Floating with part made hand, part draw, and part air
A lot of times, you will find yourself floating with part made hand, part draw, and part air. For example, maybe you flop one pair and call a bet on the flop, looking to steal the pot later in the hand from a player you suspect might be betting light. If your opponent has anything – like A-A – you are probably behind, but also might have draw outs (to two pair, trips, a flush, and/or a straight). I call this the combo float.
The game: $5-$10
The hand: 9 7 6 5 in the hijack position
Preflop: Two players limp in front of me. I ($3,500) call. The cutoff ($2,000) raises to $50. The button and small blind fold. The big blind calls. Both limpers call. I call. (Pot: $255)
A 9-7-6-5 with a suit is a fairly marginal hand with the gap at the top; had the 9 been the 8, I probably would have put in the raise myself. By the time it got back to me, it was probably too late to fold.
Flop: 6 3 2. The big blind checks. The next player ($12,000), who is very aggressive, bets $200. The next player folds. I call (the float), and the other players fold. (Pot: $655)
The flop gives me top pair with a gutshot, though on a board with a possible straight out. It helps to know your opponents a bit, but the $200 bet into a $255 pot looks like an attempt to pick up the pot on a flop that doesn’t rate to have hit anybody – including the preflop raiser yet to act behind me, and probably the big blind, as well. By calling, I can represent a set or the straight, and slow the bettor down. If by chance I am wrong about the strength of the bettor’s hand, I still have the gutshot-straight draw to fall back on. In PLO, you rarely should float without outs.
Turn: A. My opponent checks. I bet $650, and he folds, as planned.
Indicators: Weak stab/possible steal on the flop, check on the turn.
The game: $1-$2 online, six-max, six-handed
The hand: 10♣ 9♥ 8♠ 4♥ under the gun
Preflop: I ($245.15) limp in. The three players behind me all fold. The small blind ($200) calls. The big blind ($271.75) raises to $8. I reraise to $14. The small blind folds. The big blind calls. (Pot: $30)
I ordinarily would fold 10-9-8-4 under the gun in a tough game with aggressive players behind me, but this was a pretty soft game. I just as easily could have flat-called the raise from the big blind, but I elected to put in a minimum reraise to try to knock out the small blind and isolate the big blind, while keeping the pot small enough to leave room to maneuver after the flop. Three-betting preflop for isolation itself is a topic for another day.
Flop: K 4 3. The big blind bets $30. I call (the float). (Pot: $90).
This is a loose call, and maybe a bit cavalier, but I do have a pair and position. Let’s play a game of chicken.
Turn: A. My opponent checks, I bet $90, and he folds.
Well, my opponent put on the steal sign, and I took it.
One of the keys to this play is that most of my opponents don’t know that I have it, or that the play even exists. One of these days, I am going to run into a monster.
Indicators: Continuation-bet/first bet in a heads-up pot on the flop, check on the turn.
Double-Barrel Combo Float
The game: $2-$5-$10 with a Mississippi straddle (the button posts the $10 straddle, and the small
blind acts first preflop)
The hand: 10♦ 9♣ 7♦ 5♠ in middle position
Preflop: Everyone folds to the player in front of me ($1,200), who raises to $40. I ($1,500) call, and everybody else folds. (Pot: $97)
This is a somewhat standard call preflop with a medium-size speculative wrap hand and position on the preflop raiser; I’ve three-bet in this spot, as well. I had been at the table for a few rounds; the preflop raiser had been fairly loose but also mostly passive preflop. This was the first time he had raised, so the first hand I put him on was A-A. It doesn’t hurt to have a few tight players behind you, either.
Flop: K 5 4. My opponent bets $100. I call (the float). (Pot: $297)
The flop call with middle pair and a 10-high flush draw is not really standard, and a lot could go wrong; I may be way behind a set and/or up against bigger diamonds, or the player might have a king and some of my cards, meaning that I could improve to two pair and still lose.
Generally speaking, I like to have top pair rather than middle pair (or bottom pair, as in the previous hand), but I went ahead and called the continuation-bet anyway.
Turn: 3. My opponent bets $200. I call (the second float). (Pot: $697)
The turn card put a possible straight out, which is a good scare card. My opponent followed up his pot-sized continuation-bet on the flop with a weak stab on the turn; this is the indicator I was looking for. I called.
River: 10. My opponent checks. I bet $200, and he folds.
The river gave me two pair, and my opponent checked. Now, I have an interesting decision as far as bet-sizing is concerned, because the reason I called on the turn was that I didn’t think my opponent had anything to call me with. I have enough to show down here, but I opted to make a small value-bet, hoping that he might find a call with A-A. He didn’t.
Indicators: Continuation-bet/first bet in a heads-up pot on the flop, weak stab on the turn, check on the river.
Next up: the resteal float.
This article was originally written by Jeff Hwang. Jeff Hwang is a semiprofessional player and author of Pot-Limit Omaha Poker: The Big Play Strategy. His latest book is Advanced Pot Limit Omaha Vol.1 and will be releasing Vol 2.