There is a wealth of instructional material for beginning poker players available all over the internet, but there are some amazing poker strategy books for beginners that all aspiring poker players should study.
Sure, poker training has become its own industry, with a plethora of professionals teaching players how to win on video. Plus, there are any number of poker forums with in-depth discussions on just about every situation you’ll face at a poker table.
For anyone new to the game of poker, the opportunities to learn and get better are almost endless.
But with a few thousand poker strategy books to be read, beginners should be use books as the foundation to any poker syllabus. That said, it can be almost impossible for beginners to decide where they should begin, so we’ve put together our very own list of the Top Five Poker Strategy Books For Beginners.
Poker For Dummies, Richard D. Harroch and Lou Krieger (2000)
A lack of understanding of the basic concepts of poker doesn’t necessarily make you a dummy. But since the “For Dummies” book series has taught people everything from how to fix their car to how to program a computer, it is as good a place as any to start with poker.
This book is ground zero for poker beginners as it covers all the basics and even some winning concepts along the way. It’s perfect for our list of top poker strategy books for beginners.
The poker book is written by lawyer and poker player Richard Harroch and veteran poker author Lou Krieger. Plus, it includes anecdotes from professional players like T.J. Cloutier and the late legendary Stu Unger. The book was originally published in 2000, but later editions now include a forward by 2003 World Series of Poker Champion Chris Moneymaker as well.
It goes into everything from setting up a game at home to the do’s and don’ts of playing poker in casinos. Plus, Poker For Dummies will give you a good grasp of poker jargon, and all the poker rules and etiquette the game employs.
The book doesn’t include a lot of the advanced modern game theory practices employed by young professionals today. It may be a bit cliché, but Poker For Dummies is exactly that and a great place to start if your knowledge of the game is in its infancy.
Doyle Brunson’s Super System: A Course In Power Poker, Doyle Brunson and Others (1979)
Doyle Brunson’s Super System is the original poker strategy bible. The book was written by some of the greatest minds in the game. Brunson was joined by late Cash Game Legend Chip Reese, World Champion and Casino Executive Bobby Baldwin, and respected Poker Theorist and Author Dave Sklansky.
While there is a Super System 2 and several later editions, the original was published in 1979, making some of it dated. The concepts, though are pure, most are still relevant. If you believe in the old adage that you have to know where you’ve been to figure out where you’re going, it’s a perfect book for beginners.
Super System contains tips on Texas hold’em, Omaha and stud. The book dives into tournament poker and cash game strategy, and by and large covers all the poker bases.
These are legends giving you access to the moves that make up their own personal playbooks and a great foundation on which to build a poker education. Considering how much the game has changed over the past 20 years, anyone wanting to learn more about poker strategy isn’t going to end with Doyle Brunson’s Super System, but it is a great place to start.
Harrington on Hold’em, Dan Harrington (2006)
This book from 1995 World Champion Dan Harrington has now seen three volumes published. The book remains the best-selling poker strategy book in the history of the game.
Harrington focuses on Texas hold’em tournaments, the most popular type of poker. Even ten years later, Harrington’s concepts regarding all the different stages of a tournament remain viable.
These days, beginners might want to go beyond what Harrington teaches, but they won’t likely be successful in doing so without it.
The volumes also include quizzes where you can put your newfound knowledge to the test. This is a concept that reinforces the idea poker is a game that can be studied, with strategy that can be tested, not just played – One every beginner should grab hold of early on if they really want to succeed.
Positively Fifth Street, James McManus (2003)
James McManus’ Positively Fifth Street is not, strictly speaking, a poker strategy book. It is instead an account of McManus own run in the 2000 World Series of Poker Main Event. The book also examines the murder of Horseshoe Hotel and Casino owner Ted Binion, and is as solid an introduction to the culture surrounding poker as a beginner is likely to find.
McManus was hired by Harper’s Magazine to write an article about women participating in the WSOP and cover the Ted Binion murder trial. Instead, he blew his advance money on a WSOP Main Event satellite, ended up finishing fifth in poker’s World Championship, and came out of all of it with Positively Fifth Street.
Sure, there are some strategy concepts in the text, including advice McManus weaned by reading books by poker greats. There’s even a bit of a blow-by-blow account of his deep run in the tournament that beginners can certainly learn from.
However, Positively Fifth Street stands more as a great introduction to poker culture than poker strategy. Either way, it’s perfect for a beginner immersing themselves in the game.
Mastering Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em: Strategies to Consistently Beat Small Stakes Tournaments and Cash Games, Jonathan Little (2017)
Over the past few years, WPT Season VI Player of the Year Jonathan Little has put out several books. Little’s books cover both advanced and beginner concepts in tournament and cash game poker.
However, 2017’s Mastering Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em: Strategies to Consistently Beat Small Stakes Tournaments and Cash Games is perfect for our list of top poker strategy books for beginners. After all, unless you’re a billionaire hedge fund manager you’re likely starting out at small stakes.
Little presents an easy to follow plan for how players can exploit small stakes poker. While it’s great advice for beginners, it’s even something he claims advanced players can learn.
It’s all about a solid, competent, and moderately aggressive approach to the game that beginners will easily benefit from. Tthe book provides a basic strategy for crushing small stakes poker games. The book also identifies the adjustments needed for tougher opposition. This poker book is absolutely perfect for anyone just starting out.