5 Quick (obvious) Tips that will make you Suck Less at Cash Games
This is not a book. But lately, I've just realized how important these tips are to achieving success.
1) Before you make a bet, any bet, have a plan for what you are going to do if you are raised. It is SO much easier to make the right decision when you have already decided what the right decision is beforehand. If you flop a gutshot, just say to yourself "I'm going to c-bet, and I will only call a raise if it is less than $XX." Getting into that mental habit will keep you from making so many quick & ill-advised calls that destroy your win-rate.
2) Stop playing tilted. Almost every regular player I know attributes their biggest leak to tilt. I rarely see anyone say "I wish I were better at poker, so I could make the right decisions". However, so many of the regular players confide to me that if they could fix anything with their game, it would be their tilt management.
Realize that tilt is an emotional response, and you can't ever stop tilting. Instead, learn to recognize what triggers your tilt, and quit playing once it gets triggered. No matter how great the situation is, it almost never pays to play through your tilt.
3) Be tight, especially when playing no-limit games. You can't lose money when you don't put any in the pot. And even when your opponents know you are tight, they will still find reasons to play with you. They'll play because its fun, or they'll just play a hand out of habit without considering how tight you are. Checking and folding in tough spots, or passing on bluffing opportunities may not be sexy, but its guaranteed not to be a losing play. And money saved spends just as well as money earned.
4) Think about the other player's cards. Poker is a game where you try to make the right decision based upon imperfect information. If you knew what your opponent's cards were, then you could always make the right decisions. So get better at thinking about your opponent's hand, and all the other decisions you make will be better. Give them a range of hands, and thin that range down as the hand goes on. It sounds straight forward, but so many players just look at their cards and play on auto-pilot. If you get into a habit of doing this every hand, it will massively improve your game.
5) Study away from the table. Studying does not mean browsing these forums, or making a post about AK being a drawing hand. If you have never used PokerStove/PokerRazor/the Troutulator, or any other range calculator, then you have never really studied anything related to poker. Read opinions by people who's opinion is worth a damn (not your average joe with 30 posts), and perform your own analysis on situations that you get into. Figuring out how to handle situations away from the table will make handling them in the heat of the moment so much easier.
So yeah, do that stuff, and you will suck less. I promise.