Recommend me a poker book

I have an Amazon gift certificate. I want to use it on something I would read over and over, and, since I love poker, a good book on poker is what I want.

So, what do you recommend?

Brunson’s Super System II?

Sklansky’s Theory of Poker?

(Please don’t recommend anything by Phil Hellmuth - I’d hate to put money in that a-hole’s pocket.)

Aw come on, Phil’s not that bad. But you’re right not to bother with his books, not because he’s a punk but because he’s frankly a terrible writer.

Are there variations that you’re more interested in than others? I’m assuming hold 'em because everyone says hold 'em; any interest in other games? Also, limit or NL?

Super/System is rightly known as the Bible. The only problem with it is that it’s been around for so long that anyone who plays seriously has read it and knows if you’re playing by it. Which doesn’t mean it’s not worth a read. haven’t read S/S 2, but others who have indicate there’s a fair amount of rehashed material from S/S.

Sklanskey’s book is rightly regarded as another must-read. I have to admit though that I’ve been trying to get through it for close to a year and haven’t made it yet. Not really sure why that is, because I’ve learned from it in my attempts to read it.

My first hold 'em book was The Complete Book of Hold 'Em Poker, by Gary Carson. It does a very good job of covering the basics, including the mathematics of the game.

Lee Jones’ low limit hold 'em book is another that comes highly recommended, although I haven’t read it yet.

T.J. Cloutier’s book on NL and PL tourneys is widely regarded as the best tournament book. I haven’t read it but since he’s considered the best tournament player in the world I imagine it has some good things to say.

If magazine subscriptions are available through Amazon, you might consider subscribing to Card Player. Tons of good information in every issue, both on strategy and general news of the poker world.

The best low-limit hold’em book out there right now is Small Stakes Hold’em by Ed Miller and David Sklansky. I think it’s better than the Lee Jones book, in that it’s a little more robust.

As for tournament-style no-limit, you can’t go wrong with Harrington on Hold’em by Dan Harrington. Volume One is all about the early to middle tournament stages; Vol. Two (just released and on its way to me from Amazon) covers the endgame.

Theory of Poker is a must-read, but it shouldn’t be your first book on poker.

If you’re interested in tournaments, I second Harrington on Hold’em. It’s excellent.

If you want a book on limit hold’em, Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players by Sklansky and Malmuth is considered the Bible. Much of it isn’t relevant to common small stakes games, however, so you may want to with Small Stakes Hold’em. I haven’t read it, but I’m sure it’s very good.

The literature on Pot Limit and No Limit cash games is pretty sparce. One excellent book, though, is Reuben & Ciaffone’s Pot Limit & No Limit Poker. Lots of good, generally applicable theory for big bet games, as well as good specific advice for no limit hold’em and other games.

I’ve found Flop: The Art of Winning Low-Limit Hold 'Em by Burke to be pretty useful in low-limit games (I think the Rule of 8 he describes for pot odds has only really been calculated for 2-4 limit.) Still, though, it’s a fairly quick read.

If you told me that there was ONE SINGLE poker book I could read, it would be “Theory of Poker”.

Once you KNOW that book, all the rest are just refreshers, variations, and specifications. The things he says in TOP apply to every pot you will ever play in.

It’s not a “how to play” book but more of a “what’s is poker all about” book, starting from the most basic notion, “poker is about a battle for the antes” and moving up through game-theory optimal bluffing percentages.

OK, here’s what I’m leaning toward. Bear in mind that I mostly play low-stakes no limit hold’em online (Pokerstars - I just like they way it feels). I very seldom play tournaments.

Small Stakes Hold 'em: Winning Big With Expert Play, 2004, by Ed Miller, David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth, $16.47

Flop: The Art of Winning at Low-Limit Hold 'Em, 2004, by Richard G. Burke, $16.96

Hold 'Em Poker, 1997, by David Sklansky, $13.57.

The Complete Book of Hold 'Em Poker: A Comprehensive Guide to Playing and Winning, 2001, by Gary Carson, $10.17

Harrington on Hold 'em: Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments (Vol. 1),2004, by Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie, $19.77

I have a $30 gift certificate to blow, and wouldn’t want to go too much over that.

So, what 2 or 3 or 4 books should I get?

If you play no limit, get Harrington’s and Reuben & Ciaffone. Keep in mind, however, that Harrington’s book is on tournament poker, so a lot of its advice is not applicable to cash games. And I can’t recommend Reuben & Ciaffone strongly enough; I notice you don’t have any books on no limit cash games on your list (even though that’s your main game), and theirs is one of the only good ones (and IMO the best).

For limit hold’em, you can’t go wrong with Sklansky & Malmuth, whatever the book.
Out of curiosity, what stakes do you play on PokerStars? I play on the $1/$2 NL tables and some tournaments under the same screen name there (though more often on PartyPoker).

I don’t know if it’s worth buying that many. Several, in my experience, are worth just checking out from a library, catching any different points, and then turning back in.

Small Stakes Hold’em is a fantastic book, but it’s all about limit poker, as are all the others on your list except Harrington, which is all about no-limit tournaments. AFAIK, the Griffin and Ciaffone is about the only game in town when it comes to good books on NL ring games.

This is because limit ring games are much more common, and because NL books are much harder to write.

Can’t disagree with that, but if I were only going to buy one book from them on hold’em, it would be Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players. It covers the same topics in a more robust fashion; I don’t think it’s especially well-written, but the concepts are invaluable. Hold’em Poker might be a better choice for a newbie, but there are much better books available at that level.

If you play 1/2 tables, I heartily recommend Sklansky’s SSH. Just by reading this book several times and applying its concepts, I’ve made back 6 months worth of losses in 6 weeks, and then some. The book is better than the more advanced books, because it specifically deals with the idiots you’ll be up against at lower levels. So there’s a lot less on bluffing, semi-bluffing, and blind stealing, and a lot more on how to play against maniacs, calling stations, and players who’ll play any two cards

Well, my location is “The Prairie”, and even with interlibrary loan, there aren’t many titles to choose from.

Another vote for Sklansky, Malmuth and Miller. Lots of concepts in there that still apply to small stakes, NL.

Heh…I knew Otto would stick up for Phil!

Dropped in to recommend a book I got from the library: Poker: The Real Deal, by Phil Gordon and Jonathan Grotenstein. While not an exhaustive analysis of poker, it is a very good read. Along with the expected poker instruction are a lot of good anecdotes and illustrations of the points made.

I wouldn’t spend the money to buy it, but definitely read it if you get the chance.

Well, you know, home town hero and all…

Anyone seen that new Ultimate Bet commercial with Phil and Annie Duke? It’s set in a Springer-style talk show, with Phil whining about Annie being lucky. Annie calls Phil “Mister Look-Into-Your-Soul.” Heh.

As a dirty-virgin in poker, I thought I’d grab a book on it for my vacation, but the $15 I spent was a complete waste of paper and ink. :smack:

The book is Poker Wisdom of a Champion by Doyle Brunson. (formerly According to Doyle)

It’s 47 anecdotal ‘chapters’ stretched to fit 198 pages.

I found myself saying that even with my very limited experience at poker, I could have written this book.

In fact, I just may do that since I have a rather sexy title:

No-Limit Playing with Myself

Thanks to all for the suggestions.

On the other hand, Doyle Brunson has a book on online poker due out any day.

I just started reading Super System II (interlibrary loan), and I like his writing style. Yeah, I know, it could be a ghost, but he is smart man, after all. Sorry to hear that the other book was a disappointment to you.

I haven’t read it, but if you like his writing style then it almost has to be a ghost. I’ve read his section of the first Super System, and the grammar (let alone style) leaves something to be desired. Pretty good poker book, very *important[/i ] poker book, but a not a literary work of art.

Then again, it has been . . . what? 25-30 years since the first one? Maybe he learned a few tricks in that time.