When to Float the Flop in Online Six-Max

Andrew Lichtenberger
You can just call me chewy.

Many online six-max regulars have the same big leak: they fire too many c-bets and give up too often when called.

That's a huge opening for smart players. Calling those flop c-bets with the intention of taking the pot away when they check the turn is essentially a license to print money.

Your Ideal Opponent and a Note on Equity

The best candidate for a flop float is a player that habitually c-bets too often but doesn't fire nearly enough second barrels.

If you're playing with a HUD (heads-up display), the stats you want to focus on obviously are "flop c-bet" and "turn c-bet." If the flop percentage is super high and the turn percentage is super low, you've found a potential victim.

A quick note on equity however: Any time you're bluffing in Hold'em, some equity is better than no equity.

Plan A is to make your opponent fold, but with equity you have a Plan B. You can hit your hand and still win. It doesn't even have to be much equity. But some equity is always better than none at all.

So when you plan to float, make sure you have at least some equity. An overcard(s), a gutshot … hell, it can even be a backdoor flush draw.

You just want something to fall back on in case he does fire that second barrel or he decides to check-call that turn bet. You want to have at least some outs.

When to Float

If you have no equity at all but still really want to float, don't. Next orbit that player is still going to be on your right and he's still going to be mindlessly continuation-betting.

Just wait until you have some equity. You rarely should be pure floating.

Prahlad Friedman
Good regulars know when their opponents c-bet too often only to give up on the turn.

Example One:

$1/$2 six-max game online; $200 effective stacks. An ABC multi-tabling TAG who meets the description above raises to $7 from the cut-off.

You make the call with 7 8. The blinds fold and the flop comes A 5 9. Your opponent c-bets $12.

This flop more than meets the criteria to float a serial c-better, so you call.

The turn comes 3 and your opponent checks. You bet $30 and he folds. A successful float.

Example Two:

$1/$2 six-max game online; $200 effective stacks. An ABC multi-tabling TAG who meets the description above raises to $7 from the cut-off.

You make the call with 7 8. The blinds fold and the flop comes A 5 9. Your opponent c-bets $12.

You call with the intention of stealing on the turn when he checks. The turn comes J. He fires $30.

Uh oh, it didn't work. He didn't check the turn. Now what?

This is why you float with equity. On the flop, you have a gutshot and a backdoor flush draw. It's insurance!

Jason Somerville
Jcarver says equity = insurance.

Even if your opponent continues, you can hit 10 cards that improve your hand on the turn. And that's just what happened. The J improves your hand to an open-ender and a flush draw.

Now you can call again and, chances are, you can win a big pot if you hit your hand. Especially because your opponent double-barreled an ace-high board when he rarely double barrels - meaning he has a big hand and your implied odds are very good.

So you call again and the 6 hits the river. Your opponent bets $85. You shove. He calls his last $66 and shows A J, which is no good vs. your rivered straight.

This is the insurance, your escape hatch. You call the flop with the intention of stealing the pot when he checks. But you have a backup plan of hitting your long-shot hand.

When he fires again, you're lucky enough to have turned a big draw. You hit it on the river and stack him - something you can expect a small percentage of the time.

Those times he fires the turn and you don't improve, you simply fold. It's that easy.

In a Nutshell

Keep your goal in mind when you call the flop. The bulk of the money you make is going to come from when he check-folds the turn. The rest is gravy, which is why you choose a hand with some equity.

Don't be as bad as those mindless c-bettors and don't just fold every time you miss the flop. Look for opponents with high c-bet frequencies and low second-barrel frequencies and call.

These opponents are going to give up an awful lot on the turn. And when they do, it's free money in your e-pocket.

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jonny 2009-12-05 20:17:07

what happens when we turn the flush draw, call his double barrel, and the river is a blank and he checks? do we try and steal it or just give up?

Pavel 2009-11-30 22:09:10

This is a great article.

I wonder if the comments are counting outs correctly, though. The article says that there are ten outs that will improve the hand on the turn, and that the Jh improved the hand. All that did was improve the hand to a drawing hand (which is a big improvement, no doubt.)

If we are counting outs which improve us to a drawing hand, there are fifteen outs. Only a 6 would improve us to a decent made hand (a straight). Pairing the 7 or 8 would still leave two overcards on the board, so I don't think you could justify calling the second barrel.

Still a great article, though.

Andy Karr 2009-10-25 23:39:00

A very interesting article - but where can you get one of these HUDS that give you all this magic info about how often people c-bet, double-barrel, etc???

Cheers,

Andy

james 2009-10-21 16:32:00

What are the 10 outs on the flop to improve the hand on the turn? Such a noob question lol

smith 2009-10-21 13:48:00

Daniel Skolovy is my favourite pokerlistings writer :)

That dude with AJ would be raging at you big time, probably calling you donk and fish every 3 words lol.

Dean_Winchester 2009-10-15 22:53:00

No, he was talking about the flop.

"Even if your opponent continues, you can hit 10 cards that improve your hand on the turn. And that's just what happened. The J improves your hand to an open-ender and a flush draw."

10 outs on the flop to improve the hand on the turn, and 15 outs on the turn to win on the river, as you said.

Ogerle 2009-10-15 18:07:00

In the 2nd example, you counted 10 Outs for the river. But I see more: Each Heart (9) + every Six (3) + all Tens (3) = 15 Outs

Am I wrong ?

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