Books on Poker Mindset and Psychology

In poker, mastering psychology is as vital as technical skills. Many books by experts explore this, offering strategies to manage emotions, deal with tilt, and develop a winning mindset. They teach mental toughness, focus, and optimal decision-making under pressure. From ego awareness to growth mindset, these books are essential for players seeking long-term success.

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    Total Poker

    By: David Spanier

    Total Poker explores the analysis, clever tactics, and inspired bluffing that are essential to the game, but ultimately, winning at poker is a “psychological decision” made by each player, as the author maintains. Luck evens out for everyone, rendering the concept of “good cards” or “bad cards” meaningless. This book, packed with stories about the application of poker to life in general, explores the game’s history, culture, techniques, strategies, rules, and probabilities.


    Poker and More

    By: David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth
    Subtitle: Unique Ideas and Concepts: Strategy. Game Theory. and Psychology from Two Renowned Gambling Experts

    Poker strategy evolves with changing trends, but fundamental principles persist. David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth have been contributing essays to Two Plus Two Online Poker Strategy Magazine since 2005, aiming to enhance players’ understanding and skills. In Poker and More, they explore topics such as bluffing, game theory, and psychology, offering insights for modern poker. From handling future bets to analyzing the psychology behind the game, their book covers essential strategies for players of all levels.

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    Killer Poker Hold’em Handbook

    By: John Vorhaus
    Subtitle: Hold'Em Handbook, a Workbook for Winners

    Vorhaus teaches you how to play smart, fearless hold’em and turn every session into a winner. Through problem-solving exercises and drills, he shows you how to read other players’ tells, exploit their flaws, and close the holes in your game. Learn to attack new players before they get comfortable, use a “fakiac” image to appear like a maniac even when you’re not, and capitalize on the mistakes of others. Additionally, discover how to profit from loose raises, avoid loose calls, and effectively handle super-aggressive players.

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    Your Worst Poker Enemy

    By: Alan N. Schoonmaker
    Subtitle: Master The Mental Game

    This book explores the psychological pitfalls that can hinder your poker game. They discuss common mistakes like playing hands you should fold, letting emotions affect your game, and playing when you’re off your game. The book helps you identify and correct these mistakes, using your existing poker knowledge. It also covers topics like intuition vs logic, self-evaluation, unconscious and emotional factors, adapting to changes, and stress management.

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    Beyond Tells

    By: James McKenna
    Subtitle: Power Poker Psychology

    Beyond Tells is about understanding and mastering the psychological aspects of poker. Tells are the subtle cues and behaviors that players exhibit at the table, often unconsciously, that can reveal information about their hand or their intentions. The book aims to help players improve their poker game by teaching them how to read their opponents’ tells, control their own tells, and use this information to make better decisions at the table. It covers topics such as body language, betting patterns, and emotional control, and provides practical advice and strategies for incorporating these psychological elements into one’s poker game.

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    The Poker Hero

    By: Florian Roßner
    Subtitle: How to Survive, Fight, and Succeed in the modern Poker World

    The Poker Hero provides insights, strategies, and advice on how to succeed in the competitive world of poker. The author shares his experiences and knowledge gained from years of playing poker professionally, and offers tips on how to improve one’s game, make better decisions, and ultimately become a successful poker player. The book covers various aspects of poker, including understanding the game’s psychology, managing one’s bankroll, and developing a winning mindset. It also discusses the importance of discipline, patience, and continuous learning in order to thrive in the ever-evolving poker landscape.


    Inside the Poker Mind

    By: John Feeney, David Sklansky
    Subtitle: Essays on Hold 'em and General Poker Concepts

    Mastering all the skills of poker, such as hand selection, playing position, image projection, and hand reading, is essential to becoming a proficient player. However, even those who have honed these skills often struggle, barely winning at lower limits. Their performance typically worsens when they compete against superior players at higher limits. The key is not just acquiring these skills, but effectively integrating them. This book aims to demonstrate that success in poker requires strategic thinking and a systematic approach to the game.

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    Machiavellian Poker Strategy

    By: David Apostolico
    Subtitle: How to Play Like a Prince and Rule the Poker Table

    In Tournament Poker And The Art Of War, David Apostolico effectively applied traditional strategic principles to enhance his readers’ poker abilities. He now presents a poker guide inspired by the teachings of Niccolo Machiavelli, whose enduring tactical masterpiece, The Prince, serves as the catalyst for Apostolico’s assured instruction. Readers are taught to embrace the mentality of a strong leader, playing with discipline and foresight to take advantage of their opponents’ weaknesses and capitalize on their errors.

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    Inside the Poker Mind

    By: David Sklansky, John Feeney
    Subtitle: Essays on Hold 'em and General Poker Concepts

    Mastering all the skills of poker, including hand selection, playing position, image projection, and hand reading, is essential to becoming an expert. However, many players who have these skills still struggle, especially when playing against superior opponents. The key is not just having the skills, but effectively integrating them. This book will demonstrate that winning at poker requires strategic thinking and a systematic approach to the game.

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    Beyond Bluffs

    By: James McKenna
    Subtitle: Master the Mysteries of Poker

    In “Beyond Bluffs,” James A. McKenna, a poker columnist and psychotherapist, guides you to enhance your poker strategy by mastering the art of reading your opponents as well as you do your cards. By acquiring these advanced interpersonal skills, you will be adept at identifying when an opponent is bluffing and deciding on the most effective bluffs to counter with. Furthermore, you’ll gain the ability to anticipate the thought processes and reactions of various player types in any gaming scenario, all by playing your opponents with the same expertise as you play your hand.

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    Your Best Poker Friend

    By: Alan N. Schoonmaker
    Subtitle: Increase Your Mental Edge and Maximize Your Profits

    In “Your Worst Poker Enemy,” Schoonmaker reveals the aspects of poker that extend beyond the physical table, focusing on the psychological battle involved. “Your Best Poker Friend” elevates the discussion, moving past mere tricks and strategies. This book explores the depths of the player’s mind, emphasizing that the key ally in poker is, in fact, the player themselves. Written in a clear and engaging manner, it equips every player with the knowledge they need to achieve a royal flush.


    Treat Your Poker Like a Business

    By: Dusty Schmidt

    Treat Your Poker Like a Business offers insights and strategies for poker players to approach the game with an entrepreneurial mindset rather, than just a casual pastime. This guide covers aspects of poker including effective bankroll management, smart game selection maintaining mental and emotional control and planning for long term success. Drawing from his career as a professional player Schmidt generously shares his experiences and knowledge to help fellow players optimize their potential and profits. The book emphasizes the significance of discipline, work and adopting a business oriented approach in order to thrive amidst competition, within professional circles. It caters to both players who aspire to elevate their game to new heights while considering poker as a viable source of income.

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    How to Play Winning Poker

    By: Avery Cardoza

    This updated starter guide is ideal for beginners aiming to win at poker tournaments and cash games. It covers all popular poker games, online poker, 21 key poker concepts, 15 bluffing concepts, and using psychology and body language. Handy charts included.

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    Poker Isometrics

    By: Anton Drake
    Subtitle: And Poker Fitness

    Poker Isometrics And Poker Fitness explores the importance of physical well being for poker players aiming to boost their performance at the poker table. The book introduces “Poker Isometrics,” a combination of physical exercises meant to enhance focus, discipline and stamina. These exercises aim to help players stay calm and attentive during poker sessions reduce stress levels and improve decision making abilities. Additionally the book provides insights on maintaining a diet engaging in exercise routines and adopting sleep habits to support overall wellness and optimize performance, in the game of poker.


    The Poker MBA

    By: Greg Dinkin, Jeffrey H. Gitomer
    Subtitle: Winning in Business No Matter What Cards You're Dealt

    The Poker MBA: Winning in Business No Matter What Cards You’re Dealt is a book that uses poker as a metaphor to teach valuable business and life lessons. The book draws parallels between the strategies and skills used in poker and those required to succeed in the business world. It covers topics such as risk management, decision-making, negotiation, reading people, and managing emotions. The author shares insights and anecdotes from his own experiences as a professional poker player and entrepreneur, as well as interviews with successful business leaders and poker players. The book aims to help readers develop a winning mindset and apply poker strategies to their professional and personal lives.


    The Mental Game of Poker 2

    By: Jared Tendler
    Subtitle: Proven Strategies for Improving Poker Skill, Increasing Mental Endurance, and Playing in the Zone Consistently

    Imagine the advantage you’d gain if you could consistently play poker in the zone, making the right decisions, instinctively knowing when to bluff, and remaining unfazed by a losing hand. Many poker players occasionally experience this state of mind, but struggle to maintain it. The Mental Game of Poker 2, by respected poker mental game coach Jared Tendler, provides actionable steps to help players achieve this state consistently. Tendler simplifies the concept of the zone, bringing logic and order to it for the first time. His straightforward, tested approach can help you play at levels you never thought possible. The book offers strategies to improve decision making, increase focus and discipline, and eliminate mistakes. In today’s competitive poker environment, this book equips you with the tools to excel. It builds on the psychological strategies from Tendler’s first book, The Mental Game of Poker, which has helped thousands of players improve their game.

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    Million Dollar Hold’em

    By: Johnny Chan
    Subtitle: Limit Cash Games

    Johnny Chan, a regular victor against the world’s top players, demonstrates how to consistently earn money at limit hold’em, poker’s most favored game. Players are given a chance to understand the mindset of a champion as Johnny selects representative hands and explains his strategic thinking through betting and bluffing. No other book provides such comprehensive insight into the decision-making process of playing a hand, exploring different strategies that could have been employed, and the optimal approach to winning poker game after game.

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    The Poker Mindset

    By: Ian Taylor, Mathew Hilger

    The Poker Mindset is about the mental and psychological aspects of poker. It aims to help poker players develop the right mindset and attitude to be successful in the game. The book covers topics such as emotional control, discipline, risk management, and understanding the long-term nature of poker. It provides insights, strategies, and techniques to help players improve their mental game, make better decisions, and ultimately become more profitable and successful poker players.


    Decide to Play Great Poker

    By: Annie Duke
    Subtitle: A Strategy Guide to No-Limit Texas Hold ’Em

    Great poker players always say, “It depends.” This can be frustrating, but it’s true. The secret to poker mastery lies in understanding what it depends on. Now, there’s a book that provides this insight. Poker involves numerous factors: table position, flop texture, player count, opponent personalities, etc. ‘Decide to Play Great Poker’ helps you identify and analyse these factors, apply them to game situations, and gain confidence in any poker scenario. Instead of providing occasional rules, this book guides you to become a strategic poker thinker. Contrary to popular belief, poker’s goal isn’t to make money, but to make good decisions. Money is just a measure of how well you’re achieving this. Ready to make world-class decisions and reap their rewards? Choose to Play Great Poker now and never be puzzled by “it depends” again.

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    The Psychology of Poker

    By: Alan N. Schoonmaker

    Poker requires mastering various skills and strategies like hand selection, bluffing, and reading hands. Success isn’t about natural instincts, but understanding psychological factors that influence your and your opponents’ gameplay. Dr. Schoonmaker’s text explores why players adopt certain tactics and suggests adjustments for improved results and enjoyment.


    How to Be a Poker Player

    By: Haseeb Qureshi
    Subtitle: The Philosophy of Poker

    This book is about the mindset, strategies, and philosophies behind becoming a successful poker player. The author, a former professional poker player, shares his insights and experiences to help readers understand the game on a deeper level and improve their skills. The book covers topics such as understanding the psychology of poker, developing a strong mental game, mastering poker strategy, and learning from mistakes. It aims to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the game and the tools needed to become a winning poker player.


    The Education of a Poker Player

    By: Herbert O. Yardley
    Subtitle: High Stakes Poker

    The Education of a Poker Player (High Stakes Poker) by Herbert O. Yardley is a book about poker strategy, tactics, and the psychology of the game. It was first published in 1957 and has since become a classic in the world of poker literature. The book is divided into two parts: the first part focuses on Yardley’s own experiences and education in poker, while the second part provides detailed analysis and advice on various aspects of the game, such as reading opponents, bluffing, and calculating odds. Yardley, a former codebreaker and intelligence officer, applies his analytical skills to the game of poker, offering insights and tips that have proven valuable to both amateur and professional players.


    The Greatest Book of Poker for Winners!

    By: George Epstein

    “The Greatest Book of Poker for Winners!” by George Epstein is a comprehensive guide to poker, aimed at helping players improve their skills and become consistent winners. The book covers various aspects of poker, including the basics of the game, strategies, tactics, and the psychology of poker. It also provides tips on reading opponents, managing your bankroll, and making the most of your opportunities at the table. The author, George Epstein, is an experienced poker player and writer, and he shares his knowledge and insights to help readers become successful poker players.

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    The Mental Game of Poker

    By: Jared Tendler

    The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler focuses on the psychological aspects of poker and how to improve one’s mental game to become a better poker player. The book covers various topics such as emotional control, focus, discipline, decision-making, and handling pressure. It provides strategies, techniques, and practical advice to help poker players overcome mental obstacles, develop a strong mindset, and ultimately improve their overall performance at the poker table. The book is designed for poker players of all skill levels, from beginners to professionals, who want to gain a mental edge over their opponents and achieve long-term success in the game.


    Poker Winners Are Different

    By: Alan N. Schoonmaker

    Winning at poker requires mastering specific attitudes and habits, not just playing well. Dr. Schoonmaker, a poker expert, explains the key skills needed to win, including risk and information management, discipline, decision-making, focus, information control, emotional reaction control, and decisiveness. By learning these skills, you can play confidently and win more often. Dr. Schoonmaker, a Ph.D. holder in psychology from UC Berkeley, is a distinguished author and columnist with teaching and research experience at UCLA, Carnegie-Mellon, and Belgium’s Catholic University of Louvain. He resides in Las Vegas.

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    Positive Poker

    By: Jonathan Little, Patricia Cardner
    Subtitle: A Modern Psychological Approach to Mastering Your Mental Game

    Patricia Cardner, a psychology professor, licensed counselor, and avid poker player, conducted interviews with a specific group of professional poker players. These players all had two things in common: they had been successful for many years and had lifetime winnings exceeding $1,000,000. Patricia then analyzed the data from these interviews to identify the psychological skills, techniques, and strategies they employed.


    Real Poker Psychology

    By: Mason Malmuth

    In recent years, a wealth of new insights has emerged in the field of poker psychology. This aspect of poker, while less strategic, is crucial to overall success in the game, leading to the rise of mental coaching. Poker, a game rooted in probability, can mislead many players due to its counterintuitive nature and significant short-term luck factor. Therefore, psychological tools are believed to be necessary for effective play. However, a comprehensive understanding of poker, including strategic principles, counterintuitiveness, and the luck factor, can typically resolve all issues. In his book, Real Poker Psychology, Mason Malmuth, a professional player and author of numerous poker and gambling books, offers a unique perspective on the game’s psychological aspects. His approach differs from other works in the field, leading to unique conclusions. The book covers a wide range of topics, including Variance, Tilt, Craving Action, and more.


    Poker Nation

    By: Andy Bellin
    Subtitle: A High-Stakes, Low-Life Adventure into the Heart of a Gambling Country

    Poker Nation is a captivating journey into the world of competitive poker, exploring the obsession, addiction, and the mathematics behind the game. The book takes readers from basement games to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. It offers insights into card counting, reading player’s body language, and handling losses. Bellin’s vivid descriptions of the diverse players and behind-the-scenes action in illegal poker clubs keep readers engaged. The book also provides valuable tips on playing Texas Hold’em, the preferred game for high-stake players.

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    Peak Poker Performance

    By: Jonathan Little, Patricia Cardner
    Subtitle: How to Bring Your 'A' Game to Every Session

    Chip Reese, one of the greatest poker players of all time, once told Mike Sexton that his success was due to his superior psychological control over his play compared to his opponents. He explained that while his opponents might be as good as him when they’re at their best, they also have moments of weakness that he doesn’t. This book, Peak Poker Performance, will teach you how to emulate Reese’s mental strength. Dr. Patricia Cardner, in collaboration with Jonathan Little, provides specific strategies and guidelines that can improve your performance and mental state. These strategies, which have been proven to work with hundreds of poker players at various levels, can help you create an unbeatable mindset, handle downswings, eliminate procrastination, improve motivation, and master your emotions. This book is a follow-up to Cardner’s first book, Positive Poker, and uses the latest research to help you achieve better results in poker and in life.


    Poker Wisdom of a Champion

    By: Doyle Brunson

    Discover the secrets of becoming an exceptional poker player by exploring the mindset of poker champion, Doyle Brunson. Engrossing tales and escapades from his initial career playing poker in roadhouses are woven with insights from the champion who has earned the most from poker in history. Understand the workings of a successful player, their game strategy, and gain honest, impactful guidance from the legend himself.


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