Poker Books Rated & Reviewed

These are some Reader Reviews and comments of our list of poker books

Every Hand Revealed by Gus Hansen

“This was a really enjoyable read for me. Gus goes through the 300+ hands that he played in winning some big tournament in Australia and explains his thinking hand by hand. A shame that he didn’t mention all the hands he folded preflop – including these would have given a better picture of Gus’ play, even if it would have made the book more boring in places

But I’d better tell you why I liked the book before I go any further. It reminded me a bit of reality television. I felt like I was sitting there watching Gus from behind the safety of a TV screen and waiting for the car crash to happen. It was also a bit like listening to Dark Side of the Moon in that it gave me a picture of what goes on inside the head of a barking loon

You see, Gus is a very different player to those that have read through Harrington, Moshman, Gordon et al. His starting requirements for betting are unbelievably loose, he has no respect for position at the table, he spits in the face of Sklansky’s Gap Concept, he never folds his blinds,… Need I go on?

This is definitely more a book to read for entertainment than one to learn from, unless
– you need a bit more aggression in your game, or
– you’re planning on playing tournaments with big stacks, long blind levels and high antes relative to blinds, or
– you’re Andrew “Gutshot” Chow from Bristol, in which case Gus Hansen is relatively sane and might be able to help tighten your game.”

Essential Poker Math by Alton Hardin

This is everything you need to know to use math PRACTICALLY when playing good poker. There is no number theory here, there are other books if you want that. But if you want the essential math foundations for your game when making tough 20 or 30-second decisions playing online, then this is the book. If you believe poker is a numbers game, at least as much as a psychological one [and it is], then get this book.

Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo

This book is unlike any other poker book you’ll read. It is not about a particular game or how to play certain cards. It is mostly about limiting your time in what Tommy calls your “C-game”. I know a guy who says, “I don’t need to read any more poker books; I already know how to play better than I do.” Elements of Poker was written with this guy in mind.

Tommy Angelo gives you credit for having a winning A-game. His point is that every minute you spend playing your C-game is costing you a tonne compared to spending that minute in your A-game. I certainly know that if I played my A-game 100% of the time, I would be a substantially better player. Tommy’s book has helped me get closer to 100% A-game; I suspect it can do that for most people.

Look, serious poker players don’t talk about Elements of Poker much because, well, they’d just as soon play against your C-game than against your A-game. But I promise you that the best serious players have this book and review it often, particularly when things aren’t going well.

Read Elements of Poker and watch your C-game diminish from your life. It never leaves completely, unfortunately, but Tommy Angelo can help you keep it mostly behind you.

And a more critical review:

This book is a little dated but does contain a lot of practical poker/life skills that are useful. His take on table and seat selection is important a bit more in depth than most other material.

Crushing Low Stakes Poker by Mike Turner

I’ve played poker for a long time socially and have always enjoyed watching it on TV but I’ve never really been the type of player that plays above the basic level of thinking i.e. “what is my hand?”.

It amazes that so many of the world’s top players make the final tables time and time again so I decided to invest a little bit of money and open a new account to play online.

Mike Turner breaks down the skill set required to play in lower stakes ($10-$12) Sit n Go tournaments and offers some really insightful information and points us toward some really useful tools that we can use to our advantage. He also introduced the concept of ICM during tournaments to me (I’d never heard of it before).

A lot of the hints and tips in here were a revelation to me, and I now find myself better informed to read other players at the table and finishing in the money more often than not. I am now making plays based on the pot odds being offered to me weighed up against the chances my hand is good.

My only gripe, and its only slight, so it doesn’t impact on my rating, is that at times this book feels like a sign posting bible, pointing you here and there for more information (usually at a cost of subscription).

And a 3-star review:

The strategies charts and maths within will give new players a very decent, succinct and easy to follow basic how-to which is what the book offers and delivers for a small price. The small price does mean an understandable and expected lack of content. 3 rather than 4 stars purely for the reason that with a little bit more effort everything within can be found with a couple of Google searches.