Floating is when you call your opponent’s bet after the flop, with the purpose of bluffing on a later street.
This play works best when in position, and when you have some outs that you can hit to win the pot in a showdown.
Floating is most effective against players who are looser pre-flop, as they will have a wider range of hands and be bluffing more frequently. This opponent likely will continue bet most flops, including almost all of the flops he misses. You can exploit this by calling his flop bet, and then betting him off his hand if he checks the turn.
WHEN FLOATING FAILS
If you float the flop and your opponent bets again on the turn, it is usually wise to just fold if you still don’t have a hand.
Your opponent is now showing a lot of strength, and your float did not go as planned. It is perfectly okay to release the hand and wait for a better spot.
“Most of the money you’ll win at poker comes not from the brilliance of your own play, but from the ineptitude of your opponents.”
WHAT STACK SIZES ARE GOOD FOR FLOATING
In general, you don’t want to be calling people before the flop unless the effective stack is 30 big blinds deep. (The effective stack is the shorter of the two stacks that are in the hand.)
Ideally you’ll want 40 big blinds or more when calling before the flop and floating.
But if you are at least 30 big blinds deep then you have a good enough stack to call someone before the flop, and execute a float.
This way, even if the play fails you will still have 20 big blinds which is enough to still be in decent position in tournaments.
PICK YOUR FLOATS CAREFULLY
When floating, it is important to remember to keep your balance.
Do not to completely over use it, but don’t be afraid to use it in the right spots either.
At first you can try it here and there, and as you play more the spots where you should or shouldn’t float will become somewhat obvious.