What I’m Currently Reading/Studying
- Easy Game by Andrew Seidman
- The Achievement Habit by Bernard Roth
- The Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba
Poker Books – The Mental Game
- Positive Poker and Peak Poker Performance by Dr. Tricia Cardner and Jonathan Little
- Full disclosure here, Dr. Cardner is one of my coaches. But the reason she is one of my coaches is because I found her book Positive Poker to be so helpful, engaging, and enlightening. Cardner takes a different approach from most other mental game experts and backs up her theories with specifics on how the brain works and how you can train your brain to perform at its peak. Another great thing Cardner does is include worksheets on her website that you can download and work through while you read the book. If you take the worksheets seriously and study the book diligently you will absolutely crush the mental game.
- Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo
- A classic of the genre. Angelo’s writing style is wonderful. I’ve read this book twice now and will probably read it a third time in the near future.
- Zen and the Art of Poker and The Tao of Poker by Larry W. Phillips
- These are two short books and super quick reads that have these brief messages that are thought provoking and inspiring. They really appeal to the Buddhist side of me and I’ve always found them super inspiring.
Poker Books – Strategy
- The Course by Ed Miller
- Easily the best place to start if you’re new to taking the game seriously or looking to work on your fundamentals.
- The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky
- The original text is from 1987 so of course the book feels a little dated now. Not to mention it has a blurb on the back cover from Chris “Jesus” Ferguson. Who would have guessed back then that would be such a curse? But The Theory of Poker has a ton of timeless, vitally important information and I still consider it a must read.
- The Making of a Poker Player by Matt Matros
- I couldn’t decide how to categorize this book. It’s part strategy, part biography, part inside look into the world of a professional poker player. It’s from 2005 and may be out of print now but I remember this book having a significant impact on me and thought I should include it here.
- Poker Workbook for Math Geeks by Doug Hull
- Easily my favorite book on learning the math of poker. I love the workbook aspect which includes lots of practice problems.
- Poker Workbook Hand Reading for Live Players by James “SplitSuit” Sweeney
- Another one in the workbook-style I love. This one gives you different scenarios in which you practice breaking down hand ranges. It’s been an incredible introduction to both creating my own ranges and putting my opponents on a range.
- Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Cash Games by Jonathan Little
- Like Ed Miller’s The Course, this is a great place to start for those just starting out in NLHE or those trying to improve on their fundamentals.
- Excelling at No Limit Hold ‘Em by Jonathan Little
- This book is made up of several different chapters, each with a different author discussing some aspect of NLHE. It covers both cash and tournaments and is divided into sections on basic strategy, advanced strategy, and finally the mental game. Think of this as the new Super System.
Poker Books – General
- Positively Fifth Street by James McManus
- I don’t know how you could have a poker blog recommendation page and not mention McManus’s fantastic book about his adventure in the World Series of Poker. A must read for any poker fan.
- Big Deal by Anthony Holden
- Like Positively Fifth Street, Holden’s book seems like a no-brainer for this list. It’s a fun read about playing a year as a pro and even though it’s out of print now it’s definitely worth hunting down a copy.
- Thinking Poker Diaries Volumes I – VIII by Andrew Brokos
- I love these short little E-Books that Andrew has written over the last few years. Each one chronicles a single WSOP main event, some of which he cashes in and some of which he doesn’t. Good strategy in here and great insight into what it’s like to play the Main Event. But the fun part for me is that it reads almost like a thriller as you follow along wondering if he’s going to cash. I just hope Andrew keeps writing these and that he finally makes a much deserved final table. Should also mention they’re all under $10 so they’re #nitcast approved!
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- I read a lot of Cal’s work on best study practices when I was a student and always found it incredibly helpful. Here Cal dives into his theories (which he has been utilizing with incredible results) on what he calls deep work, which is essentially focused, distraction-free work on a single subject for extended periods of time. The applications to poker study are many and would be extremely helpful to any serious poker student.
- The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner
- This is my favorite book on how and why to practice. Sterner works with pianos including tuning them for some of the world’s greatest concert pianists, which is an incredibly demanding job requiring extreme amounts of focus to do it correctly in a timely manner. The advice in the book is both practical and inspirational. Whenever I find myself slacking off or feeling burned out, this is the book I turn to.
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
- One of my favorite books of all time and one I reread over and over again. The book is in two parts. Part one covers Frankl’s experience in Nazi death camps, including Auschwitz. The second part covers his theory of “logotherapy” which is about man’s pursuit of what is personally meaningful. This book is incredible in so many ways and one I think would appeal to everyone.
- Happiness is an Inside Job by Sylvia Boorstein, PhD
- An excellent book on mindfulness and ridding oneself of anxiety and suffering and leading a happier more meaningful life. Both practical and inspiring.
- Thinking Poker
- As far as I’m concerned, this is the gold standard in poker podcasts. It begins with an in-depth look at a single hand that is always full of useful strategy and an inside look at how professional, thinking, expert-level players think about a hand (and how I hope to one day think of hands as well). The second half of the show is usually a 45 minute to an hour long interview with someone from the poker industry, most often a pro, but someone you wouldn’t usually hear on your typical poker podcast. If you’re a poker player and not listening to this podcast I think it’s time for you to really start reconsidering your priorities.
- Just Hands
- If you like the strategy segment of the Thinking Poker podcast, you’re going to love Just Hands. Each week, Zach and Jack do an in-depth analysis of a single hand, usually lasting from 20 minutes to an hour. I have found this podcast incredibly inspirational as it reminds me of the kind of analysis that I’m working towards being able to do myself someday.
- The Mindset Advantage
- Elliot Roe and Dr. Tricia Cardner present, by far, my favorite podcast on the mental game. Each episode opens with Dr. Cardner briefly discussing some practical advice or new research on how to improve the mental side of your game. That is followed by a 20 to 30 minute interview with one of the top players in the poker community, mostly focused on that players mental game and habits. Elliot and Tricia do a great job getting their guests to dive deep into the mental side of their game. Some highlights for me have been the interviews with Fedor Holz and Brian Rast.
- The Official Red Chip Poker Podcast
- Usually hosted by James “SplitSuit” Sweeney, this podcast covers a single topic each week, things like optimal study time vs. play time (inspired by a forum post by yours truly!) to bet-sizing to creating hand ranges. Really well done and a podcast I look forward to each week.
- The Two Plus Two Pokercast
- This is the big daddy of poker podcasts. It’s been on forever, seen a changing of hosts and sponsors and yet continues to just be an entertaining, well-produced, valuable production. It’s long, usually around two hours, but never feels that way. The hosts are both funny and know their strategy, feature great interviews and news segments, and end with a strategy segment on PLO. Great stuff. Highly recommend.
- Smart Poker Study Podcast
- This is a really cool podcast by Sky Matsuhashi (best name ever!) that, like the title says, covers study and practice techniques, with an emphasis on online play. Sky also delivers a ton of valuable content outside his podcast with how to videos, a newsletter, and his blog. But it’s his podcast that I especially recommend. He’s even branched off into doing interviews with influential members of the poker community, including a pair of interviews with Alexander Fitzgerald (assassinato) that I’ve found to be incredibly valuable and inspiring.
- Fighting Chance
- I’m sure you’ll notice from this recommendation page that I love inside looks into things – and this recommendation is no exception. Here we get to follow two professional players, Cate Hall and Dan O’Brien as they fight there way through the World Series of Poker. Really insightful look into the toll the series can take on a player.
- Nothing directly to do with poker but I like how this podcast kind of opens my mind to more out-of-the-box thinking, something that is always valuable to a poker player. Plus it’s just really entertaining.
- Jocko Podcast
- This is a really cool podcast hosted by a former Navy SEAL who now runs a consulting business that helps companies utilize the SEAL mindset and leadership ideals in their own business environments. Jocko’s advice on what he calls “extreme ownership,” being responsible for your own actions and those on your team, is just so valuable and I have found countless ways to include it in both my philosophies on poker and life in general.
- 10% Happier with Dan Harris
- If you’re curious about meditation, this podcast’s for you. Dan Harris, author of the book 10% Happier, presents high-quality interviews with a who’s who of the meditation community. It’s at times inspiring, informational, and simply entertaining. Harris is a great interviewer, well-studied in meditation and Buddhism, and finds a wide variety of interesting people to have on the show.
Blogs and Vlogs
- Trooper Vlog
- The Trooper is a professional low-limit player in Vegas. Watching someone try to make a living playing $1/$2 is endlessly fascinating to me. The amazing part is that he puts out a daily vlog at the same time. Not to mention he’s simply really funny, entertaining and endearing.
- Kristy Arnett Blog (and Podcast)
- Kristy doesn’t know this (I should probably tell her), but she has been a big inspiration for me and my blog. She is just so willing to be honest, open, and vulnerable and it makes the things she does so valuable. Plus, her blog is really good. She has a really cool writing style and her ambition mixed with a real down to earth quality is both inspiring and charming.
- Just Hands (and podcast)
- I mentioned Just Hands in the podcast section above, but there blog is really great and deserves mentioning here as well. They have a really good mix of in-depth hand analysis and more general poker musings. I’m especially enjoying the posts by Jon Metz as he documents his journey as a newly turned professional low-limit player. But it’s their insightful analysis of individual hands that keeps me coming back. It’s really had a huge impact on how I go about analyzing my own hand histories.
- Red Chip Poker
- There are a lot of good things to be said about Red Chip. Great coaches, well produced content on both strategy and the mental game, nice podcast and articles. But my favorite part’s the forums. I know Two Plus Two is still considered by many as the king of poker forums but I think its glory days are long gone. Feels like a troll fest. The RCP forums are chock full of players who seem to genuinely care about one another and offer great advice in a encouraging atmosphere. Plus, the coaches regularly participate in the forums. I can’t recommend this site enough. If had to pick only one site for poker training for low- to mid-stakes players, this is the one.
- Tournament Poker Edge
- Though I am strictly a cash game player, I have found the videos here to be extremely valuable. The Andrew Brokos theory videos alone are worth a subscription. Plus you can download the videos and watch at your convenience which is a nice touch. If Carlos Welch thinks it’s cool, that’s all the recommendation I need.
- The Minimalists Podcasts and Blog
- It’s cliché to say, but this podcast has been life-changing for me. It’s shown me that I can lead a much different life than the one I’m living now; a life that is not overwhelmed by stuff but lived with purpose and value. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus describe how they completely changed their lives through minimalism and give amazing and practical advice to those of us who hope to do the same. I can’t recommend this podcast and blog enough.
- Zen Habits Blog
- This blog is not only about minimalism, though it is featured regularly throughout the posts. So much great information here on living your life in a deliberate, meaningful way. This is one of those blogs I find myself clicking on every day.
- Becoming Minimalist Blog
- This blog is written by Joshua Becker, author of the book The More of Less which is a great primer on minimalism. This blog is a great resource for those with families, a situation that can seem particularly difficult when starting out as a minimalist.
- Insight Timer – This is an app that I use every single day. Great way to time your meditation and track as well. Also includes a bunch of guided meditations and white noise tracks. And it’s free! #nitcast
- 10% Happier by Dan Harris
- I couldn’t decide if I should categorize this under meditation or anxiety because it deals closely with both. Harris suffered a very public panic attack on air as a news anchor and his research into how to deal with his panic disorder brought him to meditation and eventually Buddhism. The book is very down to earth and a great introduction to the practice and benefits of meditation. I also found it interesting as an inside look into the network news industry.
- Zen Meditation in Plain English by John Daishin Buksbazen
- A good introduction to the practice of meditation. Simple and to the point.
- The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris and Steven Hayes
- Not just for anxiety suffers but for anyway who wants to get a grip on their anxious feelings and learn how to live a more content, happy life.
- Gasping for Airtime by Jay Mohr
- Before I was diagnosed with panic disorder, I had no clue what was going on. Like most, I thought there was something horribly wrong with me physically but the doctors just hadn’t figured it out. I also assumed that I was the only one in the world feeling that way. This book was the first time I saw I wasn’t alone. The description Mohr gives about his symptoms were identical to what I was feeling and for the first time gave me hope it was something that could be controlled and lived with. Plus, this book gives incredible insight into what it’s like to be on SNL and includes great stories about people like Chris Farley and Adam Sandler.
- Anxiety as an Ally: How I Turned a Worried Mind into my Best Friend by Dan Ryckert
- I’m only halfway through this book but I’m already recommending it because it has some of the best descriptions of what it’s like to have panic attacks. One of the hardest parts about living with the disorder is that people who have not experienced a panic attack have no idea what it’s really like and therefore have trouble empathizing. That’s why those of us with the disorder frequently here things like “just stop thinking about it” or “just relax.” So I would especially recommended this book to those who have friends or loved ones dealing with panic disorder.