June is a great month in the lives of poker players. Either you’re in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) grinding the tournament schedule, or you’ve opted to see in the summer at home or head off on a much-needed vacation.
Whatever you find yourself doing this month you’ll need something to listen to. And as June happens to be Audiobook Appreciation Month we’ve selected what we believe to be eight of the most interesting and useful audiobooks for poker players.
Whether you’re a cash game player or a tournament wizard, focused on live poker or online, you’ll find something for you on this list. It’s worth noting that all of the audiobooks featured on this list are read by the authors themselves, so you get a more intimate telling of the stories being told.
Here are some of the best poker audiobooks out there.
You’ll no doubt be familiar with the hit Aaron Sorkin movie of the same name. But what you might not know is how much more detail we get in Molly Bloom’s book, Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker.
In Bloom’s audiobook, she reveals how she built one of the largest and most exclusive high stakes underground poker games in the world. It featured everyone from A-list movie stars (named in the book, as opposed to the aliases they’re given in the film) to billionaire bankers and the Russian mob. Molly’s Game is a must listen.
The Pursuit of Poker Success
Lance Bradley’s first book tries to answer the questions: what is success in poker, and how can it be achieved?
Drawing on his experience working in the poker media, Bradley gets a variety of answers from 50 of the best poker players in the world. It makes for a fascinating listen. Featuring the likes of Fedor Holz, Isaac Haxton, Daniel Negreanu and Stephen Chidwick, each interview provides insights which could help you improve your game, but is there a guaranteed path to success? You’ll have to listen to find out.
The Stu Ungar Story
In Nolan Dalla’s One of a Kind: The Story of Stuey “The Kid” Ungar, the World’s Greatest Poker Player, we get to hear about one of the true legends of the game. Ungar was a sensation, transferring from arguably the best gin rummy player in the world to one of the best poker players with relative ease, and here we’re told his full story in all its gritty detail.
Dalla was commissioned by Ungar to tell his story back in 1998. That was one year after he had won the WSOP Main Event for the third time (his first two titles coming in 1980 and 1981, leading to the nickname ‘The Comeback Kid’). Sadly, Ungar wouldn’t live to see the book completed.
The Mental Game of Poker (1 and 2)
The Mental Game of Poker and its sequel The Mental Game of Poker 2, were ahead of their time when released in 2011. These days it seems like every poker player works on their mindfulness—either through apps or meditation—but as authors Jared Tendler and Barry Carter wrote, this wasn’t the case back then.
As these audiobooks point out, poker is one of the only games in the world in which you can play perfectly yet lose, time and time again. This can be crushing. In these audiobooks you’ll find simple, step-by-step instructions and proven techniques to help you work on problems such as tilt, handling variance, emotional control, confidence, fear, and motivation.
The Confidence Game
Maria Konnikova was a best-selling author long before she took up poker and became a PokerStars Ambassador.
Her most recent release is The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time. It might not be about poker directly (Konnikova didn’t even know how to play the game before 2017), but there’s a lot in this audiobook that you’ll be able to relate to.
How can some people be so persuasive? How is our sense of truth be manipulated by those around us? Poker players can learn from Konnikova as she looks at some of the biggest grifters and con-artists in history.
Mastering Small Stakes No Limit Hold’em
Jonathan Little is widely considered both a class act and a great teacher. His most recent audiobook is called Mastering Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em: Strategies to Consistently Beat Small Stakes Tournaments and Cash Games. It’s a brilliant listen for anyone just getting started in either cash games or tournaments.
At 13 hours and 50 minutes in length, Mastering… is certainly not short of useful information. There are many concepts and methods here which Little explains in great detail, so if you often play small stakes NLHE this will become an essential learning tool for improving your poker strategy.
Poker and Pop Culture
In Poker and Pop Culture: Telling the Story of America’s Favorite Card Game, Martin Harris chronicles poker’s progress from 19th-century steamboats and saloons to 21st-century virtual tables online. Both highly informative and wildly entertaining, this is a must-listen for anyone interested in poker’s rich history.
Harris is the perfect person to tell the story, both as a long-time poker media member and as a UNC-Charlotte professor where he offers a course in American Studies, “Poker in American Film and Culture.”
Jim McManus, author of Positively Fifth Street, describes Poker and Pop Culture as “a lively, well researched, highly readable account of the game’s hold on the popular imagination, revealing its history – from Shakespeare to ESPN, Flash Kate to James Bond, Tony Soprano to Daniel Negreanu – with 1,001 telling details. A+ Americana, and then some.”