Three Poker Books for the Holidays
by Carson Cashman | December 6, 2010
Are you considering a gift for a poker player this holiday season? Unsure what to get them? Before you stomp off to the mall to buy a print of dogs playing poker, consider who the gift is going to. Unless your friend has a great sense of humor, the chances are that you may be better off with a more practical gift selection this year. If you're looking for a gift that goes beyond a book, check out last year's holiday poker gift article.
A great book should change its reader. I truly believe that Professional No-Limit Hold 'em: Volume I has changed my poker game dramatically. This book focuses on teaching the player how to evaluate the stack sizes at the table and introduces a very useful concept, the stack to pot ratio, or SPR. This concept is vital to a successful no limit holdem cash game strategy, especially deep stacked poker. I enjoyed reading this book and enjoyed playing even more after reading it.
My next suggestion is a no-brainer. Buy Harrington on Hold 'em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1: Strategic Play This book should be in every tournament poker player's collection. Author Dan Harrington won the World Series of Poker Main Event in 1995. He then made the WSOP Main Event final table in 2003... and then again in 2004! Back to back final tables at the Main Event. Which is incredible. This $20 book has helped hundreds if not thousands of people find their way to final tables of their own. Volume One will help lay a great foundation for understanding poker tournaments. If you can afford it, buy all three books in the series for the complete package. Volume Two deals with the later stages of a poker tournament, and provides a more in depth look at making crucial decisions (inflection points, as Harrington calls them). Volume Three is the workbook and is filled with hand examples for the serious student.
If you are buying gifts for a math or analytical type, look no further. No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice, written by David Skalansky and Ed Miller, is a terrific exploration of how experts evaluate poker situations. You will be presented with mathematical explanations of some common poker situations, like betting on the river to extract the most value, bluffing, blocking bets, evaluating draws and implied odds. This material is for intermediate to advanced players. May I also suggest this present for anyone who would tell you that poker is not a game of skill. Give them this book, ask them to read it and then ask them if they still think poker is a game of chance. My guess is they'll concede the argument.