Best Poker Books of 2018: These Reads Made Us Think, Marvel, and Play Better

4 min read

You may think that it’s all been said and done already when it comes to poker literature, but you’d be wrong.

From strategy to stories, from the pros to the Joes, 2018 brought some of the most unique and compelling poker content we’ve seen in years.

We kick off our look back at the best of 2018 with what was the highlight of the year, as poker journalist Lance Bradley brought us a poker tomb filled with wit and wisdom from the game’s elite.

The Pursuit of Poker Success, by Lance Bradley

The Pursuit of Poker Success

by Lance Bradley

Bradley’s book offers up an intensively comprehensive cross section of the state of poker today.

The grizzled poker journalist, who is the current editor in chief at Pocket Fives, compiled interviews from 50 of the game’s best and brightest. The result is an easy-to-read compendium which covers everything from strategy, to behind-the-scenes stories, to life wisdom which goes beyond the felt.

Don’t care about how Erik Seidel has maintained success through all these decades? Then flip to the section on how Adrian Mateos primed himself for poker success from the age of 14. Not interested in hearing about George Danzer’s sage life advice? You could instead check out the chapter on how Justin Bonomo went from being branded as a cheater to the top of the high-stakes poker world.

“I wanted to get into the nitty gritty of the things these people do on a day-to-day basis that allow them to be one of the elite,” author Lance Bradley.

It’s one of the few poker books ever written which truly offers something for everyone.

Mastering Mixed Games, by TK

Mastering Mixed Games

by David Macklin

While good ol’ Texas Hold’em isn’t going anywhere, mixed games have seen a bump in popularity in recent years. Yet we haven’t really seen a corresponding increase in the quantity and quality of mixed game content being released.

Poker professional and mixed-game specialist David Macklin has penned what is perhaps the best – and certainly the most current – look at mixed games since Doyle Brunson’s Super System 2 was released in 2005. The author offers up-to-date strategies on the entire H.O.R.S.E. roster, begging with basic concepts for each game before ramping up into advanced strategy.

A must read for anyone looking bored with Hold’Em and looking to build their overall poker skill set.

Bluff, a novel by Jane Stanton Hitchcock


by Jane Stanton Hitchcock

If you liked Molly’s Game, either the book or the movie, “Bluff” is one to add to your reading list.

Unlike Molly’s Game, “Bluff” – which was the number one poker book on Amazon in 2018 – is pure fiction. This novel follows the travails of a New York socialite as she bluffs her way into the city’s biggest poker games to exact revenge on her enemies.

A twisting tale full of unexpected turns and surprises, “Bluff” is a suspense novel set to the backdrop of New York’s high-stakes poker scene and makes for a worthy diversion from hardcore strategy content.

Thinking in Bets, by Annie Duke

Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts

by Annie Duke

No stranger to producing poker content, poker veteran Annie Duke released her fifth book early in the year.

In “Thinking in Bets,” the former World Series of Poker (WSOP) champion lays bare her process for not only making the best decisions with limited information, but also for learning how to live with your choices, regardless of the result. Drawing on wisdom from the sports world, along with her own extensive experience, Duke has penned a blueprint for successful long-term decision making in poker.

“This is not a book about poker strategy or gambling. It is, however, about things poker taught me about learning and decision-making,” Duke writes in the introduction.

Vegas or Bust, by Johnny Kampis

Vegas or Bust: A Family Man Takes on the Poker Pros

by Johnny Kampis

Watching the high-stakes crushers play for tens of millions may be entertaining, but it’s not exactly the most relatable experience for the average poker player. Enter Johnny Kampis and his first poker book, which looks at how the poker world has changed since his WSOP Main Event run in 2006.

Kampis chronicles his return to the game which he’d strayed away from following Black Friday. Only this time, he’s bringing his wife and two kids along for his six-week, cross-country pilgrimage back to the WSOP in Las Vegas.

Filled with tournament tactics and tales, “Vegas or Bust” offers a unique take on the state of today’s poker landscape through the eyes of a family man.

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