Pure Bluff: floating in short handed cash games
A pure bluff, floating is one way to keep frequent c-bettors honest and at the end of the day, to make money off them. What better way is there to bust a bluff than through another bluff? Because in short handed cash games (6-max ones) c-betting is such a great thing these days, you’re highly likely to find a player who c-bets often yet fails to follow his bluff up with a second barrel shot on the turn. These guys have a serious leak in their game, a leak which is begging you to exploit it.
You can’t just go about attacking any player with your floating bluff though. You need to pick a good candidate for it. If you can use some sort of software to analyze your opponents’ stats, you’re going to find it easy to locate the right type of target. Look for his flops seen and turns seen stats. If the flops seen percentage is disproportionally high in comparison to the turns seen one, you have a customer.
Though floating is a form of pure bluff, just betting into your opponent blindly is not really a good idea. Make sure that you do have some outs even if they’re very few. The whole idea behind this limited equity thing on floating is best explained through semi bluffing. Semi bluffs offer the bluffer two ways to win: by forcing the opponent to fold or by making the hand and winning the pot at showdown. This is exactly what you’re aiming for when floating. If you have a few outs to make a nice hand, you give yourself another shot at taking down the pot, in case your opponent catches on and calls your bluff or raises it. It doesn’t really matter, how many outs you have and how big an equity. Little is a whole lot more than none in this situation.
The first key to successful floating is discipline. If you feel positive about your opponent firing out a vulnerable continuation bet and you feel like you’re ready to float, but you have no equity on your hand whatsoever, you shouldn’t do it. After all, it’s a cash game we’re talking about and not a tournament. There’s no pressure. That opponent will be there on the following hand too and on the following one as well. Opportunities will present themselves and therefore, making sure that you give yourself the best possible odds is the way to go.
Let’s take a look at an actual example of a perfect situation for a floating bet. You’re holding 5h,6h and you have position on your target opponent. He fires out a preflop bet which you call and you go to the flop heads-up. The flop falls A,2,3 rainbow and he fires out his continuation bet. You call him. A 7 falls on the turn and your opponent decides to just check. That’s your opportunity right there to pounce on him and take the pot away. You bet into him and he mucks his hand. This situation basically begs for floating, as you have a gutshot straight draw when you commit to the bluff. It may not be much, but you do not need much to fire out that bluff in this situation.
The reason why you do not need a whole lot of equity on your floating hand is that your primary objective is to make your opponent fold. That’s where most of your money will come from. The rest of the deal is plan B.
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