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Best of Ryan McLane
Narrowing done the top-ten poker strategy books was a difficult exercise.
With nearly every great player writing some type of quick book, locating the difference makers proved to be the key. The books in this top-ten don't necessarily represent the best strategy guides available. The list takes into account those books that changed the game or have stood the test of time by still being relevant in world gone poker crazy.
10.) Phil Hellmuth Presents Read 'Em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent's Guide to Decoding Poker Tells by Joe Navarro
Former counterterrorism FBI agent Joe Navarro works with Phil Hellmuth to devise some super human "reading abilities." The back story behind this one was that Hellmuth sought out Navarro during a cold streak and found he was giving away too much information at the table. Ever notice Hellmuth's new propensity to hide his face behind his accessories and hands? I bet Hellmuth never even thanked Navarro for bracelets nine, ten and eleven, but you might thank the FBI man if his book of tells can improve your game.
9.) Phil Gordon's Little Green/Blue Books
Gordon proved he was more than just a celebrity analyst after releasing his little Green Book, a highly touted tome that is a great introductory guide for players looking to move from a casual to a serious competitor. The second release, Gordon's Little Blue Book, mimics the author's own poker career, moving from basic strategy to advanced Hold'em thinking in a seamless transition. Gordon proves he can write strategy with the best of them and that he is one of the game's premier minds.
8.) Kill Phil by Blair Rodman
Truly a book for newbies, this guide claims to fast-track any player to success, even if they've never played a tournament in their life! While it doesn't quite accomplish that, it does teach the reader about the power of the push, how to eliminate a professional's post-flop edge by getting the money in pre-flop and how to piss off Phil Hellmuth by making the tournament more luck than skill.
7.) Ace on the River by Barry Greenstein
While this book is not for the beginner, it does provide some amazing stories and insights into the world of high stakes poker. Greenstein made this book famous by handing over a signed copy every time some one busts him from a tournament. Players looking to go professional or those interested in learning about high stakes play will love this book. It's a small crowd for sure, but an interesting breed to read about.
6.) Power Hold'em Strategy by Daniel Negreanu
Called the Super System of Hold'em by some, this guide is essential for those who only like to play No Limit Hold'em. Today's most popular poker variation get the full treatment in Negreanu's collection of great thinkers, hitting on cash games of all limits and tournaments as well. The Hold'em focus allows the reader to get better at this one variation of the game, forming a better core for those intermediate players looking to make Hold'em their mastery of choice.
5.) Mike Caro's Book of Tells
Crazy Mike Caro was thinking about the "tells" of poker long before the mainstream public even knew they existed. Revolutionary at the time of publication, Caro's guide is sort of obsolete in today's highly educated poker world, but looking back at this historical work will help the reader understand why people act they way they do at the poker table, especially the new players. Ever wonder where people learned that new players act weak when they're strong and act strong when they're weak came from? I'll give you a hint. Mike Caro told us.
4.) Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide – Tournament Edition by Michael Craig
This book is an instant classic even though it was released just a few months ago. What Doyle Brunson did with cash games in the Super System anthologies, Michael Craig has done for the tournament world, collecting the game's greatest minds and passing their wisdom onto others. Since tournament poker is the world's current obsession, this book is a must read for anyone interested in that genre. Need more incentive? Craig used the wisdom he edited in these books to earn more than $50,000 online this year in addition to two 2007 World Series of Poker final table appearances.
3.) Harrington on Hold'em (All Three Volumes) by Dan Harrington
The story goes this way - Dan Harrington quit playing poker after winning the 1995 WSOP Main Event. He saw poker blow up thanks to Chris Moneymaker and said to himself, "I used to be pretty good at that game." So he came back to poker, made back-to-back WSOP Main Event final tables and wrote three of the most beloved strategy volumes of all time. Harrington literally rewrites poker thinking with these books, teaching readers when to bet, when to fold and how to get your opponents to do exactly what you want them to. These volumes were all poker types could talk about when they were released. Although their wisdom has become mainstream thinking, it's a great refresher course for the experienced and a great stepping stone for intermediates.
2.) The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky
There are some players who swear that game theory is an essential part of poker. Then there's David Sklansky, who's built an army of followers that follow his theories and expand upon his musings about poker. The creator of the two plus two message board is the poster boy for poker nerds – those people who swear by math and constantly add money to their bank rolls. Written last decade, the theory of poker was well before its time and some of the work is still ahead of its time today.
1.) Super System 1 & 2 by Doyle Brunson
There's a reason why these volumes are called the bibles. Doyle Brunson wrote the first Super System well before the world even cared about poker. His keys of aggression, position, and table reads were revolutionary theories released before the poker revolution began. When reading the first Super System, a reader might be tempted to say the strategies are commonplace, but that's only because Brunson's book made them that way. There may be better strategy guides out there, but a player who hasn't read the bibles, really hasn't started their poker education.