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Learn Poker and Its Intricacies Reading These Cerebral Books

Learn to put a poker face, and game, like a pro.

You’ve seen them on TV. You’ve seen them online. And you’ve probably seen them at the casino in real life. Maybe even played (and lost) with them a bit. Professional poker players are nothing short of warriors waging silent psychological war against one another across the poker table.

Their faces, trained to be petrified expressionless masks to ensure that anyone sitting across them has zero insight on what is going on inside their heads. And also to occasionally give misdirecting signals to lure them into a false sense of security.

Learning the rules of poker cards is just but a tiny bit of what learning to play real poker entails. 90% of the game is nothing more than messing with the other guys’ heads. It is a deep psychological science that these books deal with in detail. Plus, by reading them you’ll know who’s bullsh*tting you in real life too.

#1 The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky

The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky
This is the seminal introduction to poker theory, covering all the main different formats of the game. It is a challenging read, but is an intellectually rigorous book that has stood the test of time as a leader of the industry. To coincide with the 20th anniversary of it being published, the author is publishing a new volume which focuses on No Limit Hold’em, the dominant version of the game played today.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#2 The Psychology of Poker by Alan N. Schoonmaker

The Psychology of Poker by Alan N. Schoonmaker
I have read about 20 books on poker and I this this one helped me the most because it does a deep dive into understanding your opponent’s mental processes and predicting their actions by studying how they think. It teaches how to profile people based upon appearance and conduct (both poker play and non-play actions), make assumptions about their theory of how to play poker, revise your ‘profile’ as you study them, read them using the profile and then manipulate their actions and/or adjust your play to exploit their weaknesses. It is without a doubt one of the most advanced poker books I have read.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#3 Professional No-Limit Hold ’em by Matt Flynn

Professional No-Limit Hold 'em by Matt Flynn
It’s an outstanding introduction to the key concepts of No Limit Hold’em. With study and hard work, this book will be a useful tool to take a beginner who is familiar with the rules to becoming a competitive player.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#4 Education of a Poker Player by Herbert O. Yardley

Education of a Poker Player by Herbert O. Yardley
The Education of a Poker Player by Herbert O. Yardley. Poker skills aside, this is a great read. The book follows Yardley’s career from 1905 through both world wars and is a great character and historical saga. Each chapter is built around a particular type of game: 5 Card Draw, 5 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud, various kinds of Low Ball etc. At the end of each chapter there is a strategic outline for each kind of poker. Anyone who reads and digests this book is going to become a much better player.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#5 Texas Hold’em Tournament Tactics by Brian Shell

Texas Hold'em Tournament Tactics by Brian Shell
When studying poker books and winning numerous tournaments, a need for tournament-only tactics is the reason I wrote this book. Everyone starts equal.. As the blinds increase, the strategy changes. This book tackles those changing poker strategies as the tournament progresses towards an overall winner. It also contains a unique chapter on poker table etiquette – a fan favourite.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

Contributors to this article
Michael Josem from MichaelJosem

Paul H. Cannon from Simmons and Fletcher, P.C.

Michael Josem from MichaelJosem

Ben Bryant from Ben Bryant Production Services

Brian Shell from PassionHero

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