Apr 29 2010

Letting Go After a Float

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Floating is a profitable strategy in many different types of poker. Whether you are playing limit or no limit holdem, or even Omaha, floating is an effective way to pick off your opponent’s bluffs. A float is when a player calls their opponents bet on one street because they think they are bluffing. The call is made not only because they think their opponent is bluffing, but so a bet can be made to push them off their hand later on.

For example, pretend you are playing a pot in position and didn’t flop much of anything. Your opponent had raised pre flop, but the flop came 2h 6d 7s. If your opponent leads out on the flop, there is a legitimate chance that they are making a continuation bet and don’t really have a made hand. In order to combat this c-bet, you can either raise, or call and try to take the pot away on a later street. Raising would be an OK option, but it can also be quite risky. If you raise and get called, there is little wiggle room on later streets. If you raise and get re raised, your bluffing suspicions might have been correct, or they might be very wrong. As you can see, raising in a spot like this is very tricky and risky. The better play is to simply call and float.

Minimizing Risk

The entire premise of a float is minimized risk. By floating, players save a lot of money. Raising is going to require an investment that players might not be comfortable with, but a call defines the exact amount of money needed to go on. You are left with the option of folding, but are now in prime position to take down the pot. In your opponent’s eyes, it is likely that you have a decent hand since you called their original bet. If they check the turn, it is typically a concession, and they are ready to give up on the pot. This is your opportunity to make a bet and win the hand. If you floated on a prior street, you absolutely must bet now, otherwise floating was a complete waste of money.

Giving Up

Floating is an art of sorts, as players need to know when to bet, how much to bet, and when to give up. If you floated on the flop and your opponent fired another bet on the turn, you now have some decisions to make. Either this player has a real hand and is betting it out for value or they know you floated them. Once you hit the turn, you now need to decide whether you are going with your original read or folding. In this spot, a raise is often times better than a call. If you float again, the river is going to be an expensive time to try and take down the pot. If you raise, however, either your opponent is going to fold or you can safely give up on the hand. If you do decide to float on the flop and turn, be very careful on the river. Most players don’t make bets on the flop and turn only to give up on the river, so it is going to be very risky to raise if they make another bet on the river.

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