Top 10 Jonathan Little Best Poker Books for Beginners

Top 10 Jonathan Little Best Poker Books for Beginners

Jonathan Little has been a professional poker player for the better part of two decades, and in that time, he has crushed different types of poker games and become one of the most prominent poker coaches in the world. 

In that time, he has written dozens of books pertaining to Texas Hold’em poker, most of them designed to help novice poker players improve at the game and build up a skillset needed to succeed on the green felt. 

If you take a look at Jonathan Little’s bibliography, you will probably notice there are more titles in there than you can count and you may be confused as to where to start. 

So, here is a list of the top 10 Jonathan Little books for beginners and a short synopsis of each to help you decide which Jonathan Little book will be the best choice for you to start with.

#1 – Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker (3 Volumes)

Best poker book - Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker - Vol 1

This three-volume book is perhaps the most comprehensive guide on tournament poker that was ever created in written form, and it’s a great place to start if you are an aspiring tournament poker player. 

In Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker – Volume 1, Little delves into the basics of tournaments, teaches you why tournaments are the most profitable form of poker, talks about different stack sizes and stages of the tournament, and how to orient your strategy towards winnings instead of surviving. 

While Volume 1 is a great start, Volume 2 of Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker delves deeper into the different tournament stages and explores gear shifting and playing aggressively in the later stages of the tournament. 

In the final Volume, Jonathan dedicates lots of time to explaining ICM poker and how to exploit tournament bubbles and final tables and how to maximize your winnings in every situation. 

Overall, this book series should give you a great fundamental framework to crush tournaments and do exceptionally well in the lower stakes events against your average set of opponents. 

#2 – Live No Limit Cash Games (2 Volumes)

Another Jonathan Little book that’s split into more than one volume, Live No Limit Cash Games, is a fantastic guide for players starting in the cash game streets. 

If you don’t have the time to grind out the long tournament hours or the patience to brick one event after another before finally making a deep run, live cash games could be the right game for you. 

Jonathan Little wrote his Live No Limit Cash Games in two Volumes. The first is called The Theory, and the second is The Practice. 

  • In Volume 1, Jonathan goes over the most fundamental concepts of cash game play, starting with preflop strategy, and teaches you about different playing styles you can employ and the ways you should adapt to your table. 
  • In Volume 2, a lot more practical advice is given, covering how to play at different stack sizes, positions, and situations on different board textures. 

The two Volumes of Live No Limit Cash Games alone should be enough to turn you from a break-even cash game player to a winner, and by exploring the concepts found within, you will have the potential to go even further and truly master live cash games. 

#3 – Mastering Small Stakes No Limit Hold’em

Poker book for Mastering Small Stakes No Limit Hold’em

Playing poker at a high level requires a lot of skill and knowledge, but that knowledge does not always translate perfectly into small-stakes games. 

While top players will always beat low stakes No Limit games or any game with a lot of recreational poker players, they will often leave a lot of money on the table as well. 

If you have been studying GTO poker with solvers or watching highly advanced training videos to learn how to play, you may want to take a step back and read Jonathan Little’s Mastering Small Stakes No Limit Hold’em. 

This book is designed to teach you how to play exploitatively against recreational poker players and how to absolutely dominate small-stakes games without playing perfect poker or trying to copy solvers. 

Instead, it aims to teach you when to get out of line, when to make the plays no one expects, and how to make recreational players play to the beat of your drum. 

If you often play low-stakes poker games or compete with weak players, such as the ones in various WSOP events, Mastering Small Stakes No Limit Hold’em is a book that could improve your win rate significantly. 

#4 – Bluffs: How to Intelligently Apply Aggression to Increase Your Profits from Poker

Every poker player knows that bluffing is an essential part of any good poker strategy, but knowing how to time the bluffs and choose hands to bluff with is where the real poker art comes into play. 

Great poker players like Jonathan Little know how to pick their spots and put maximum pressure on their opponents, and Bluffs is a book designed to teach you the same. 

This book revolves around low and mid-stakes games and offers applications in both tournament and cash game poker, with a variety of examples showing you how and when to bluff for maximum success. 

If you feel like you don’t bluff often enough or like your bluffs are getting picked off too much, Bluffs is a great book that will help you make better decisions when bluffing in the future. 

Little focuses on explaining the exact reasons to bluff in different situations, covering position, hole cards, board texture, stack size, and your perception of the player you are trying to bluff, creating a comprehensive guide to bluffing that will significantly solidify your game. 

#5 – Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Cash Games

Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Cash Games poker book

While some poker players make it to the very top, most stay stuck in small-stakes games their whole lives as they fail to comprehend essential concepts or adopt the strategies needed for success. 

The truth is that beating small-stakes cash games is not that difficult, but many players continue playing flawed strategies and blame luck for lack of success. 

In Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Cash Games, Jonathan Little aims to teach novice cash game players how to crush those games by adopting the strategies he’s learned over the years. 

The book goes straight to the point and teaches you skills you can use in-game to instantly make money, along with introducing you to a new set of methods and strategies that will make you a better player from the ground up. 

The book also teaches you how to stay away from blaming others or bad luck for your poker downswings, and, focus on your own game and making the right decisions at the right time to win the maximum instead to finally work your way up from small stakes. 

#6 – Cashing the WSOP Main Event

Massive field tournaments like the WSOP Main Event can seem so daunting to an average poker player, as playing poker for days to make money can be quite challenging. 

In Cashing the WSOP Main Event, Jonathan Little walks us through his 2014 Main Event run of his own and dissects 54 hands he played during the tournament on his way to making the money. 

While Little did not make the final table that year, his deep run came as a result of playing every hand to the best of his ability and staying consistent with his strategy. 

The book looks to teach you how to adjust your big field tournament strategy to survive and accumulate chips as you go through the motions and approach the final table. 

If you plan on playing some live events this year, Cashing the WSOP Main Event is a book that can give you some great ideas on how to play, along with the right perspective on playing such tournaments overall. 

#7 – Excelling at No Limit Hold’em

If you want a book that summarizes all the poker skills you should have in one, Excelling at No Limit Hold’em by Jonathan Little might be the right read for you. 

Written by Jonathan with the help of over a dozen excellent poker players like Phil Hellmuth and Mike Sexton, the book includes strategic analysis, hand reviews, mental game tips, and much more.

Excelling at No Limit Hold’em is designed to help novice poker players fight their way out of the micro stakes, and those who are already doing well there move on to the next stages of their poker career.

Whatever your current stakes are, and no matter how well you are doing, Excelling at No Limit Hold’em is a book that’s well worth a read and almost guaranteed to teach you at least something new about the game of No Limit Hold’em. 

#8 – The Poker Workbook

Best poker book - The Poker Workbook

You have read through a number of Jonathan Little books and learned the various poker terms and concepts. Now, it is time to take those concepts and apply them to specific poker situations with The Poker Workbook. 

Offering a slightly different format than most other poker books, The Poker Workbook is a hands-on training book that will help you understand the concepts you have learned and put them into practice. 

Written by Jonathan Little in collaboration with Matt Affleck and Alexander Fitzgerald, the book introduces an interactive quiz format that will allow you to go from just reading to actually getting involved with your poker coaching. 

Take your game to the next level with 15 interactive poker quizzes and change the way you think about poker once and for all. 

#9 – Excelling at Tough No Limit Hold’em Games

While most Jonathan Little books are focused on lower-stakes players and novices, Excelling at Tough No Limit Hold’em Games is a book that is designed for slightly more advanced players. 

Once you are done reading the more basic books on this list, Excelling at Tough No Limit Hold’em Games is the next thing to read to take your game to the next level. 

While the book is designed with the idea of moving to the next level and learning the strategies needed to play at higher stakes, it can also be quite useful to beginners. 

The book introduces many poker concepts and teaches about concrete situations in poker like continuation betting, multi-way pots, ICM, final table play, and much more. 

If you are not comfortable with poker basics, hold out for this book a bit later, but if you feel like you are doing well in the low-stakes games, check it out and take your game to the next level.  

#10 – Positive Poker

Best poker mindset book - Positive Poker

The final book on our list of the top 10 Jonathan Little books for beginners is one written by Dr. Patricia Cardner with the help of Jonathan Little and that focuses heavily on the psychological elements of poker. 

A psychology professor and dedicated poker player, Cardner decided to interview a number of successful poker players and find out what exactly made them as successful as they are. 

Through her study, she discovered what makes some of the best players out there tick and how they overcome the numerous problems they encounter in their careers. 

If you find yourself suffering with your poker mindset from tilt, poor bankroll management, negative thinking, and other psychological issues in your game, Positive Poker is the right book for you. 

In fact, every poker player should have a read, as the book teaches mechanisms that everyone can use to optimize their mental game, guaranteed to reflect in actual poker results.

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