Are you booksmart or feltsmart? Do you study what approaches other players take or learn by just getting out there and playing yourself? There are for sure merits to both tactics. But if you never pick up any poker strategy books, you aren’t doing yourself any favours.
What can poker strategy books teach me that I can’t pick up myself?
Poker strategy books give you an insight into the minds of the world’s greatest poker players. And even if you fancy yourself as a great poker mind (well done you), it pays to take notice of how other people think in poker.
In these chapters, you’ll gain knowledge that you can’t get at the table. Everytime you read something by a really great player, you’re profiting from decades of experience that they’ve put in on the felt. You might not always agree with them, but someone sure does. So it’s extremely important as a poker player to take a walk in someone else’s shoes. Poker is, after all, as much about the other players as it is about your own strategy.
For for those reasons, poker strategy books are extremely important.
1. David Sklansky: The Theory of Poker
Published in 1994, this is a serious book that will run you through the very foundations of the poker game. If you’re serious about poker, it’s basically a given that you’ll read this book at some point. And it’s better for you all around if you make sure that’s sooner rather than later.
The Theory of Poker contains 25 chapters and it’s not exactly what you’d call a light read. So might be one to skip if you’re a casual player. Having said that, if you’re really into poker, this is a must-read.
2. Doyle Brunson: Super/System
The Texas Dolly himself has his reservations about publishing this book. Legend has it that Brunson claimed that after Super/System hit the shelves, players got so good at poker that he lost more money at the table than he ever made off the book.
People might raise their eyebrows at that now, that any poker strategy book could be so influential. But when it was released in 1979, it took the world by storm. It was, in fact, one of the first poker strategy books ever published and it was a revelation.
His fellow poker players contributed to the book, making it a veritable whose who of 1970s Vegas poker players. Think Mike Caro, Joey Hawthorne and many more famous names.
3. Doyle Brunson: Super/System 2
No, you’re not seeing thing. Brunson appears on this list twice because in 2004 he released an incredible sequel to his 1970s strategy bible.
Super/System 2 was a welcome update. Even though a lot of what’s in the original Super/System is still relevant to the game today, it’s interesting to get a slightly more modern take on it. The contributor’s list is like a checklist of early 2000s poker boom players, including Johnny Chan, Jennifer Harman and Daniel Negreanu.
4. Michael Craig: The Professor, The Banker And The Suicide King
Okay, not so much a strategy book, but The Professor, The Banker and The Suicide King sure has something to learn about inside. It’s a wild tale of a billionaire (The Banker in the title) playing up a storm on the felt at the Bellagio.
The people he’s playing against are some of the biggest names in the poker world. And, spoiler alert, they are not happy when he goes through a lucky streak and takes a whole pile of change from them during several high stakes games. If you want to read a book about Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Jennifer Harman and Gus Hansen getting angry, this is it.
After I read these poker strategy books, where can I play online?
As long as you’re in a jurisdiction that allows online poker, chances are you have multiple options when it comes to playing online. But if you’re trying out new tips that you’ve learned from poker strategy books, you’re going to want somewhere that has a decent amount of action, a range of buy-in levels and intuitive software. You don’t want any glitches when you’re trying something new, after all.
So for that reason, we’d suggest checking out bet365 Poker. This online poker room has everything you could want, plus it’s part of the iPoker Network, which means you’ve got lots of scope for action and interesting games. Plus, if you sign up using our bet365 bonus code, you get a fantastic welcome offer too.