Floating vs exploitable players

In today's No Limit games even the most passive players tend to know that betting on good textured boards after raising ...

Posted Jul 28, 2014

Contributor

Bart Hanson

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

In today's No Limit games even the most passive players tend to know that betting on good textured boards after raising preflop usually shows a long term profit. The simple fact of the matter is that with only two cards it is difficult for anyone to make a strong hand. When you continue with the betting lead you have a good chance to win because everyone has missed.

This concept, however, is really only understood at the most basic of levels at the lower and mid stakes. Many times, especially with nittier opponents, players will only fire one bet as a bluff after being the preflop raiser. Often times this can easily be exploited by calling with a very weak hand on the flop--a concept that is called floating. If you pay close attention you will find that an opponent will almost never check the turn on a blank card, especially if the board is wet, when they have a hand. This all comes back to the idea of them not wanting to be drawn out on as most, tighter recreational players hate bad beats.

Let us take a look at an example of a hand I witnessed a few weeks ago at $5-10 no limit. I actually came behind my friend to say hello and was able to sweat the following action. A very tight, older player opened under the gun for $45 and my friend called him heads up on the button with 6 7 with about $2000 effective stacks. The board ran out K 2 5 and the UTG player bet out $50. Now obviously this is not a good flop for my friend. But recognizing the rather small bet sizing he decided to float and call. The turn was the 9 and now the preflop raiser checked. My buddy interpreted this as weakness knowing that his opponent would not check a king because of the front door flush draw. Sure enough his opponent folded rather quickly to his turn bluff.

You can see that the actual holding in my friend’s hand was almost irrelevant. He did have some backdoor draws on the flop and if the villain did fire on the turn had a chance to pick up some equity. But the main point of this concept is that if you know that a player will only fire once and then check when he is bluffing than you can float him profitably with a wide range, sometimes with holdings that have entirely missed the flop.

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