Is it really possible to teach yourself poker, without the help of a face-to-face tutorial or game? Some of this depends on what type of learner you are, but with the help of a good book, you can be well on your way to playing a good game. Choose a book which covers all the basics, and there will be no looking back.
If you’re looking to get good at playing online poker, or even live tournament poker, then there’s only one variant that matters; Texas Hold’em. This is far and away the most common type of variant, and perfecting play in this game will give you plenty of playing options. It’s recommended to choose a poker book that focuses on this variant.
One of the best of these is ‘Getting Started in Hold’em’, by Edward Miller. This really does cover all the basic rules and is an essential guide for any beginner. The secret is that the writer himself made the leap to professional player within a year of starting, so he is in a unique position to understand what a newbie needs to know when starting out. As well as the rules, the book goes into strategies and techniques. The reader will learn what it means to bluff, as well as some of the more mysterious rules of tournaments.
Start to Play
As you learn the rules, you can also try your hand at a low-stakes table online. This will put into practice what you have learned in the book and make sure that you have correctly understood what you have read. As you improve, you will start to see more rewards and maybe start playing for higher stakes. Once you are ready to take the next step, you may want to invest in a more advanced strategy book. One of the best is the classic The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky, which few poker books have surpassed in the 35 years since it was first published.