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Recommended Reading

These books may be of interest to readers of this blog.  Books are listed in the following categories.

  • General Gambling
  • Las Vegas
  • Video Poker
  • Poker Strategy
  • Poker Stories

General Gambling
  • Comp City (1994 + revised 2001, Max Rubin)
    • The most comprehensive attempt to explain for the average person how the casino's determine what comps they will offer and how players can exploit that.  Not every technique presented in the book is still relevant, but most of what is described is still useful.  Even more important for people that play a lot is the idea of understanding the expected outcome (generally losses) from their play and the value of comps, cash, and other rewards that they should earn from the casino, and how to maximize those rewards.
  • The Frugal Gambler (1998, Jean Scott)
    • Describes how casino promotions, slot club benefits, coupons, and drawings can save you money and sometimes give you an edge against the casinos.  Useful to anyone who likes to extract the maximum value from their casino vacations.

Las Vegas

Video Poker
  • Million Dollar Video Poker (2003, Bob Dancer)
    • Helps understand the mindset of an advantage player.  Dancer is one of the best known video poker pro's and and effective communicator regarding the mental approach to the game.
  • Frugal Video Poker (2006, Jean Scott, Viktor Nacht)
    • If you plan to play winning video poker or just want to minimize your losses, then Jean Scott's book on that subject is the place to start.  She covers what to look for to know when you're playing with an edge and how to take advantage of that edge.  The "session bankroll charts" are also very valuable to any player to understand the potential losses they might incur along the way.
  • More Frugal Gambling (2003, Jean Scott, Angela Sparks)
    • Updates from The Frugal Gambler, including home to get the most out of slot clubs and casino promotions.  Scott's primary game is video poker, so this will be most important to anyone taking that game seriously.
  • Winning Strategies for Video Poker (1997, Lenny Frome)
    • An early effort at sharing the mathematically correct way to play a variety of video poker games.  This has since been overshadowed by more comprehensive and better presented strategy guides, but is still valuable for the number of different games covered, many of which are not discussed in other books, mostly because you will seldom encounter the "flavors" of video poker that were available in the 1990s, but if you do, then this book is good to have around.

Poker Strategy
  • Kill Phil (2005, Blair Rodman, Lee Nelson)
    • Great for new players or those looking to take No-Limit Hold'em tournaments seriously to start to understand hand values andto  play competitively while learning nuances of the game.  The strategy is particularly valuable for playing "turbo" tournaments that are common online and live.
  • Kill Everyone (2007, Lee Nelson, Tysen Streib, Kim Lee)
    • Excellent follow-up to Kill Phil featuring tips for more experienced players.  The books fit well together, as the concepts in the sequel will make sense to those who have been playing for a while.
  • Play Poker Like the Pros (2003, Phil Hellmuth)
    • Hellmuth has excelled in No Limit Hold'em tournaments, but this book covers a variety of different games and provides a good foundation for all of them.  Another good book for someone getting started in poker.
  • Elements of Poker (2007, Tommy Angelo)
    • Great for players of all levels.  Offers some strategy tips, but more about the mental approach to the game.  If you plan to play seriously, then this book is a must read.  The price may look high, but this is worth every penny.
  • The Poker Mindset (2007, Ian Taylor, Matthew Hilger)
    • More on the mental side of the game
  • Read 'Em and Reap (2006, Joe Navarro, Marvin Karlins, Phil Hellmuth)
    • Navarro, a former FBI agent, presents one of the most comprehensive book on human behavior in the context of poker.  You will find more than just poker "tells", but tips that will apply to all walks of life.
  • Caro's Book of Poker Tells (2003, Mike Caro)
    • The best known book on poker tells.  Very useful and innovative for its attempt to quantify the value of different behaviors you can observe.
  • Poker Face (2007, Judi James)
    • More on tells and body language in poker
  • The Mathematics of Poker (2006, Bill Chen, Jerrod Ankenman)
    • For advanced players to understand the math behind the game.  Important for those working on their fundamentals, particularly if you are playing a lot of hands online.
  • Super System (1978, Doyle Brunson, et al)
    • The first comprehensive poker strategy book by poker champions available to the average person.  Brunson put together an all-star cast of players to write chapters about different games.
  • Super System 2 (2009, Doyle Brunson, et al)
    • As the game has evolved, so to has Brunson's team of writers, but the formula is the same.  Bring in some of the best players in the world and have them talk about each of their best games.
  • The Poker Tournament Formula (2006, Arnold Snyder)
    • Great tips for the tournament player.  Particularly useful for those playing satellite tournaments.
  • Harrington on Hold 'em (2004, Dan Harrington, Bill Robertie)
    • A former World Series of Poker champion, Harrington parlayed one of the more remarkable achievements in the huge-field area of the WSoP Main Event (back to back final tables) into one of the more popular series of poker books in recent years.  Harrington changed the way a generation of poker players approached the game.  While the ideas are no longer novel, this book provides an important insight into how many people approach the game.
  • Harrington on Hold 'em 2 (2005, Dan Harrington, Bill Robertie)
    • This book focuses on the later stages of tournaments, where the big prize money is one.  Since Harrington has a much better than average track record in that area, you ought to listen to what he has to say.  This is worth reading and re-reading on a regular basis.
  • Phil Gordon's Little Blue Book (2006, Phil Gordon)
    • Short scenarios provide a good test of your ability to think through many different poker decisions.
  • Every Hand Revealed (2008, Gus Hansen)
    • Great insight into the thinking of a hyper-aggressive pro.  If you have trouble understanding "maniacs" who keep racking in your chips, then this is a great book to read.  Innovative for it's discussion of every hand Hansen played during what turned out to be a very successful tournament for him.
  • Hold 'Em Wisdom For All Players (2007, Daniel Negreanu)
    • Short tip for Hold 'em players.  Good for a quick tune-up of your game.
  • Power Hold 'Em Strategy (2008, Daniel Negreanu)
    • For experienced players interested in the "small ball" game that Negreanu is known for.  Good insight into the thinking of a lot of professionals who emerged just before the online poker boom.

Poker Stories

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