Numbers 1-10 Top Ranked Poker Books

Font Size

For the first time in history, 888poker set about trying to determine what were the most influential books in the history of poker.

Here is a brief summary with some quotes from professional poker players giving their view on each book on the list.

#1 Most Influential Poker Book

Harrington on Hold 'em, Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments; Volume I: Strategic Play by Dan Harrington & Bill Robertie (2004)

Harrington on Hold 'em, Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments; Volume I: Strategic Play is the first of three books many people believe to be the most famous series of poker books ever written on No Limit Hold'em tournament play.

Despite being written over a decade ago, his books they still hold a tremendous amount of solid fundamental tournament information for a beginning player.

This is what the pros had to say about the most influential book in poker:

“The bible of tournament poker,” said two-time WSOP bracelet winner Andy Frankenberger.

"A Landmark book in its time which revolutionised tournament poker," said two-time WSOP bracelet winner Brian Rast.

“This book helped me build a foundation for my tournament game,” said online legend Dusty ‘leatherass’ Schmidt.

“This book gave me the confidence to make a lot of decisions at the table in that first year as a beginner,” said WSOP bracelet winner Jackie Glazier.

“At the time, the most influential MTT books ever written,” said WSOPC gold ring winner Jason Wheeler.

"At its time, it helped to explain how to approach tournaments with solid fundamentals," said former EPT champion Julian Thew.

“This gave me the fundamentals of tournament play which I had never learned until I read this series,” said Justin ‘BoostedJ’ Smith.

“A strategy book that was ahead of its time,” said WSOP bracelet winner Tristan Wade.

#2 Most Influential Poker Book 

Super/System: A Course in Power Poker by Doyle Brunson (1978)

Doyle Brunson’s classic Super System is deemed to be the ‘bible’ of poker books by many professional poker players influenced by its contents. Brunson is the Godfather of Poker, and he emptied his mind onto paper when very few were doing so. 

Super System contains strategy from a wide range of games taken from the minds of some of the greatest players in the history of the game. David Sklansky, Chip Reese, and Bobby Baldwin wrote chapters for the book. Amarillo Slim penned the preface. 

Here is what the pros had to say: 

"A complete poker book at the time. I was able to learn ALL the games with this Doyle Brunson masterpiece," said WSOP bracelet winner Tristan Wade. 

“This game helped me loosen up my game after starting out reading Phil Hellmuth’s book!” said Dusty ‘leatherass’ Schmidt. 

"This is the classic which would be the yardstick for every poker book ever written. It's still a worthy read," said three-time WSOP bracelet winner Dutch Boyd. 

“Absolute classic. When I had nothing on No-Limit and got hold of this it like was food for the soul. Still in my bathroom to this day,” said former UKIPT winner Fintan Gavin. 

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

“It was a great way to quickly understand the game," said 888poker Ambassador Kara Scott. 

“Doyle Brunson is a living legend," said the Flying Dutchman Marcel Luske.

#3 Most Influential Poker Book

Every Hand Revealed by Gus Hansen (2008) 

When Gus Hansen entered the 2007 Aussie Millions Main Event, he thought he would try something a little different. Armed with a dictaphone, Hansen recorded his summarisation of every significant hand he played. He then went on to win the thing for $1.1m, and a blockbuster of a book was born. 

If you want to get into the mind of a player as he makes more moves than a bowl of jelly, then look no further. 

Here is what the pros had to say: 

“Gus Hansen’s mind was and still is very special," said High Stakes tournament player Igor Kurganov. 

“As wild and crazy as Hansen’s thought processes are to some, they are all so logical when penned out. Reading about and understanding the method behind his madness taught me to think about the ‘why’ behind every action I make a lot more. I also loved the birdseye view format and that I felt like I was there with him when his unusual and aggressive style won him the tournament," said Hippodrome Casino Ambassador Kelly Saxby. 

"The most enjoyable book I've ever read. Maybe, because I was playing the same tournament and wondered what the hell was he doing getting up from the table all the time and talking into a recorder. So it was fascinating to read a story you know is 100% fact and has a fairytale ending. Gus comes across as brutally honest and humble in his self-analysis," said former UKIPT winner Fintan Gavin. 

"Super interesting book that approaches tournaments from another perspective. It does an excellent job of putting you in Gus' mind and through his thought process. A captivating read," said two-time WSOP bracelet winner Brian Rast. 

"At its heart, poker is a game of tactics, not strategy. This book nails that idea down well and shows a champion winning a tournament. It's the closest thing we had to a live stream until {Jason} Somerville," said three-time WSOP bracelet winner Dutch Boyd. 

"Enjoyed this book as I read it at a time when I was moving away from "ABC" style of poker and trying to improve my game and become more dynamic. It gave me the confidence to start trying some more aggressive plays at the table," said WSOP bracelet winner Jackie Glazier. 

“A hand history from one of the best of that time," said WPT Champions Club member Jonathan Little. 

"My favorite tournament strategy book - ego-free and an amazing snapshot of what it can take to win a tournament," said former EPT Champion Julian Thew. 

“This is the book that probably helped me make the most money. I read it right before doing well at the WSOP Main Event and the Irish Open in 2008 & 2009. As a relative beginner, it was immensely helpful to see an entire tournament progression through the eyes of a pro," said 888poker Ambassador Kara Scott.

 #4 Most Influential Poker Book 

The Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen and Jerrod Ankenman (2009) 

If you want to become a serious long-term threat at the poker table, then you need to understand the mathematics of poker and nobody does it better than Bill Chen and Jerrod Ankenman. 

It's a tome of a book. The chaptered concepts are not all easily digestible. However, it is THE go-to book for mathematics for the vast majority of professionals. 

Here is what they had to say about it: 

“It’s a book that gives you as much as you choose to put into it. If I had run into this book four years earlier than I did it would have been my #1 choice," said two-time WSOP bracelet winner Brian Rast. 

“One of the only books on the list that will always be relevant. A clear winner!” said three-time WSOP bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche. 

"Mathematics of Poker taught me the theory and practice of Game Theory Optimal Play. While I don't have an advanced enough mathematical mind to understand all their equations, their intros, and summaries of each chapter were enough to get the point across. They did an excellent job of teaching unexploitable play, and how one should approach the game of poker from a purely card theoretical standpoint. They also offered great value in their appendices with an intro into why all chips are not created equal in tournaments, and how one may use the Kelly Criterion for bankroll management. This is an intimidating read, but if someone intends just to get 80% out of the book that's sufficient and requires no math background," said Gripsed Poker founder Evan Jarvis. 

“A timeless way of looking at poker," said Igor Kurganov. 

"Realising the strong math work in the game and it being illustrated clearly via this book for me was very inspiring," said Justin ‘BoostedJ' Smith. 

"Other than computers, nothing moved poker from art to science more than this book," said former WSOP Poker Player Championship winner Matt Ashton. 

"First serious effort at analysing the fundamental theory underlying all forms of poker," said High Stakes Tournament player Talal Shakerchi. 

"I started my fundamental game from scratch with this book and took the approach that no concept was too simple not to revisit. I formed as solid a fundamental base as I could, although even that is always a work in progress," said WSOP bracelet winner Nick Petrangelo.

#5  Most Influential Poker Book

The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, and More by Jared Tendler and Barry Carter (2011) 

You can be the greatest technical player on the planet and it won't matter one iota if you keep losing all of your money because of regular lapses of emotional control. Jared Tendler and Barry Carter understood this more than most and decided to write a book about it. 

It's THE go-to book for professional poker players struggling to keep a lid on a broad range of emotional and mental issues affecting their game in a negative sense. 

Tendler takes everything he learned from coaching professional golfers, mixed it with what he learned coaching professional poker players and voilà! A greater understand of the WHY behind our losses of emotional control and actions we can put in place to help reduce them. 

Here is what the pros had to say about The Mental Game of Poker: 

“This book helped me from breaking a lot of computer mice," said Dusty ‘leatherass’ Schmidt. 

“Psychological mindset benefits in poker can't be overstated," said Justin ‘BoostedJ’ Smith. 

"He has a very tactical and logical approach to common issues that breach every poker players winning mindset. Many of his theories pour over into my life as a business owner as you have to push and position yourself in positive ways to succeed," said Hippodrome ambassador Kelly Saxby. 

“Best content from a mental game book I have ever read," said former WSOP Poker Player Championship winner Matt Ashton. 

“Learning how the connection works between learning process, confidence, motivation, and fears not only saved my poker career but also changed my personal life and happiness drastically," said Steven van Zadelhoff. 

"This book was helpful in making me realise that there was a completely different side of poker, the one inside your head. It is an important aspect of poker, and I have since put a lot more emphasis on this side with nutrition and working out - also having more balance in life. A great book," said Adam ‘Roothlus' Levy.

#6 Most Influential Poker Book 

The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky (1994) 

Nobody authored more books than David Sklansky in the Top 86, and The Theory of Poker was the most popular by far. It is right up there with Dan Harrington's Harrington on Hold’em Series and Doyle Brunson’s Super Series as one of the seminal works of poker literature. 

The Theory of Poker is great because the fundamentals taught can be applied to any game, and his chapter on The Fundamental Theorem of Poker is one of the most famous of all time. 

Former EPT Champion Rupert Elder called the book, ‘the old testament.

#7 Most Influential Poker Book 

Let There Be Range!: Crushing SSNL/MSNL No-Limit Hold’em Games (2008) 

Amazon is offering the paperback version of this book for £1,310.54. But don't worry - delivery is free of charge. It was the first serious poker e-book to hit the market and the first to bring the theory of hand ranges to the minds of beginners. 

It's also the highest ranking book for two players who made their fortunes playing online poker. I highly suggest begging a friend to give you their battered old copy. 

Dusty ‘leatherass’ Schmidt called the book ‘one of the most important books from one of the best players in poker's glory days.'

#8 Most Influential Poker Book 

Power Hold'em Strategy by Daniel Negreanu (2008) 

Nobody in the history of the game has won more money playing live tournament poker than Daniel Negreanu, and back in 2008, he was willing to share his secrets with you, as were some of his friends aka Super System style. 

Negreanu covered live tournament Hold'em strategy; Todd Brunson took care of the live cash game strategy; Erick Lindgren had a go at explaining the online games; Paul Wasicka looked after short-handed online games, and David Williams also weighed in with a chapter on mixing it up. 

The most illuminating information hits you at the end where Negreanu shared his small ball strategy with the world for the first time. 

“There are some very solid ideas from the game's best players trying to lift the curtain on the deeper aspects of the game," said three-time WSOP bracelet winner Dutch Boyd.

#9 Most Influential Poker Book 

Super/System: A Course in Power Poker II by Doyle Brunson (2004) 

Doyle Brunson returns 26-years later to produce his sequel to Super System. Once again, he brings with him an army of some of the most celebrated players in the history of the game. 

Phil Hellmuth talks about Niche Poker, Jennifer Harman takes you through Limit Hold’em strategy, Bobby Baldwin covers Omaha 8-or-Better, his son Todd Brunson covers Seven Card Stud, and Daniel Negreanu gives you an insight into his Triple Draw game. 

Just to show that Doyle kept up with the times there is an extensive section from the man himself on online poker. 

Here is what the pros had to say about Super System II: 

"I learned a few tricks in this book, specifically Stud 8," said Justin ‘BoostedJ' Smith. 

“A great addition to the original," said Dusty ‘leatherass’ Schmidt. 

“Every chapter is of good quality, but some are outstanding like Todd Brunson on Stud 8, Bobby Baldwin on O8, and Jen Harman on LHE," said High Stakes tournament player Talal Shakerchi.

#10 Most Influential Poker Book 

Applications Of No-Limit Hold’em by Matthew Janda (2013) 

Applications Of No-Limit Hold'em by Matthew Janda (2013), is not a book for beginners. Instead, it's a book designed to help players who are already proficient in the art of No-Limit Hold'em become even better. It's that good; people have referred to it as the real poker blueprint. His discussion on equity calculations, hand range structures, and game theory optimal play is some of the best stuff on the market. 

Here is what WSOP bracelet holder Nick Petrangelo had to say about Janda’s masterpiece. 

“This was my re-introduction to game theory and developing a balanced strategy. This book really opened up the concepts of pre-flop and post flop frequencies; how to choose bet sizings and why; how to choose strategies vs. certain types of players, etc.” 

“ Although it’s not always applicable in game, I think it's invaluable to understand the concepts presented in this book, and I’m definitely still working on my comprehension of almost all the material. I definitely need to re-read this book, and likely more than once.”

Did you find this interesting?    

Thank you for helping us improve


Copyright 2002 - 2017 Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited., a wholly owned subsidiary of 888 Holdings plc.
Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited is incorporated in Gibraltar, which is part of the European Union.
888 Holdings plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited is licensed and regulated to offer online gaming services under the laws of Gibraltar (Remote Gaming License Numbers 022 and 039) and makes no representation as to legality of such services in other jurisdictions.
Our services in the UK are operated by 888 UK Limited, a company incorporated in Gibraltar, which is licensed and regulated by the Great Britain Gambling Commission.
Our services in European Single Market member states (except for states in which our services are provided under a local license) are operated by Virtual Digital Services Limited, a company incorporated in Gibraltar which is part of the European Union.
Virtual Digital Services Limited operates under the auspices of a gaming license provided under the laws of Gibraltar.
Our betting products are operated in Ireland by 888 Ireland Limited, a company incorporated in Gibraltar, which is licensed and regulated by Ireland's Revenue Commissioners.
Our address: 601-701 Europort, Gibraltar.
We encourage responsible gambling and support GamCare.