Before we begin, floating in poker or floating a poker table does not mean a floating poker table. Don’t start imagining a bunch of people playing poker in a pool with the table floating on the water. Or a poker player lounging in a pool. That’s a very different kind of floating. The kind we are going to be talking about is a concept. A poker strategy, if you may.
‘Floating the flop’ in poker means turning your opponent’s continuation betting strategy back in his/her face. This is a strategy that is appointed by players who have been playing for a while and are at an intermediate level. Floating on the flop will help you win more pots post flop by calling your opponent and putting him in a spot the moment he displays weakness.
What it is
Floating the flop means calling your opponent’s bets right from the beginning, and then taking the pot the moment he shows weakness by checking a hand. If your opponent has been c-betting, it means that he has strong cards or is bluffing. However, if he checks on the turn, it means he has not made any hand, made a weak hand or is still drawing. At this point, you should bet big and there are high chances that he will fold.
Why it is done
Floating in poker is done to play against an opponent’s continuation betting strategy. C-betting is very popular in poker and many players tend to use it frequently, especially if they find a table where the opponents fold more often to such bets and call a very small margin of hands. Floating means that you call, not raise, till the flop and then make your move. If your opponent checks on the turn or is betting only marginally, then it suggests that his cards are not very strong. However, if he raises and comes on strong, then it’s best to fold.
Some more important tips about floating the flop
When to float the flop is very important. It should be done only when you are in position. Avoid floating when there are multiple players in the pot. Floating must be done only against tight players. This is because loose players tend to call and bet on most of their hands, like fish. This increases the chances of them hitting something even on weak cards. Avoid calling or raising such players (unless you have a really strong, made hand).
Why being in position is important
Being in position is important for floating a flop because it gives you all that you need to know about your opponent’s cards. If your opponent checks, you will know that he has a weak hand. If he bets, you will know that he probably has a strong hand.
However, if you are out of position then you will be acting before your opponent, and that will deprive you of information about his cards.
Floating is an interesting poker strategy because it is kind of like playing on the psyche of your opponent. It is fun to do, but must be kept in moderation so that the other players at the table don’t tag you as a fish or a loose player. So float away and have fun!