Floating in Heads Up Poker - What is It?

Floating in heads up poker is one aspect of the game that should never be overlooked. Floating will most often occur in hands on the flop for you to bluff the turn, but it can also occur on the turn to bluff the river. If you want to float a hand to the highest degree then you are floating the flop, turn, and shoving all in on the river in a heads up match. This play is just about as easy as it sounds, but to execute it you need to play a pot against a specific opponent.

If you recognize that your opponent is betting the flop and checking the turn, then this is the perfect opportunity for you to float a flop. What floating the flop is will be you call your opponents bet on the flop, and then they check the turn, you bet the turn, and you win the pot. When a player bets and then checks it is a sign that they either have given up on a pot or have hit their hand when bluffing and don’t know what to do so they check. If a player is giving up it is evident when they snap fold, but if you float a flop and get check raised, it is very tricky to figure your opponent out. When a player bets and then check raises, you should interpret this as enormous strength. This play is very uncommon when dealing with good players because the good players just bet the turn as well as the flop. When a player check raises the turn, beware of a monster hand. There is no reason to make a play like that without a big hand.

When pulling off an effective float you should also not just float with any 2 cards, but you should do so with a solid starting hand that missed or a hand like a gut shot straight draw. If you can hit a pair that is above the one on the board and have it undetected then you are in even better shape when attempting to pull off the float play. Ideally, you would like to have a hand that could possible hit running cards to get there, and you want it to be against an opponent who has proven to you that they are capable of betting and then checking and folding the turn. If you look for other scenarios to float you are pretty much just building up a big pot without a big hand, and this is something you want to avoid at all times. If you build up a big pot with no hand and no draw then you are asking for trouble most of the time and you are especially asking for trouble if you are playing a calling station. If you sit in against a calling station you should avoid the floating play almost completely because it is useless. The float will work against a player who is aggressive enough to bet the flop out of position and dumb enough to call a raise before the flop out of position. This will be someone you find often at lower stakes heads up games as most of the higher limit games don’t have the big fish playing every day. In the lower stakes heads up games you can use floating very successfully, and also other times when it just makes sense to call and see a turn card. Sometimes floating is useful in heads up games if you put your opponent on a hand like AK or AQ. They will almost always bet the flop then check the turn. This hand is common and comes up in probably every session and players just don’t know what to do when they miss with AK or AQ. If they bet the turn this is the best play to make obviously, but most players will just give up and check then fold the turn. Betting is always better than checking and using the float will exploit this weakness in certain player’s games.