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.
#11 Most Influential Poker Book
Moorman's Book of Poker by Chris Moorman & Byron Jacobs (2014)
Chris Moorman is the most successful online tournament poker player in the history of the game, with over $13.1m in earnings. In this book, Moorman analyses 80 hands played by co-author Byron Jacobs from various stages in online poker tournaments, sharing the thought processes that have made him such an icon in the game.
Here are what the pros had to say about Moorman’s Book of Poker:
"There is not a book on the market that shares a deeper understanding of online tournaments than this one," said Igor Kurganov.
"This book makes me feel like I am running through hands with Moorman personally and getting his critique of how I could have played each one more optimally. It covers so many situations and is a unique, insightful and hugely helpful format. I like that I can pick it and put it down easily and can run through the table of contents to see if there is a particular scenario I want to read about each time," said Hippodrome ambassador Kelly Saxby.
#12 Most Influential Poker Book
Harrington on Hold 'em, Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments; Volume II: The Endgame (2005)
The second in Dan Harrington’s Harrington on Hold’em tournament series starts off where the first one ends. Harrington guides his readers through a variety of scenarios including how to make moves at the table, inflection points, and how to play short-handed and heads-up.
Here are what the pros had to say about Harrington’s second book in the No-Limit Hold’em tournament series:
“When starting out the Harrington on Hold’em Series helped me the most,” said three-time WSOP bracelet winner and 888poker ambassador, Dominik Nitsche.
“The sequel didn’t disappoint,” said Dusty ‘leatherass’ Schmidt.
“I read this book in the first few months of learning poker and remember it being a real eye-opener for me, back in about 2005,” said 888poker Ambassador Kara Scott.
#13 Most Influential Poker Book
Kill Everyone: Advanced Strategies For No-Limit Hold ‘Em Poker, Tournaments, And Sit-N-Gos (2008)
Another excellent book covering all aspects, the Cadillac of Poker Kill Everyone includes early stage play, endgame strategies, and online short-handed No-Limit Hold'em cash games. The second edition also contains running commentary from Bertrand ‘ElkY' Grospellier.
“This was the last book I ever read on tournament strategy. It contained some excellent stuff when I read it back in 2008,” said three-time WSOP bracelet winner and 888poker ambassador, Dominik Nitsche.
"At the time, this book was great, and there are still some technical aspects that are worthwhile today," said Igor Kurganov.
“This is a great book with good information on bubble theory,” said former EPT Champion Rupert Elder.
#14 Most Influential Poker Book
Play Poker Like the Pros by Phil Hellmuth (2003)
Play Poker Like the Pros by Phil Hellmuth is by my reckoning the only poker book to ever make it on the New York Times Bestseller List, and yet there wasn’t a book that even came close to dividing opinion like this one.
Some hated it, others loved it, but it reached the #14 rank because somewhere along the path of a professional poker player, it created a spark of inspiration that helped turned something mediocre into something special.
Here is what Phil Hellmuth thought of his #14 rank:
"I'm disappointed that 'Play Poker Like The Pros' is ranked 14th most influential poker book by my fellow pros. I believe I have written the only NYTimes Best Selling book on poker strategy, and we have sold well over 500,000 copies of it, and it's iterations ('Phil Hellmuth's Texas Hold'em'). I think that my book helped bring millions of people into poker! Lastly, my book is filled with truth, which is why it sold so many copies."
Adam ‘Roothlus’ Levy had a slightly differing opinion:
"This was the first book I ever read and the worst. There wasn't much helpful in it, and he broke player types down into animals which were pretty hilarious. All I did was get worse at poker after reading this, hardly play poker like the pros."
#15 Most Influential Poker Book
Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo (2007)
Elements of Poker takes the format of every poker book written before it, pours petrol on every page, and then sets them alight.
Angelo breaks down his poker philosophy into enough bite size chunks to always leave you wanting more. His sections on Table Poker are fantastic, his views on the Elements of Performance revolutionary, and all with a spiritual spine running through each piece of advice.
“When this book came out it improved the less general strategic part of my game more than any other book,” said the former WSOP Poker Player Championship winner Matt Ashton.
#16 Most Influential Poker Book
Ace on the River by Barry Greenstein (2005)
For over a decade, Barry Greenstein has been handing people copies of Ace on the River each time they get lucky enough to eliminate him from competition, and do you know what? Nobody ever complains. It's an interesting and absorbing look into the philosophy of one of the most successful players in the game.
Here are some views from people who may have been fortunate enough to knock him out and get a free copy:
"This is the only other book out there which nails down what the life of a player is like. There's some great content, and the book itself is quite pretty. It's a great addition to any coffee table, and another one of my must-reads," said the three-time WSOP bracelet winner Dutch Boyd.
"Barry's book is different than most others as it doesn't so much teach you how to play poker on the tables, his book shows you how to play life in the poker world. In this book, Barry shows the reader everything they need to know about the poker world, how to make the most of it, what to watch out for and clears up a lot of common myths. Barry provides the reader with a behind the scenes look into the industry and sheds light on a lot of things that the casual poker fan would have no idea about (bankrolling, backing, makeup, loan sharking). An incredible proactive read for anyone thinking of taking the plunge," said Gripsed Poker Evan Jarvis.
“Great insight into the world of poker. still enjoyable today,” said Igor Kurganov.
“Best rounded book between strategy and approaching the game. I think reading this book at 17 made me treat the game more professionally and not as recklessly when I was younger,” said Matt Ashton.
"There's a hand in here where Barry folds QQ on AQx, which is quite ridiculous," said former EPT Champion Rupert Elder.
"I borrowed this from Jonathan Jaffe and read it cover to cover in the parking lot of a Dunking Donuts after I had just won $1,700 playing online poker at his house, and I fell even more in love with the idea of becoming a professional poker player," said WSOP bracelet winner Nick Petrangelo.
#17 Most Influential Poker Book
Expert Heads Up No Limit Hold'em, Volume 1 by Will Tipton (2012)
Expert Heads Up No Limit Hold'em, Volume 1 by Will Tipton is the highest rated Heads-Up book in our charts. His publisher D&B Publishing once told me that his manuscript was so great it could have gone straight into print - such was Tipton's attention to detail.
Here are what some of the pros had to say about it:
“This book makes you think about poker,” said WPT Champions Club member Jonathan Little.
"This was my first real introduction to game theory, and my wake-up call that the serious players were studying game theory, making game trees, etc. Reading this book helped me figure out I had no clue what was going on, even though I thought I was a good player at the time," said Nick Petrangelo.
#18 Most Influential Poker Book
Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky & Mason Malmuth (1987)
Another one of the timeless classics of poker, this time, directed at the more advanced player Hold'em player. The book covers everything from tells, short-handed play, and even psychology. It is also one of the older books to be ranked so highly having been published nearly three decades ago.
Here are what the pros had to say about it:
"After reading this book several times, it changed my thinking. Sklansky clearly documents a number of modules on the game and unravels the specifics. His disclosure on the gap theory, which for me is the single most important element in understanding tournament poker, is awesome. Credit is also due for uncovering the much used but unillustrated Stop n Go move. A must read for every & any tournament poker professional," said former UKIPT winner Fintan Gavin.
"This book allowed me to start making a living at poker," said Justin ‘BoostedJ' Smith.
#19 Most Influential Poker Book
Harrington on Hold'em, Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments; Volume III: The Workbook by Dan Harrington & Bill Robertie (2006)
The final instalment of Dan Harrington's seminal work on Hold'em tournament play. The first two books gave you all the knowledge you need to make a success playing No Limit Hold'em tournaments and this book puts theory into practice allowing you to work through 50 different scenarios involving some of the greatest players in the world.
Here is what Dutch Boyd had to say about the book:
"The Harrington series brought a lot of tradecraft 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 that had previously been released. This third book in the series is my favorite because it takes the strategies from the first two books and plays them out in a tactical way."
#20 Most Influential Poker Book
Caro's Book of Tells, the Body Language and Psychology of Poker by Mike Caro (2005)
Mike Caro's Book of Tells is the highest-ranked book on the psychology of body language in the game of poker. The book covers classic tells such as when weak means strong, when strong means weak, and much more.
Here are what the pros had to say about Caro's book:
"To me, this is the bible of poker tells. Caro helps the reader to paint a picture and get inside the mind of the opponent the moment he sits at the table. Mike doesn't start with the body; no he goes beyond that; he goes so far as to list chip stacking tells so that the player can see the whole picture. Mike then goes on to focus on every key area of the body, face, hands, torso, arms and eyes and his information is 100% accurate.”
“What I also enjoyed is that Mike added a 'reliability factor' for each tell to make it clear that some tells are easier to fake than others. Mike also reminds the reader that it's important to look for actors and to take a full picture, a mental snapshot of your opponent to get a full feel for what kind of person and player they are rather than basing your decision on one single tell (which may only have 55% reliability)," said Gripsed Poker's Evan Jarvis.
"I have mixed feelings on the content here. Many times I wanted to bash my head off a wall and burn this book. Any player that puts this theory into practice knows the feeling of going bust after making a hero call because the bettor's eyes were dilated and fixed too long on the pot. On the flip side, it's helped me form an opinion on my opponent and get insights into what player type they are. I believe this book was/is the source of success for many winning players. My emotions are mixed, but my opinion is clear, this is the most influential poker book I have ever read," said Fintan Gavin.
“Valuable information, although many more players are aware of these concepts nowadays,” said Igor Kurganov.
“It was the first poker book I ever read and gave me such an edge 20 years ago,” said former Late Night Poker winner Simon Trumper.