What are the classic books for learning Texas Hold'Em, off- or online? Books that every good player should, at least, know the gist of?

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    You want to know what the classic books are? Or do you want to know what the best books are? As the game is played by more and more people, the state of the art evolves, and the books that were once considered to be the Gold Standard may provide suboptimal advice for contemporary games. Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 16:37

7 Answers 7


The big four are definitely:

  • Theory of Poker by David Sklansky - perhaps the best book for establishing an understanding of poker theory in general. This one is worthwhile no matter what poker game you're into.
  • Super System compiled by Doyle Brunson - between this and its sequel, you can get a good ground-level understanding of any game. It's not something to read cover to cover, but it's a resource you should have and refer to any time you move into a new game.
  • No Limit Hold'em Theory & Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller - gives an all round explanation of no limit hold'em cash games.
  • Small Stakes Hold'em by Ed Miller and David Sklansky - it's a book based on limit, but the theory can be applied to no limit just as easily. This was one of the go-to books on hold'em before the poker explosion happened.

I'd throw the Harrington on Hold'em books in there as well for No Limit Hold'em tournaments, but Al G already mentioned them, so there's no need for repetition.

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    The Small Stakes Holdem book was really more by Ed Miller than by David Sklansky. Although I'm sure Sklansky will assume all the credit, the book was written almost entirely by Miller. Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 16:29
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    Good point, John. Updated. Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 20:35
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    Doyle Brunson's book is pure crap. He doesn't know how to write or express his ideas in a readable way. I highly recommend you AVOID Super System.
    – moteutsch
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 15:54
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    @moteutsch I said it was a good book if you wanted to get a solid foundation on other games. It's not good if all you want is info on NLHE. Brunson's writing may have a lot to be desired, but the stuff from many of the other authors is pretty darn good. You can play Razz profitably the second you're done reading that chapter, for instance. Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 18:11

This question may go Wiki at some point.

From the ones I've read, I'd recommend:

  • Every Hand Revealed - Gus Hansen - from a pro who managed to win this one. You see it all, good moves and bad.
  • Harrington on Holdem (Vol 1 and Vol 2) - The basics, and not so basics, of Holdem. A necessary start to get your M moving and your EV in line.
  • Power Hold'em Strategy - I bought this for Daniel Negreanu's section on lowball. Still working my way through it.
  • General strategy

Theory of Poker - David Sklansky - (Intermediate)

The Theory of Poker is the best all-round poker book you are going to read. It does not address the game of Texas Hold'em specifically, but the true value of the book is that it teaches you how to think like a winning poker player.

Starting hand charts and quick-fix rules will only take you so far, as being able to make the best plays possible based on your analysis of a situation makes the difference between an average and great player. It's a must read for every serious poker player.

Pot Limit & No Limit Poker - Ciaffone and Reuben - (Beginner)

This is another great all-round strategy book that covers all of the most popular variants of poker. It is an enjoyable read and contains informative strategy for helping you develop a solid all-round game.

  • Cash game strategy

No Limit Hold'em: Theory and Practice - David Sklansky - (Advanced)

This book is definitely not an easy read for beginner players, so you should only pick up this book if you already have a sound knowledge of good Hold'em strategy.

Professional No-Limit Hold'em: Volume I - Ed Miller - (Intermediate)

Professional No-Limit Hold'em is an easier read than Theory and Practice, and does a very good job of covering the fundamental strategy for a profitable game. One of the most useful topics of the book is the REM process, which explains the importance of Range, Equity... Maximize - one of the most important concepts to learn about as an intermediate player.

  • Tournament strategy (MTTs and SnGs)

Phil Gordon's Little Green Book - Phil Gordon - (Beginner)

This book is a like a collection of gems of information for the game of NL Texas Hold'em. Every time I read it, I pick up something new that I had never fully considered before. It is not the most advanced book out there, but it definitely has a lot to offer to the beginner players and a little something for intermediate players.

Harrington on Hold'em Vol. 1 - Dan Harrington - (Beginner/Intermediate)

The Harrington on Hold'em series is widely regarded as the Bible (Bibles?) for Texas Hold'em tournament strategy. If anyone ever asks for a recommendation on a good tournament strategy book, you can be sure that the question is quickly followed by the acronym HoH.

Harrington on Hold'em Vol. 2 - Dan Harrington - (Beginner/Intermediate)

This is the second installment of the HoH series. This book is equally as good as the first and focuses on endgame strategy as opposed to early strategic play.

The Poker Tournament Formula - Arnold Snyder - (Intermediate)

This book is the perfect compliment to the HoH series (above). I wouldn't recommend this book over the tournament books by Harrington, but I will say that it should be on the list of essential reading for anyone looking to play solid tournament poker.

Kill Everyone - Lee Nelson - (Intermediate)

This is the sequel to the widely acclaimed Kill Phil book (not actually written by Phil Helmuth), which had outlined basic strategy for a good preflop game in Hold'em tournaments. This book takes it up a level, and contains more advanced information on how to play later streets. This book covers both MTT and SnG strategy.

Sit 'n Go Strategy - Colin Moshman - (Beginner/Intermediate)

As you would expect, this book focuses on the Sit 'n Go tournament structure as opposed to the larger MTT games. I believe that this is the best NL SNG specific strategy book out there, with the book being packed with quality strategy and very informative hand examples.


Building a bankroll. If you want to play modern poker online for cash, "building a bankroll" is the book. You will find all the other poker books wrote on this argument until now superficials. It is not for beginner players, you must have a good knowledge of the theory of texas hold'em.


When I started playing 6max cash games seriously a few years ago I found this freely available eBook as a very useful tool in helping me learn perhaps the most prevalent concepts in the games even today. The link is to a PDF copy of the book.

Ryan Fee's 6 Max NL Strategy Guide


One typically not considered is Play Poker Like the Pros by Phil Hellmuth. Despite his reputation and attitude, this first book by him is really a top down look at the absolute basics. It's a strong starting book that is well complimented by the advanced books which all assume you've read a basic book already.

  • The problem I found with Phil-the-author (Disclaimer: I have not read this one) was that he tried to bring too much 'brat' into the book and ended up cloaking good information in unnecessary attitude.
    – AlG
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 23:27
  • It was a concern when I was looking for a book, but this early entry from him seems to have him with his "Brat down". Good information. Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 4:08
  • IMO this book was terrible. Not for PH's attitude, but for his advice. He advocates a weak-tight style that limit's a players ability to win or to learn. I would stay away from this book. Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 16:31

Texas Holdem for advanced players by David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth This was the bible for limit Holdem player in the late eighties on. It is about playing limit texas Hold-em, but still a must read for players.

The Book of tells by Mike Caro. Not exclusive to hold-em, but a must have for every poker player. Classic and forever relevant.

Super System By Doyle Brunson. I saw a few comments about it not being that great, maybe, maybe not. However, every great player has read it and most every serious player has read it, these are your opponents, and a read of SS will help you understand them.

You should read any poker book that is popular. You may or may not get something new out of the book, however players are learning the latest things, and you will reckonize occasionally that a player is playing by a particular book, great stuff to know.

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