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Books for the Beginner


Professional Bettor
Feb 12, 2022
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Books will not make you a world champion. For that you need talent and years of intense study, whether it's at home, with us, or simply at the table. Books will, however, make you into a solid winning player and help you get most of the way to that "Great Player" label much faster than simply playing and figuring out everything on your own. We suggest you not only buy books and read them, but also take notes in a notebook or on your computer, and reread any parts that you find useful or didn't understand the first time. After reading about 70 books on the game, most of them at least twice, I have compiled a list of books for the beginner that should put you on the path to becoming a solid player.

For the completely unschooled novice we recommend:

Poker For Dummies -- Although the "Dummies" books have always seemed a little ridiculous to me this one is quite good. It starts out very basic with things like hand rankings and rules, and gives some pretty solid basic strategy advice. If you are playing limit Hold Em we actually recommend that you play even tighter than this book says, but otherwise the advice contained within is solid. If you have never played poker at all this book is for you, but those of you who have already been playing for a few months can probably skip it.

Play Poker Like the Pro's by Phil Hellmuth -- For a fairly novice player who is already past Poker for Dummies this is an excellent book covering all of the major games. Phil recommends a very tight aggressive style that we think is important for new players and covers the basic strategies and starting hand requirements pretty well. It won't actually make you play like a pro--it's a misnamed beginners guide really--but it will give you a good grasp on each of the major games. Any beginner who is interested in Omaha or Stud, but has never played before, should read this book before they start, and the section on No Limit Hold Em will keep a beginner out of harm"s way.

Caro's Fundamental Secrets of Winning Poker -- A very quick read and available for about eight dollars from Overstock.com or Amazon. This book is really a compilation of the best information from Mike Caro's seminars, and it is jam packed with information about all aspects of the game. While most of the information would do intermediate and advanced players a great deal of good as well, we think everyone should have this book as soon as possible. It shouldn't be the only book you own, nor should it be the first book you buy, but for eight bucks it's crazy not to get it.

Hold Em Excellence by Lou Krieger -- For a beginning Limit Hold Em player we think there is no better book. We do recommend that you play a little tighter before the flop than the book recommends, especially in early position, but otherwise this book will get you where you need to be faster than any other. Krieger has a great attitude about the game and we think his ideas can make you into a serious winning player. When you finish this one make sure to get "More Hold Em Excellence" by Krieger as well, to improve your game even more. Our motto here at pokerfox.net is taken from Lou"s books. It reads, "There is no luck except where there is discipline."

A number of books have been written (multitudes of them actually) about online poker specifically, and it seems that a new one comes out every week or two. Learning to play correctly is the important thing, and I have yet to read a book with the word "online" in the title that teaches you to play nearly as well as the books I have mentioned. There are also great multitudes of beginner poker books available these days, and if you find a really good one that isn"t listed please post about it in the forums and we"ll try to write a review. We strongly believe that with careful study the books listed will get you through the beginner phase quickly and smoothly. By the time you are reading the Guide to Intermediate and Advanced books you will have made enough money with the skills you learned to buy them with spare cash from your bankroll. The $1/2 Limit Hold Em games will pay for two books a week quite easily after you read Krieger"s books, and soon enough you will have a whole poker library.