Skip to content


River Calling, Rakeback, Capped Games and Counting Outs | Q&A | #79


Sky Matsuhashi

on July 8, 2016

In this episode I answer 3 listener Q’s about river calling when your gut says you shouldn’t, online rakeback, playing in capped games and practicing counting outs.

Download and listen to this episode as you follow along below.


The Hand Reading Lab

In episode 77 I showed you how to work out your opponent’s 3bet calling and 4betting ranges using 3 specific HUD stats and 3 important questions.

River Calling, Rakeback, Capped Games and Counting Outs

Question 1 from Philip (4:35)

Hi Sky
One thing I am interested in at this point in my poker career is that I would like to hear about how some pros took the leap from recreational player to pro and the struggles in life in doing so. Another thing I have been thinking about lately is the times I cringe when I make a call on the river. I'm starting to think that if I'm cringing and calling maybe I should just be folding. Obviously, sometimes I still win when making a cringing call. But, I think most of the time the maths says I should fold. I’m wondering if this is something other players think about and maybe they just muck it when they get that feeling.
Cheers mate

  • Checkout other podcasts like Thinking Poker and the 2+2 Podcast and the Ante Up podcast.  They all interview a ton of pros and that’s where you can really hear stories directly from the pros about their transitions.
  • That terrible feeling when you make the call is often a sign that there's some gut intuition that you're making a bad call.
  • The better you get at this, the more often you'll be able to get away from weaker hands on the river as well as getting more value when you know your hand is better than your opp's.  You can refer to the current series that I’ve got going with the Hand Reading Lab for more on hand reading.
  • This is also a problem for others as well.  You can take advantage of this common leak on the river by going for value every time you're up against a player who can call with worse than TP.

Question 2 from Michael (7:20)

First off. Let me say that I am really enjoying your podcasts. I learned of you through the Red Chip poker podcast when they aired an interview that you did with Splitsuit. I tried your podcast out and am very impressed with your detailed approach to poker lessons. Often, I feel like podcasts are very general and don’t offer specific, practical information but that is not the case with yours.
Quick question. I have played on ACR a few times prior to seeing your affiliate link. I saw your promo code for the rake back bonus and used your code for my last deposit. Can you explain how that works? Can I get this promotion if it wasn’t my first deposit with them? And if so, when and how do I get the rebate?
On to what I’d like to learn. I play in SoCal at the Hawaiian Gardens and Bike casinos. I often bounce around from the 2-3 $100 max buy NL game to the 3-5 $300 max buy game and am wondering your opinions about these games. The 100NL game is a short stacked game and I feel like much of the poker strategy that you learn about hand ranges, 3 betting, C betting etc. just doesn’t apply. These players play basically any hands. A 3 BB raise does not minimize the field, it actually pulls more players into pots. Typically I must raise $15-20 just to get to play against only 1-2 players. Raising $20 is 1/5 of my starting stack and then after the flop I’m left with only $80 to try and play the rest of the hand. Obviously this really limits my options. So the question is, is there a different strategy for a game like this, or should I just avoid it entirely? My bank roll is more suited for the 100NL but my game is more suited for the 300NL. Which game should I play?
Thanks in advance, Michael.

  • Rakeback is basically being charged a discounted fee for playing with them.  At the end of each day's play, they'll calculate how much you paid in rake and give a % of that back to you in your bankroll.
  • Capped games aren't that bad to play, but most of the time your goal will be to go for max value with your good hands and do your best to limit the field.
  • I recommend coming in for a raise with very good cards only, and you can often limp behind all small pp's, many suited connectors and suited-gappers in order to try and flop a strong yourself.  These type of speculative hands play well in multi-way pots.
  • Pay attention to who at the table are LP players and stations, and make sure you only value bet vs these guys; in other words, don't bluff the stations.  And, with LP players and stations, if they come out with aggression, then get out of there with mediocre hands and bad draws.
  • Choose the bigger capped games over the smaller if you're rolled enough for it.

Question 3 from Wendy (13:40)

Hi sky
I'm doing the test problems in my ‘Crushing the Microstakes' book & man!!! do I have some ways to go!!!  With No Pressure & Chopin playing in the background it takes forever to count outs & check for doubles & counterfeit cards etc. I am still early in the book where the problems show you two hands and make you count the outs that only help you and not the opposing hand (which we KNOW is not the case in poker, you never know your opp’s hand!) So I'm wondering how you count outs when it’s possible those outs could often be good for villain?
Thanks as always, Wendy

  • This is great practice to do.  For getting better at counting outs, it's just a case of practice, practice, practice.  Just grab a deck of cards and deal a flop.  Whatever the cards are, there's most likely some kind of straight draw, flush draw or full house draw.
  • For the second part of your question; what about “outs” that also help my opponent? This is one of the dangers of chasing non-nut, weaker draws.
  • The key is to look out for this every time we’re drawing to less than the nuts.  There’s no sure way to know that this is the case, but we can look to the opp’s actions to help determine this.
  • The more practice you put in the more you'll be able to count the outs quickly.  And as you practice more and more, you’ll be able to spot what cards could counterfeit your draw.  This is the kind of stuff you'll learn to watch for.
  • And, if you make a hand and are worried that the villain made a better hand, let his actions from that point forward paired with what you know about him tell you if he's likely got it or not. 

Up Next…

In podcast #80, I'll show you how to count poker hand combos to aid your mathematical understanding of the game and the ranges of your opponents.

Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.


Sky Matsuhashi

Don’t Miss Out!

Get expert tips and strategies straight to your inbox each week!