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ArticlesPreflop StrategyAdvanced strategy: Floating the flop
Advanced strategy: Floating the flop
Written by: Hoodlincs · Date Added: 14 Apr, 2011 · Number of views: 4236
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What: calling a flop bet with a marginal hand in order to try and win the pot on a later street.

Why: everyone learns the way to play NL is to continuation bet after raising preflop. They also learn that at micro stakes once someone tells you have they have a piece of the board, you shouldn't bluff them off of it. Therefore people continuation bet with a range that is quite weak, and shutting down on almost every turn unless they improve.


When: when deciding whether to float, it is important to think about our opponents image, our own image, and how various turn cards can change the board. Ideally, you want to have a fairly tight image yourself so that you get a decent amount of credit for calling the flop bet, and you want your opponent to be as straightforward as possible. This will mean the type of player who continuation bets once then just gives up, typically this will mean a low W$WSF, and a very low turn continuation bet % if you have a HUD to look at.

Which boards: You want to float mostly on dry boards which have one high card. Why? On boards such as 865 2tone, your opponent will not be continuation betting as much as on super dry boards because there are far more hands in your range that can play back at him. Additionally, he would expect you to raise all your super strong hands on the flop. So when you just call he can assume your range is fairly weak – with weak showdownable hands, or weak draws. Also on 865 2tone, any 9-A is an overcard and therefore is better for his range than yours. Why? Because when someone raises preflop they will mostly have high cards (AQ/KJ etc), and when someone just calls a preflop raise they will mostly have middling cards or pairs (78, 99 etc). So specifically cards like an ace or a king help his range way more than yours, and therefore he is way more likely than usual to fire a 2nd barrel not only because his initial continuation betting range is stronger, but also because he can hit a lot of turn cards if he was bluffing, and he can keep bluffing on a lot of turn cards if he is bluffing now since those turn cards are better for his range than yours.

Compare the 865 2tone flop to A83r. Now on the A83r, its the type of board texture where your opponent will just automatically continuation bet almost 100% after raising preflop because he can credibly rep the ace and there are very few hands in your range which hit this type of flop. Therefore his continuation betting range is likely to be very weak even though the flop contains an ace.

Lets check some math:

assume villain is opening 15% of hands from a certain position and we call. The flop is A83r and he continuation bets. We think his range is any pair, any suited broadway, Qjo, Kjo, Ajo, and 78s+. the combos of hands which are top pair or better here are:

AT x 3
AJ x 12
AQ x 12
AK x 12
88 x 3
33 x 3
AA x 3

total: 48 combos.

15% of hands breaks down as 1326*0.15 = 198. If he is continuation betting A83r 100% of the time, he will only hit top pair or better on the flop 1 quarter of the time.

Assuming our opponent bets about 3/4ths of the pot as a continuation bet, we need to be able to win the pot on the turn 0.75/(1+0.75) 43% of the time, where 0.75 represents what we risk and 1 represents the pot.

Lets think about our range for calling the flop. When we call the flop bet he has to assume we will fold 77 or worse. He also has to assume that we call all our Ax hands which flat called preflop. Additionally we can call pairs between 8 and A that didn't 3bet pre. We can also slowplay 88 and 33 a good amount as we dont have to be scared of any turns. Basically what all this means, is that our perceived range when we call is 1) pretty strong on this flop, and 2) is not affected by any turn cards – if we have the best hand now we will have the best hand on almost every turn.

Lets also think about the likely turns. There can be no overcards to the board, so unless he hits a 2 outer to make a set then he will not improve to a hand that beats top pair and therefore he isnt going to be able to 2barrel the turn for value very often without Ax or better, which we said he only has 1/4th of the time. Additionally the fact that its a bad board to multi-barrel bluff on because our flop calling range is pretty strong and wont be scared of any turns, means that this is the perfect example of the type of board that is great to float vs standard regulars because they will so often have to just check-fold the turn.

Other good boards to float are the boards like Q74 or J82 where your flopping calling range will rarely be scared of many turns and so its hard for him to be able to bluff turn cards very effectively. Also on these dry boards people cbet the most often and therefore their range is weakest.

What hands should you float with?

If your opponent is very weak and straight forward you can justify floating your entire preflop range on dry boards just because as we have seen earlier his range is too weak to continue often enough on the turn. The only time you should start adjusting and floating less often is vs players who will fire 2 barrels with air or fire again if they pick up gutshots on the turn etc, because obviously vs those players you will not be able to win the pot so often. Frequently though micro stakes regulars will have a 2barrel % of somewhere less than 50%, and when you think about the maths, if they continuation bet less than pot you only need to win the pot on the turn 1/3rd of the time to show a decent profit by floating.

If you can, its always better to have some sort of equity, so specifically on A83r hands like T9 with a backdoor flush draw, where you can pick up a flush or straight draw on the turn – its always best to have some equity when bluffing because if called you can still sometimes improve to the best hand and potentially even get paid when you hit too.

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