The Ten Most Important Poker Strategy Books and Why Each is Special
NOTE: Visit PokerNews at the link HERE to read this article in its entirety.
Following my article titled “The 10 Most Important Poker Books and Why They’re Essential,” the good people over at PokerNews asked me to compose a similar list of books, this time exclusively dedicated to strategy.
In other words, my latest task was to select the most important strategy books ever written from the many hundreds of texts which have been published.
Before I proceed further, an explanation of the criteria I used in the selection process is warranted.
First, these books aren’t necessarily my personal favorites. Read that again. They are not the books I happen to like the most, although there’s certainly some crossover. In fact, any “favorite book” is always a deeply personal judgment. Whichever poker book helps us improve our understanding of the game should rightfully be among our “favorites” Every player has different needs, expectations, and remedies, since we’re all at different levels of experience and development. For example, an advanced poker book containing sophisticated concepts might be a great primer for experienced players. But for the vast majority of recreational and novice players, something far more simple is probably needed. Advanced strategies might even be dangerous for players who don’t grasp the basic fundamentals of the game.
According to my estimate, about 450 poker strategy books are now available through Amazon.com, and other sources. Many of these books are obscure titles and texts you’ve probably never heard of, and will eventually become forgotten as time passes.
That said — any poker book that improves our understanding of the game and inspires us to think more deeply about poker strategy is likely to be well worth the cover price. Hence, most poker strategy books — even those containing some questionable advice — are at least worth reading and thinking about, even if not following the advice to the letter.
What I have highlighted here are books that had a profound impact on the game and altered the thinking of a significant number of players. I refer to books that fundamentally changed the way poker is now played. Some books were so influential when they were written, that to have not read them put those who were ignorant at a serious competitive disadvantage (much of the Two Plus Two (2+2) catalog applies here). The top-ranked books codified poker strategy as never before to the point where there’s now little or no argument about the correct decision and ultimately the right play. These master works not only helped us become better players, but they also explain why the conclusions drawn are correct.
I expect you’ll agree with some of these choices, which are obvious and irrefutable. Other books making the list are lesser known, but still influenced the game’s great thinkers and best players. A few others are more obscure titles, but still managed to gain peer respect, and even went on to fundamentally advance the science of poker thinking. There are few current titles on this list (books released in the last few years) because it remains to be seen if they will stand the test of time.
Naturally, critical and public reaction to each of these titles weighed heavily on inclusion versus exclusion. To be selected, each book had to achieve some measure of success. By success, I mean a favorable critical reception, noteworthy book sales, or both. The best books were respected by the critics and also managed to sell reasonably well.
Finally, I considered the book’s “shelf life.” How long was each book relevant? Did the book become obscure after only a few years? Or, might the book be fundamentally sound and still worth reading — even today?
To read my list of honorable mentions and the top ten strategy books ever written, check out the full article at PokerNews.com. CLICK HERE.
Amending the List: I failed to mention Ed Miller as an author, who has written 5-6 books, all of which are well-received. He’s a best-selling author and should have been included no less than “Honorable Mention,” and probably even should have landed at least one book in the top ten. Joe Navarro and his work on tells also merits mention, which was left out of the original article.