4 Best Poker Books For Online And Live Cash Games

What are the best poker books for cash games?

After two weeks of in-depth analysis, I have selected the top poker cash books based on the type of games you play. This will help you to get the right book and have a better understanding of each game:
Whether you are:
  • live or online cash player, 
  • small stakes or high stakes,
reading the right book on poker cash games will improve your game! There is no question about that.
 
As always, the reviews are based on my honest judgment and opinions of other poker players. This way, we can be sure that the reviews are as little subjective as possible. Although, any “favorite book” is an individual judgment.
 
And one more thing, when you buy something using the affiliate links in this post, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

THE BEST POKER BOOK FOR ONLINE CASH GAMES! The Grinder's Manual: A Complete Course in Online No Limit Holdem 6-Max Cash Games

9.2
9.2/10

Positives

On Amazon Unlimited.
 Well written and easy to read.
 Properly structured.
 Specific for online 6-max cash games.
In-depth.
♥ Filled with many figures, flow charts, and detailed thought processes.
Includes a good explanation of various HUD stats and GTO concepts.

Negatives

x Too technical for some readers.
x Some parts are outdated.

x Overpriced, however, you can get it for $9,99 with Kindle Unlimited

540 pages, 80 illustrations, and 152 hand examples to improve your online games. Written by Peter Clarke, a known poker coach, who makes some excellent articles and video lessons on RunItOnce and Pokerstars.


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The Grinder’s Manual Summary

TGM is an academic-style textbook on online No Limit Holdem 6-Max. The book is very well structured and contains 15 main chapters and many subchapters:
 

1 Introduction
2 Opening the Pot
3 When Someone Limps
4 C-Betting
5 Value Betting
6 Calling Opens
7 Facing Bets – End of Action Spots
8 Facing Bets – Open Action Spots
9 Combos and Blockers
10 3-Betting
11 Facing 3-Bets
12 Bluffing the Turn and River
13 3-Bet Pots And Balance
14 Stack Depth
15 Appendices
Appendix 1 – More About The Author
Appendix 2 – Jargon Handbook (Glossary of Terms)
Appendix 3 – List Of Figures

TGM is aimed at beginners that have basic poker knowledge, as Peter Clark stated:

“The starting level of the manual is aimed at fairly new, but not completely clueless players. I assume that the reader has played poker before, is completely aware of the rules of the game and doesn’t need to be told that a flush beats a straight.”

 
In my opinion, the book is more for intermediate players who already have a solid understanding of online poker.
 
A very positive aspect is that Peter introduces you to various HUD stats and explains how to use them against different opponents.
Additionally, he also writes well about different GTO concepts, including:
  • combos/blockers,
  • balance,
  • indifference,
  • bluff to value ratio,
  • protecting ranges and more.

Praise, Criticism and Recommendation

The Grinder’s Manual is very well structured, and you should read it, in the order it has been written, as the author stated:

“Chapters are presented in a logical order. I take care to introduce new ideas as and when they become relevant. The reader’s understanding of the necessary core technical skills is built gradually, one step at a time. It is therefore advised that the reader avoids jumping between chapters, and follows this procession of complexity. If, for example, he were to leap straight from the 2nd chapter to the 11th, he’d quickly find himself confused by an array of material that was first introduced somewhere in between.”

Moreover, make sure that you are fully focused on the text and reexamine unclear concepts:

“Each chapter within the manual demands detailed study. The reader should try to read when fully alert, participating in the exercises with motivation to learn. Chapters are presented in a logical order”

On the negative side, the book is overpriced, however, you can get it with the Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans.
 
Even though TGM was written in 2016, some parts are outdated today because the game evolves fast. Despite this, it is still a really valuable read that will take YOUR cash game to the next level! I would say that it should easily teach you how to become a winning reg at 100 NL.

Overall, after in-depth analysis, I consider The Grinder’s Manual as the best book ever written for ONLINE cash games!

THE BEST POKER BOOK FOR LIVE CASH GAMES! Jonathan Little on Live No-Limit Cash Games, Volume 1: The Theory

9.1
9.1/10

Positives

Well-organized
Free training videos with audiobook
Well-written and easy to read
Detailed
It teaches you to think rather than giving ready solutions
Very good for intermediate and up, dedicated players
The best poker books for live cash games

Negatives

x Some of the concepts repeat in other Littles' books
x Stereotyping of players by the appearance
x Not for beginners

Jonathan Little has written the highest number of poker books in history. He has gained a name as one of the best poker teachers the game has ever seen. Little’s unique ability to explain complex poker concepts in simple terms is outstanding.

Summary

In this book, Little explains the important elements of poker and provides a highly detailed analysis of playing:
  • Flop
  • Turn 
  • River
The flop is 68 pages, and the Turn & River is 36 pages. The sections are precisely categorized into being:
  • The aggressor: in-position or out-of-position,
  • The caller: in-position or out-of-position,
  • Heads-up
  • Multiway
Jonathan talks about almost every possible variation for each situation:
  • position, 
  • vs. specific opponent 
  • tendencies, 
  • and cards. 
Additionally, he will teach you how to:
  • reading poker tells,
  • manage you bankroll
  • select the right games    
  • control your emotions 

Praise and Criticism

What is fantastic about this book is that the author teaches you how to think. In other words, instead of giving you ready formulas, Jonathan shows situations that will make you think ‘why’ rather than ‘what’ to play.

The book will teach you to be a better card reader and intelligent bluffer.

Furthermore, the writing style is so straightforward that intermediate players should have no problem understanding. However, as the author confirmed, this book is not for beginners:

“Before we delve too deeply into the rabbit hole — and trust me, it is deep — I want to make sure you have a solid grasp of the fundamental poker concepts that have become the focal point of most other poker books. If you do not know the rules of the game, please consult the internet. I will only spend a little time on concepts such as expected value and pot odds because I assume you already have been exposed to that information. If these topics are new to you, don’t worry. I will explain each concept and quickly get you up to speed.”

On the negative side, some of the concepts have already been mentioned in other Littles’ books. Additionally, for many players, the ultra-aggressive style that Jonathan presents might seem a bit too much for live poker.

Is Jonathan Little on Live No-Limit Cash Games only for LIVE cash games?

Although the title suggests that the book concepts apply only to live games, some of the elements can also be used in online cash games.
 
Nevertheless, Jonathan Little on Live No-Limit Cash Games, Volume 1 is the poker bible for LIVE cash games.
 

THE BEST POKER BOOK FOR SMALL STAKES CASH GAMES! Small Stakes No-Limit Hold'em

8.8
8.8/10

Positives

Cheap
Well written clear, and concise
Includes HUD tips
Good for learning aggressive play

Negatives

x Not for beginners
x Mainly for online games

If you are:

  • a small stake player,
  • a break-even or losing player,
  • fail to see what is wrong in your game plan.

Then this book is for you!

ED Miller has written many books, but this one, written together with Matt Flynn and Sunny Mehta, is by far his most in-depth, and best book for cash games.

Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em is divided into four main sections:

  1. Framework
  2. Beating online $1-$2, 6 – Max Games
  3. 7 Easy ways to NLH success
  4. Beyond $1-$2

It will teach you to:

  • Poker Math – how to make correct choices using steal equity and showdown equity 
  • Isolate bad players and handle good, aggressive players 
  • Determine optimal bluff sizes and plan big bluffs 
  • Balance your playing lines to maximize deception 

Furthermore, to make the text easier to understand, the authors use real-life hand examples.

Clearly, Ed Miller, Matt Flynn, and Sunny Mehta want to teach you how to play solid–thinking poker, rather than just memorizing information:

… you have to be prepared for a challenge. Small stakes no-limit isn’t for wusses anymore. A few years ago, all you needed to win was a little common sense and some patience. The legions of weak players would practically beat themselves. These days the Internet is full of smart, motivated players battling it out for $20 and $50 pots. You can beat them and enjoy the spoils (which can be more than enough to let you quit your job). But you’ll have to work, and you’ll probably have to change the way you play (and think) in some fundamental ways.


Recommendation

Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em is not for these players who have zero poker knowledge. You must have some basic understanding of NLH before you start reading this book.

On the other side, if you are already smashing $200 NL, this book is not for you.

FOR ADVANCED PLAYERS! Applications of No-Limit Hold 'em

9.0
9/10

Positives

For advanced players
Math-intensive
 Full of excellent theory
Many examples
Heavy into aggressive play (3-betting, 4-betting, and range balancing concepts)
You can apply many ideas to tournaments as well

Negatives

x Writing style and editing could be better

If your goal is to become a better poker player and slowly move your hold’em cash game closer to the “game theoretically optimal” poker, then this book is for you.

Matthew Janda is a poker coach for CardRunners. His pieces of training are mainly math and theory-based. 

What will Matthew Janda teach you? 

This book illustrates the math and theory behind no-limit hold’em cash games. The author emphasizes exploitative play in live poker and clarifies how you should play poker against “flawless” rivals. 

It will teach you the winning players’ approach to the game.

The theory and hand samples all concentrate on 6-max

Still, almost all the concepts can be applied to 9-max and heads-up games. Most of the ideas will be helpful in other poker formats, such as Omaha.

Note that some vital poker concepts that every poker player should know, like life and bankroll management, tilt control, etc., are only briefly covered or not included at all. 

Applications of No-Limit Hold em contains 16 parts:

Part One: The Basics

Part Two: Preflop Play

Part Three: Post-flop Bet Sizing

Part Four: Facing a Flop Bet in Position

Part Five: Whether to Bet or Check in Position

Part Six: Out of Position Flop Play

Part Seven: 3-Bet Pots on the Flop

Part Eight: Playing the Turn in Position

Part Nine: Playing the Turn Out of Position

Part Ten: 3-Bet Pots on the Turn

Part Eleven: River Play

Part Twelve: Multiway Pots

Part Thirteen: Shallow and Deep Stack Play

Part Fourteen: Advanced Bet Sizing

Part Fifteen: Applying Theory to Analyze Hands

Part Sixteen: Sample Hands

 

Recommendation – who is this book for?

If you are a strategic, mathematical and modern player who wants to up their game, this book is for you.

Not for beginners! You must have a good poker foundation before buying Applications of No-Limit Hold. 

It is a challenging read, sometimes hard to comprehend, so please take your time and re-read parts that are difficult to grasp. 

This book is a perfect starting point for understanding GTO.


Is Applications of No-Limit Hold em for both cash games and tournaments?

It’s mainly for advanced cash game players, but some concepts you can apply to tournaments. There is no doubt that the book could help you winning poker tournaments.

A must-read poker book! One of the best poker theory books ever written!


Are there any cash books on poker I have left out? 

If that’s the case, please let me know in the comments below. I will review it and consider adding it to the rankings.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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