• July 31, 2021

Poker Dictionary: Float Play

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The float play essentially involves calling an opponent’s bet on the flop (floating the flop), and then betting after being checked to on the turn to win the hand before seeing the river card. It is possible to make a successful maneuver like this with any two cards, which typically makes it a good bluffing play.
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It’s a little known fact, but the term “float” was invented out of whole cloth by the highstakes poker player Matt Szymaszek, and credit is overdue.
Floating Scenario
A common situation in which you might attempt a float is when faced with an over-aggressive player. He can’t hit a hand every time, so as long as he has shown at least some ability to lay his hand down, you may want to try floating him on the flop if you think he’s just making a continuation bet with air.
Float as a Bluff
One does not need a made hand to execute a float, even though the expected value will be elevated when one possesses a draw with which one could win the showdown if it were completed. Calling a continuation bet can be done as a pure bluff to represent a strong hand or slowplay or to show an opponent that the pot will not be easily won and to convince him to give up his bluff.
Many players avoid making a bet in the third betting round (a so-called second barrel) without a good made hand if an opponent calls two bets in spite of that player’s aggression. A float is therefore useful when a player is in position to give up his hand if it does not improve after his opponent has called a continuation bet. Against players who often make a third bet, a float is useless. It is also useless if an opponent only makes a continuation bet when he has a good hand. Players who often make a continuation bet after a raise and then fold when their hand does not improve are ripe for floats.
A typical floating scheme in Texas Hold’em goes like this:
Preflop: Player A raises, player B calls.
Flop: A bets, B calls.
Turn: A checks, B bets, A folds.
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Steve Carr

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