There is a common phrase in the poker world: Poker takes five minutes to learn but a lifetime to master. There’s no doubt that Texas Hold’em Poker is one of the most popular card games on our planet. Its origins date back to the early 20th century in a small Texan town called Robstown. Since then, the game has exploded globally, with major poker circuits like the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and the European Poker Tour (EPT) bringing unprecedented coverage of the game, both on and offline.
Texas Hold’em appeals to so many card players since there is a healthy dose of skill required to be successful. It’s not a game where fate determines the outcome of every hand.
If you’re curious about Texas Hold’em poker and you’ve got a head for numbers, the chances are you’ll quickly get to grips with the game. There’s heaps of literature out there too, giving beginners a much-needed leg up. To set yourself up in the best way possible to play Texas Hold’em poker online, within live poker rooms or even with friends, we’ve got some highly recommended light reading to help you put your best foot forward.
Jared Tendler’s The Mental Game of Poker
It’s important to reinforce that Texas Hold’em poker is just as much about psychology as it is skill. Jared Tendler’s book is a testament to this. In Hold’em, you’re often playing your opponents as much as their hands. Ignoring the power of poker psychology can cost beginners a lot in the long run.
The Mental Game of Poker explores the topic of tilt and the importance of remaining emotionally neutral at the poker tables. Tendler helps you to understand that variance in poker is normal. Bad beats can – and will – happen. Learning to deal with losses as well as wins is vital.
David Sklansky’s The Theory of Poker
The strapline explains that this book is a professional poker player teaching beginners like you how to think like one. Sklansky’s book as stood the test of time for more than two decades. It’s still highly relevant today if you’re keen to develop the fundamentals of your Texas Hold’em poker game.
The Theory of Poker covers everything from the concept of bluffing and deception to slow-playing, position and the basics of reading hands. Given the many variations of poker that exist, hand rankings are used very differently from one game to the next. In Texas Hold’em, the game uses a traditional ranking of hand values, compared with some games like Badugi which have their own unique hand rankings which can take way more practice to master than Texas Hold’em.
Alton Hardin’s Essential Poker Math
In actual fact, Texas Hold’em poker is a game where psychology meets mathematics. Decision-making in poker is based on probability as well as the strength of your opponents.
Hardin’s Essential Poker Math book provides a beginner’s guide to the underlying principles of maths in poker. It covers pot odds, hand equity, expected value (EV), implied odds and much more besides. Don’t worry if none of that makes any sense. Hardin’s book strips it all back and makes even the most complex calculations easy to understand.
Dan Harrington’s Harrington on Hold’em – Volume II: The Endgame
Last but by no means least, we’ve got one of the most famous poker authors in the history of the game. Dan Harrington, himself a WSOP Main Event winner, has penned a series of books looking at the various game dynamics of Texas Hold’em poker. Harrington is well-renowned across Las Vegas’ world famous casinos, which are just one of the main reasons this corner of the Nevada desert remains such a popular tourist destination.
If you’re someone who’s more likely to play multi-table tournaments for fun rather than cash games, Harrington’s Volume II: The Endgame will serve you best. It focuses on multi-table tournament strategy, giving you the tools and confidence to adjust your style against different types of players in tournaments with large fields of entrants. There are even dedicated sections focusing on your approach to each aspect of a tournament hand, be it pre-flop, on the flop, on the turn and on the river.
Even if you take just one tip from each of these books, the chances are you’ll greatly enhance your poker game.
Do you enjoy playing card games? Are there other books you would recommend to people that are interested in Texas Hold’em?
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