To be a truly great player one must understand how psychology can be applied to poker. This can be from looking at oneself to being able to read another player.
As all players know poker is a game of skill and one that can be beat in the long term, however everyone will experience short term swings of bad luck (variance) that can beat down the confidence of even the most seasoned professional. With this downturn in confidence it is common for players to start playing “on tilt” a term for when a player is often in an emotional state leading to sub-optimal poker being played.
Whilst knowing oneself and being able to play without going on tilt is advantageous, you also have to know your opponents. This can be from recognizing the smallest tell in an opponent to recognizing the various playing styles around the table. Thus, in order to improve one game and mental edge we have put together a list of the 5 greatest books on poker psychology of all time.
1. Poker Winners Are Different - Alan N. Schoonmaker
Of all the books written on poker psychology, Poker Winners Are Different would have to be a stand out. To summarize this book compares the way winners approach the mental side of poker and the habits that they practice. The book takes you through a journey as a player and guides you though the necessary changes you need to make to be a successful. This book is a must read for players of all levels.
2. The Poker Mindset: Essential Attitudes For Poker Success - Ian Taylor & Matthew Hilger
The Poker Mindset is another great book that focuses on the mental side of poker. The book begins by getting the ready to think more critically and working on the key problem areas such as handling bad beats and going on tilt.
Whilst the book focuses a lot on improving you own mental edge it also includes tactics on how you can take advantage of the mental state of your opponents. Overall another must read to improve your own mental edge and take advantage of the mental state of others.
3. Poker Tells Essentials - Joe Navarro
Former FBI agent Joe Navarro has become widely regarded as an expert on poker tells, having adapted his significant skills as a behavioral expert for law enforcement to the game of poker. This book is a collection of 15 previously published articles on poker tells, personally selected by Navarro.
Overall, the content is of a high quality and there’s no question that in reading Navarro’s books, you’re learning from a true expert. This book is sold as an eBook thus it is great for reading on the move and it is very reasonably priced.
4. Your Best Poker Friend: Increase Your Mental Edge - Alan N. Schoonmaker
This book focuses positive steps that you can take to improve the mental side of your poker game and should definitely be read alongside Schoonmaker’s other book, Poker Winners Are Different. A lot of the book deals with achieving and maintaining the proper dedication toward achieving your poker goals, which is a topic that certainly deserves great attention. If you aspire to look to achieve your full potential as a poker player and improve mentally, this book will help you get on and stay on the right track.
5. 200 Poker Tells - Joe Navarro
When playing poker correctly reading a physical tell can be the difference in winning or losing the hand. This book as per the title covers 200 tells and shows you how to determine which are genuine or not. As above Joe Navarro is someone who has 25 years’ experience in observing and interpreting the behavior of suspects for the FBI thus you could not find a better author on this topic.