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Most Influential Poker Book of All Time

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A panel of 56 top professional poker players have cast their votes on the poker books they believe have been the most influential throughout their career. Poker Hall of Famer, Dan Harrington’s, “Harrington on Hold’em, Expert Strategy for No Limit Hold’em Tournaments 1: Strategic Play” comes out on top.

Delve deep into the minds of the world’s most exciting, enigmatic and experienced poker players, and you will find Dan Harrington sitting on a throne in the Palace of Memories, handing out tips on how to win No-Limit Hold’em tournaments.

Let's Hear It from the Players' Mouths

We asked 56 players to vote for the poker books that have been the most influential during their career. 13% handed their top vote to Dan Harrington and his No-Limit Tournament bible, Harrington on Hold’em, Expert Strategy for No Limit Hold’em Tournaments 1: Strategic Play.

“Harrington on Hold’em is the bible of all poker books,” said the two-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Andy Frankenberger.

“Starting with the Harrington on Hold’em series probably helped me out the most throughout my career,” said the three-time WSOP bracelet winner and 888poker ambassador Dominik Nitsche.

“At the time his tournament series was the most influential thing ever written,” said WSOPC gold ring winner Jason Wheeler, “I didn’t read too many books apart from Harrington, everything else I learned in battle.”

Three-time WSOP bracelet winner and author of Poker Tilt, Dutch Boyd had this to say about the Harrington Series:

"The Harrington series brought a lot of trade-craft concepts to the "public"... the idea that your strategy should change based on how many chips you have or how many players are left seems obvious to us now. And most tournament pros understood those concepts before Harrington published his series. But this series defined those inner tournament concepts better than anything released previously." 

WSOP bracelet winner and 888poker ambassador Jackie Glazier loved it so much she couldn’t stop reading it:

"I think I probably read it a total of three times in the first year that I was learning to play poker. It gave me the confidence to make a lot of decisions at the table in that first year as a beginner. While much of the information is probably a little outdated now, I still think it is an excellent book for new players." 

Inaugural Super High Roller Bowl winner Brian Rast on Harrington’s series:

"It was a landmark book in its time, which revolutionized tournament poker. These were great books that introduced concepts like M - and used hand examples to illustrate teachings. All-in-all excellent books that, at the time, broke new ground."

For some people, the Harrington book had an extra special memory attached to it. Here's Jeff Kimber to explain:

“I got him to sign my original copy on the morning of a WPT Bay101 Shooting Stars event and then knocked him out in the afternoon to collect the $5k bounty.”

Texas Dolly's Super System Enters the Mix

Not only did Harrington's first book in his three-part tournament series receive the top percentage of #1 votes, but it also received the joint highest total of overall votes with 22. Joining Harrington with those 22 votes was Doyle Brunson and the 1978 classic Super System: A Course in Power Poker.

"This was the second book I ever read, and I enjoyed it because it was more about the lifestyle of the game as well as providing helpful strategy," said Adam "Roothlus" Levy.

"Super System was the first poker book I read," said WSOP bracelet winner Nick Petrangelo. “At the time, I was selling my old golf clubs to take shots at 0.50/$1.00 while in high school. I remember reading a section on playing draws aggressively, particularly gut shots, and making a mistake nearly all students of the game make at some point: misapplying a concept.

“For a few days, there was no amount of big blinds, regardless of the scenario, that I couldn't get all-in with a gut shot. It cost me a lot of old sand wedges and putters, but it is my most memorable poker book lesson, and one that still resonates with me today. Now when I study something new, I try my best to grasp fully the new concepts I come across before putting them into play."

“He covered so many of the games and was a revelation when there was very little literature available,” said former EPT Champion Julian Thew.

"Doyle Brunson is the most historical poker player of all time," said the Flying Dutchman, Marcel Luske. "He started in the game when poker was illegal, competing with some of the biggest crooks in the game when shootings were normal. And, he is still in the game today playing with these smart youngsters with all of their electronic devices.” 

"He is a living legend. He speaks through his silence in any poker game. He is the authority at the table no matter who he sits with. He is the captain and no player in the world would dispute that."

The Best of the Rest

We handed the judges a list of 129 poker books. 86 of them received, at least, one vote. With various books tied on the same number of votes, and with no easy way to separate them, we ended up with a Top 59.

Rank

Title

Author

1

Harrington on Hold'em, Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments; Volume I: Strategic Play

Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie

2

Super/System: A Course in Power Poker

Doyle Brunson

3

Every Hand Revealed

Gus Hansen

4

The Mathematics of Poker

Bill Chen and Jerrod Ankenman

5

The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, and More

Jared Tendler and Barry Carter

6

The Theory of Poker

David Sklansky

7

Let There Be Range!: Crushing SSNL/MSNL No-Limit Hold’em Games

Cole "Cts" South and Tri "Slowhabit" Nguyen

8

Power Hold'em Strategy

Daniel Negreanu

9

Super/System: A Course in Power Poker II

Doyle Brunson

10

Applications Of No-Limit Hold’em

Matthew Janda

11

Moorman's Book of Poker

Chris Moorman & Byron Jacobs

12

Harrington on Hold'em, Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments; Volume II: The Endgame

Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie

13

Kill Everyone: Advanced Strategies For No-Limit Hold ‘Em Poker, Tournaments, And Sit-N-Gos

Lee Nelson and Others

14

Play Poker Like the Pros

Phil Hellmuth

15

Elements of Poker

Tommy Angelo

16

Ace on the River

Barry Greenstein

17

Expert Heads Up No Limit Hold'em, Volume 1

Will Tipton

18

Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players

David Sklansky & Mason Malmuth

19

Harrington on Hold'em, Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments; Volume III: The Workbook

Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie

20

Caro's Book of Tells, the Body Language and Psychology of Poker

Mike Caro

21

Reading Poker Tells

Zachary Elwood

22

The Yoga of Poker

Andrew Lichtenberger

23

Winning Poker Tournaments - One Hand at a Time

Jon Turner, Eric Lynch and Jon Van Fleet

24

No Limit Hold’em: Theory and Practice

David Sklansky and Ed Miller

25

Big Deal: One Year as a Professional Poker Player

Anthony Holden

26

Excelling at No-Limit Hold'em

Jonathan Little

27

Zen and the Art of Poker

Larry W. Phillips

28

Raiser's Edge

Bertrand Grospellier

29

Shut Up and Deal

Jesse May

30

The Biggest Game in Town

Al Alvarez

31

Devilfish: The Life & Times of a Poker Legend

Dave Ulliot

32

One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey "the Kid" Ungar

Nolan Dalla

32

The Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide

Michael Craig

33

The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time

Michael Craig

34

Kill Phil

Blair Rodman and Lee Nelson

35

Seven-Card Stud for Advanced Players

David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth, and Ray Zee.

36

The Mental Game Of Poker 2: Proven Strategies For Improving Poker Skill, Increasing Mental Endurance, And Playing In The Zone Consistently

Jared Tendler and Barry Carter

37

Tournament Poker for Advanced Players: Expanded Edition

David Sklansky

38

DUCY? Exploits, Advice, and Ideas of the Renowned Strategist

David Sklansky and Alan Schoonmaker

39

Championship No-Limit & Pot-Limit Hold’em

Tom McEvoy and T.J. Cloutier

40

Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers, and the World Series of Poker

Paul McGuire

41

For Richer, For Poorer: Confessions of a Player

Victoria Coren

42

Positively Fifth Street

James McManus

42

Verbal Poker Tells

Zachary Elwood

43

Harrington on Cash Games; How to Win at No-Limit Hold ’em Money Games: Volume I.

Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie

43

Winning in Tough Hold ’em Games; Short-Handed and High-Stakes Concepts and Theory for Limit Hold ’em

Nick "Stoxtrader" Grudzien and Geoff "Zobags" Herzog

44

Winning Low Limit Hold’em

Lee Jones

44

Treat Your Poker Like a Business

Dusty Schmidt

45

The Tao of Poker

Larry W. Phillips

45

What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-reading People

Joe Navarro

45

The Education of a Poker Player

Herbert O. Yardley

45

Small Stakes Hold ‘em: Winning Big With Expert Play

Ed Miller, David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth

46

Professional No-Limit Hold ’em: Volume I

Matt Flynn, Sunny Mehta, and Ed Miller

47

According to Doyle

Doyle Brunson

47

Unmasking the Face: A Guide to Recognizing Emotions from Facial Clues

Paul Ekman

47

Mastering Pot-limit Omaha: The Modern Aggressive Approach

Herbert Okolowitz, Wladimir Taschner

48

Harrington on Cash Games; How to Win at No-Limit Hold ‘em Money Games: Volume II

Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie

49

Strategies For Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments

Jonathan Little

49

Easy Game: Making Sense of No Limit Hold'Em 3rd Edition: Adaptations

Andrew Seidman

49

The Godfather of Poker

Doyle Brunson

50

Heads-Up No-Limit Hold ’Em

Collin Moshman

50

Pot-Limit & No-Limit Poker

Stewart Reuben & Bob Ciaffone

51

High-Low-Split Poker, Seven-Card Stud and Omaha Eight- or-Better, for Advanced Players

Ray Zee

51

Amarillo Slim In A World Full Of Fat People: The Memoirs of the Greatest Gambler Who Ever Lived

Thomas 'Amarillo Slim' Preston

52

Phil Gordon's Little Green Book: Lessons and Teachings in No Limit Texas Hold'em

Phil Gordon

53

Harrington on Modern Poker Tournaments

Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie

54

52 Great Poker Tips: At Home, Tournament And Online

Lou Krieger

54

Poker Tilt

Dutch Boyd

55

Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker

James McManus

55

More Hold'em Wisdom for All Players

Daniel Negreanu

55

Read 'em and Reap

Joe Navarro

55

Way of the Poker Warrior

Paul Hoppe

55

Pass The Sugar

Joe Hachem

56

The Course: Serious Hold'em Strategy For Smart Players

Ed Miller

56

Hold'em Wisdom for All Players

Daniel Negreanu

56

Poker Tournament Formula

Arnold Snyder

56

How Good is Your Pot-Limit Omaha?

Stewart Reuben

57

Secrets of Short-handed Pot-Limit Omaha

Rolf Slotboom & Rob Hollink

57

Sit ’n Go Strategy; Expert Advice for Beating One-Table Poker Tournaments

Collin Moshman

57

Internet Texas Hold’em: Winning Strategies from an Internet Pro

Matthew Hilger

58

Life's a Gamble

Mike Sexton

58

Don’t Listen To Phil Hellmuth: Correcting The 50 Worst Pieces Of Poker Advice

Dusty Schmidt & Paul Hoppe

58

Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker I

Jonathan Little

59

Poker For Dummies

Poker For Dummies Series

59

Check-Raising the Devil

Mike Matusow, Amy Calistri, and Tim Lavalli

59

Middle Limit Holdem Poker

Bob Ciaffone

Of the 86 books that received votes, 28 of them were voted as the #1 pick by a judge.

Interestingly, Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo had three #1 votes but only finished as the 15th most popular book because it wasn’t as popular across the board.

Books that received consistent votes, but were never considered good enough to warrant a #1 pick, were:

  • Harrington on Hold'em, Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments; Volume II: The Endgame by Dan Harrington
  • Ace on the River by Barry Greenstein
  • Kill Everyone: Advanced Strategies for No-Limit Hold'em Poker Tournaments and Sit-n-Go's by Lee Nelson, Tysen Streib and Steven Heston
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