flooded television and everyone seemed to have a story about a full house cracking their nut flush. In this oral history, Raskin, former editor of All In Magazine, collects accounts from dozens of players, writers, and, of course, Moneymaker himself, to create the definitive snapshot of the moment that changed everything. 

By Eric Raskin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moneymaker Effect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One minute, poker was an old-man’s game played in smoky backrooms and televised now and again in the middle of the night. The next minute, it was a sensation sweeping every casino, dorm room, and man cave, ready for the bright lights of prime time.

What happened? A perfect storm that pushed poker into the mainstream—virtually overnight.

Chris Moneymaker, a 27-year-old amateur poker player with a name nobody could believe was real, defied the odds at every turn to win the World Series of Poker main event, at the precise moment the twin inventions of online poker and the hole-card…