Poker books that aren’t strategy-based usually fall somewhere between shameless self-promotion or a quick money grab from a publisher. But several writers pushed the boundaries of what a poker book could be and should be on the bookshelf of any poker enthusiast. 

“The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Game of Poker of All Time” by Michael Craig
Michael Craig was privy to the private games of billionaire banker Andy Beal against “The Corporation” – a collection of Las Vegas pros that could match the stakes Beal wanted to play. What occurred was more than just a whale getting fleeced in Sin City, it changed Las Vegas poker forever.

“The Biggest Game in Town” by Al Alvarez 
Al Alvarez penned some of poker’s greatest stories about the players during the 1981 World Series of Poker. It was an unreal world inhabited by unreal people and Alvarez captured it all for an fantastic glimpse of poker’s colorful history.

“The Education of a Poker Player” by Herbert Yardley
Herbert Yardley served as a code breaker in the US Army during both World Wars and went on to write the first book its kind in 1957 Yes, there’s some strategy, but it’s Yardley’s stories that provide the strongest lessons. Yardley’s first-person experience, in an otherwise undocumented era, opens up the world that players like Doyle Brunson and Johnny Moss cut their teeth in.

“Positively Fifth Street: Murders, Cheetahs, and Binion’s World Series of Poker” by James McManus
James McManus arrived at the 2000 World Series of Poker with a story to tell, but a poker tournament got in the way and, he found himself at the center of the very final table he was sent to cover.

 “One of a Kind” by Nolan Dalla
The tragedy of Stu Ungar still leaves questions for the poker world – the what ifs, the best evers and the could have beens. Ungar’s meltdown and death is handled the same as his legendary exploits and natural talent.

“Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People: The Memoirs of the Greatest Gambler Who Ever Lived” By Amarillo Slim with Greg Dinkin
While anything Amarillo Slim boasts needs to be taken with a grain of salt, Slim’s memoirs highlight his celebrity as the only player to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, rafting down the River of No Return and beating a championship table-tennis player. Slim was part gambler, part hustler and all show.

“Life’s a Gamble” by Mike Sexton 
Mike Sexton’s winning streak reaches back four decades, whether it’s on the felt or at the announcer’s desk Sexton has been a driving force in poker. The voice of the World Poker Tour recently added his name to the Champion’s Cup after winning the Montreal Main Event.

Whether it’s gift, for a long flight or kicking back on the beach, pick a book from the list or let us know your favorite non-strategy poker book on social media.