5 poker books to read on Read A Book Day

Every now and again we need to step away from our online casino games and do something different. The CasinoPlay crew know the benefits of taking regular breaks, following a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise rather than just wasting away in front of our screens. For South African online casino players, especially during all this quarantine and lockdown brouhaha, it’s vital that we don’t get caught up in a cycle of unhealthy behaviour – unhealthy for our bodies, unhealthy for our minds, and unhealthy for our finances.

Online gambling is a hobby, a fun activity, an escape from the normal day-to-day of our lives BUT, if we don’t take care, that escape can become a black hole of despair and bad decisions.

So, we urge all our casino compadres to take care, to take charge, and to take some time away from the games.

And September 6 is a perfect opportunity to do just that. September 6 is Read a Book Day, a day dedicated to picking up a good book and spending the day losing yourself in the written word. The world of stories and the visions of authors are one of the greatest pleasures in life, but it can also go beyond escapism. For those CasinoPlay fans who don’t really like reading, it’s a chance to take a breather from playing and start learning. It’s a chance to get tips, knowledge, advice, strategies, and more from some of the biggest names in the gambling world.

Our recent article on different poker variations led us to a fascinating book all about poker variants by Doyle Brunson and a group of the greatest poker players on the planet. It opened our eyes to just how many different forms this game can take, and how to play them – and it led to our list of the 5 poker books you should read this Read A Book Day.

Super System 2 – Doyle Brunson and others – Poker Variants

Doyle Brunson, a multiple winner of the World Series of Poker, released a book in 1979 that – even today – is recognised as one of the first and foremost books on poker strategy, play, and styles. This book, Super/System (also called ‘How I made over $1,000,000 playing poker) is still regarded as a seminal piece on the intricacies of the game and often referred to as the Bible of Poker.

In 2004, Brunson collaborated with the most notable names in poker to release a sequel, Super System 2, that went into far more detail on the different variations of poker around the world and the strategies for playing – and mastering – them. Poker experts like Daniel Negreanu, Lyle Berman, Bobby Baldwin, Johnny Chan, Mike Caro, Jennifer Harman, Todd Brunson, Steve Zolotow, and Crandell Addington have all contributed chapters to this all-encompassing work on the most popular card game in the world.

The insights are fascinating, the strategies illuminating, the anecdotes a valuable glimpse into the world of the game we love.

While Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson is rightly famous (10x WSOP bracelets!) for his aggressive pre-flop Hold’em style, this book really gets into the different and sometimes quite unique other poker games players may want to try out and is an invaluable addition to any poker lover’s library!

Super System 2 – Doyle Brunson

Jonathan Little’s Excelling at No-limit Hold’em – Jonathan Little and others – Poker Strategy

For those South African poker players who are a little more experienced at the game of Hold’em, a new ‘must-read’ has hit the shelves written by poker pro Jonathan Little and featuring a host of big-name players (Phil Hellmuth, Mike Sexton, Olivier Busquet, Chris Moneymaker, and more).

Unwieldy title aside, Excelling at No-limit Hold’em is a comprehensive resource for Hold’em players, but it does require a good understanding of the game. It’s not a book for beginners (we would recommend Super/System for those new to the game), and the advice and strategies that you will find on these pages come from the greatest minds of the game so be prepared to dive into some serious poker biz!

The first part of the book deals with the fundamentals, satellite play, lower-buy-in events, analysing tells, and stakes to give a broad background to the rest of the book.

Part 2 is very much focused on the technical side of the game. Range analysis, game theory optimisation, strategies for short stacks, and hitting that final table bring insights into the how and why from the greats.

Part 3 gets into the mind of the poker player. It takes the lessons from the previous chapters and begins to build the brain of the poker player with mental toughness, and the psychology of the game.

Excelling at No-limit Hold’em is not an easy read for novices but, for the experienced poker player, it will help you push your boundaries and take your play to a whole new level. Jonathan Little and his group of poker experts have given us what will soon become the go-to guide for pros everywhere.

Jonathan Little’s Excelling at No-limit Hold’em

Moorman’s Book of Poker – Chris Moorman – Online Poker Strategy

While the big names of tournament poker have all contributed to some outstanding poker books, Chris Moorman’s Book of Poker has a far more relatable topic: online poker.

Moorman was the first online poker player to break the $10 million mark in winnings and his book is a comprehensive analysis of 80 tournament hands played by co-author Byron Jacobs. For fans of poker who want to take their game from low- to mid-stakes and enter the bigger tiers, his insights are invaluable.

Set out in a coaching style, Chris is in a perfect position to show how or why a hand was played, and what to do if you are in the same situation. What really makes the book stand out is that the person playing the hand (Byron Jacobs) is not a ‘pro’ per se and he explains why he did what he did. Chris then joins the conversation to explain how a pro WOULD do it, and why.

Chad Holloway, Doyle Brunson, and Steve Ruddock are just a few of the poker legends and experts who have rated this book and recommended it so, for any poker player looking to make a name for themselves, it’s a great resource.

Moorman’s Book of Poker

Every Hand Revealed – Gus Hansen – Tournament Strategy

In 2007, Gus Hansen took on 747 players to win $1.2 million at the Aussie Millions. During his play he recorded every play he made, and this book is your chance to experience the thought processes and decision-making of four-time winner of the WPT as he plays his game.

While other strategy books give you advice on how to play, Every Hand Revealed brings an intimate POV into how strategies and decisions are made by the player as he sees the game unfolding. Gus, often called the “The Madman” due to his aggressive playing style, shook up the poker world on his way to winning three World Poker Tour tournaments and with this insight into his mind and psyche, every poker player can see how to take on the best in the world.

Every Hand Revealed – Gus Hansen – Tournament Strategy

Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People – Amarillo Slim – Poker Stories

Taking a slight detour from the books that will improve your game is a collection of stories from one of the most famous names in poker history – Amarillo Slim Preston.

This icon has not a few anecdotes and tales that will have you laughing, gasping, and admiring the audacity of a man who beat Minnesota Fats at pool using a broomstick, who beat Bobby Riggs at table tennis using a skillet, who won $300,000 from Willie Nelson playing dominoes, and $2 million from Larry Flynt at the poker table.

Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People is one of the greatest collections of stories from the life of a Texas road gambler and the people he encountered on his journey to becoming an American and poker icon. It is, without a doubt, one of the most re-read and recommended books in our gambler literature library and a must-read for any gambler.

“I’m fixing to tell you a few things that I’ve been keeping to myself for a lot of years. If you’re not careful, you just might learn how to get rich without ever having a job.”

Any book that starts with a promise of getting us into the moolah without effort is a winner for us.

Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People

Grab a cuppa, make yourself comfortable, and Read A Book on 6 September.

One of the greatest insights that any gambler can have is that you have to step away from the table or the slots. This is not just advice for those on a losing streak, it’s life advice for all of us. Take a step back, refocus, reevaluate, and return with a greater understanding.

And take a few hours to see your world through the words of another – it will change your life.

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