Floating back at a floater
Occasionally, when you bet from late position, a player who suspects a steal may try to float you from out of position by calling your bet and then betting out on the turn. In this spot, if you suspect that your opponent is making a play, you can often float him back. This is the resteal float.

The Resteal Float

The game: $5-$10 pot-limit Omaha (PLO)

The hand: Q 10 9 9 in the cutoff

Preflop: The under-the-gun player ($4,000) opens with a raise to $35, and three players call in front of me. I ($2,700) call. The button and small blind fold, and the big blind calls. (Pot: $215)

Flop: J 8 3. Everybody checks to me. I bet $215, and only the preflop raiser calls. (Pot: $645)

Everybody checked to me on the flop, so I elected to bet the 12-card nut wrap despite the two hearts on the board, hoping to take the pot down. Only the preflop raiser called. At this point, I figure him for something like the nut-heart draw, maybe with A-A (though I would expect him to bet that himself).

Turn: J. My opponent now bets $300. I call (the float). (Pot: $1,245)

I know the preflop raiser to be a fairly sophisticated player, though one with some major leaks (such as constantly drawing to second-best hands). That said, the sudden turn bet is extremely fishy, as I would expect him to bet the flop with something like J-10-9-8 or Q-J-10-9, or a jack with the nut-flush draw. The only way he bets here is if he puts me on a button steal (which is half true); it looks as if he is just taking a stab at the pot.
At any rate, I don’t give him credit for a jack – much less a full house – and my decision is between raising, or calling and betting the river unimproved. Raising is unnecessarily risky because he might have a jack and still call. Calling is actually a much stronger play because it says the same thing that raising does – that I have at least a jack myself, if not 8-8 for the underfull – and for a much better value for the bluff. So, if I call, he is probably not going to bet the river again if he can’t beat a jack, at which point I can bet and represent a full house.

River: 10. My opponent checks. I check.

As it turned out, I ended up making the straight. My opponent checked and I checked behind, as there is little value in betting in this spot; my opponent doesn’t rate to call unless he can beat a jack. He showed K-K with the K, so I imagine he had the king-high flush draw to go with it.

Indicators: Check-call on the flop, stab on the turn, check on the river

The Bailout (Resteal Combo Float)

The game: $5-$10 PLO, five-handed

The hand: Q 10 8 2 on the button

Preflop: The under-the-gun player folds. The cutoff ($1,000) limps in. I ($2,500) limp in from the button. The small blind ($1,500) raises to $50. The big blind folds. The cutoff calls, and I call. (Pot: $160)

With the two gaps on the top and an absolute dangler, this is an extremely marginal hand, even shorthanded. I much prefer having at least two of the top cards connected (as in Q-J-9-2 or Q-10-9-2). But I played the hand, so now I’ve gotta go with it.

Flop: K 10 6. Both players check to me. I bet $160, and only the small blind calls. (Pot: $480)
I couldn’t help myself.

Turn: 8. The small blind bets $300. I call (the float). (Pot: $1,080)

This could end badly.

The turn card gave me the middle two pair and a queen-high heart draw, which I would have been prepared to check behind. Instead, the small blind leads out with a weak stab – a $300 bet into a $480 pot. This is somewhat suspect, though I have neither a strong hand nor a strong draw myself. If he has anything, it probably beats me, but then again, he may not have much, as he probably puts me on a steal himself. But at this point, I figure my heart draw may be good, and my full-house draw may be live. Plus, I have the button. So, I call the weak bet.

River: Q. The small blind checks. I bet $500 and the small blind folds.

The river gave me a bigger two pair, but also put out a possible club flush and straight. My first thought was that it gave my opponent the flush, but then he checked. It looks like the reason he checked was because he thought I had the clubs. In this spot, I can’t figure that my two pair is enough to show down, so I bet about half the pot and took it down. The small blind would say that he had hearts and two pair, and that he made the straight on the river, though I don’t know how much of that I believe; I later played a hand with the same player in which he made the same play out of position with just middle pair on a Q-7-4 rainbow flop.

That said, this just shows the power of the positional advantage. I made three pretty marginal plays in the hand – calling the raise preflop, betting the flop with two Broadway cards on the board, and calling the weak bet on the turn – and ended up being bailed out by the positional advantage.

Indicators: Weak stab on the turn, check on the river

Next up: the reverse float (floating out of position).

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.

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