Identifying Floating Opportunites
Hey guys, here's a quick article I wrote for CC members on some easy ways to identify opponents that are good candidates to use floats against. Also be sure to check out the video we've made free CC members on the subject, the article and video definitely go together. I'll be checking the thread in the instructional videos forum, so be sure to ask me any questions there.
Floating - Hunter Bick of DragTheBar
Floating is where you call a bet in position with little to no equity, with the intention of bluffing a later street. It can be a very powerful weapon in your arsenal, especially when you use it against players who are not accustomed to defending against it. That's why it can be a great tool against regulars in the smaller stakes games, opponents who are playing too many tables, or anyone else who is too quick to give up either on their hand, or on their bluff. So how do you identify opponents who are good candidates to float? There are a few different things to look for.
The first thing I pay attention to are opponents who fire lots and lots of continuation bets, but then don't fire the turn very often. This means they are making the mistake of giving an opponent's call too much credit and are not following through on bluffs with a second barrel. So when they bet the flop and check the turn, they are usually just giving up, in which case they are handing you a hugely profitable bluffing opportunity. Guys like this are just setting themselves up to be exploited, because they obviously won't have a hand every time they c-bet, and when they aren't aggressive enough to be double barreling often, they are ripe to be exploited with well-timed floats.
Using stats is another great way to identify good opponents to float. Look at their continuation bet percentage of course, but more important is their 2-barrelling number, called the "Turn C-Bet" in PokerTracker3 and Hold'em Manager. If the c-bet number is high and the turn c-bet number is very low, or if there's just a huge spread between the two, then this opponent is probably someone who you should be looking to float. You can also look at the street by street aggression numbers, a high flop aggression stat and much lower turn aggression stat can be indicative as well. The went-to-showdown is also a great stat that should be used alongside the others. The lower it is, usually the easier it is to bluff that person. Someone with a very high wtsd might have a high flop aggression and low turn aggression, but the high WTSD will mean they just get really passive and won't fold any piece or any draw. However, a low WTSD strongly suggests that they are easy to move off of a hand like second pair, or even top pair, no kicker. These guys who are timid about going to showdown are excellent candidates to float.
Lastly, be sure to take into account the dynamic and your image. Have you been really tight this session, or looser than normal? If you've been playing tight, then even solid opponents will give you more credit than usual, and your bluffs should work a higher percentage of the time. The opposite is true if you've been much looser or are on a run of good cards with not many showdowns. The more active you are, usually the harder it is to pull off a float without needing to fire both the turn and the river. The same goes for your opponents. If someone has been very active, float them more because they just can't have a hand to continue with every time. If they've been tight this session, I'd be less interested in trying to float them or make any moves on them, simply because they figure to have a stronger range than normal.
Hopefully this helps you guys in identifying ways to exploit certain opponents with well-timed floats, check out my video on floating at DragTheBar. There are more videos to come on the subject as well.