Floating out of position (OOP) without a made hand, can be a costly endeavor for most players if not done meticulously well.

You have to look for very specific conditions, but if know what to look for, and execute correctly in those spots, it can be an extremely profitable tactic to use when defending OOP.

Here are some of the most ideal conditions to look for in order to make profitable OOP floats without a made hand:

  1. Have a hand that has 1 or 2 overcards that will likely be good if you turn or river them.
  2. Have a hand that has good back door equity, like suited connectors – the most ideal is a hand that can turn a straight or flush draw (or both).
  3. See a flop that likely didn’t hit your opponents range that you can easily represent. Something like 2c 5s Kh. Check/calling and then eventually bluffing and representing the King can get your opponent to make mistakes and fold better hands sometimes.
  4. Have an opponent who is capable of folding some made hands.

floating oop

Most of the time that you should be floating OOP is in single raised pots when you’re defending your big blind (BB), or sometimes calling from the small blind, although I don’t recommend calling from the SB often unless you have a passive opponent or fish in the big blind.

Here’s a common profitable example from a hand I played the other day:

200NL 6-max Cash Game (effective stacks were about 100bbs)

Action folds to the CO who opens to 2.5bbs (25/22 – ok regular in this game), button folds, SB folds, and I call in the BB with QdTd. The flop comes: 4h Jd 6s.

Great flop for me, I’m floating OOP on this flop all day. I should note, in today’s games, I think you should have a donk range OOP (I still love that a lot of people seem to think having a donk range is bad. love it.), a check raise range, and a check/call range on these kinds of dry boards.

BUT when you have a hand that meets several of the requirements we talked about above (points 1-4), you should almost always float OOP or check/fold. Back to the hand:

I check, CO bets 3 bbs, and I call. Pot is now 11.5 bbs. Turn comes: 9d

Yeah, the turn can’t get much better for my hand other than a Q. But with these back door draws, there’s so much river equity to be had when your opponent does have a hand, because they often will overlook the likelihood you have a made flush/straight because of what the flop was, and your OOP check/call.

So now I have an open-ended straight flush draw. If we were deeper, I could consider c/ring the turn, which is super strong, and follow through with a big river bet if I hit or miss. But 100bbs deep, it’s not really the optimal line, so I play to check/call again.

I check, and CO checks. River comes: 3h

So I bricked, but my opponent checked. So like all good poker players know, that means my opponent has some kind of weak made hand, or is giving up on the hand. A smaller percentage of the time he could be slow playing a strong J like KJ/AJ etc… in order to get a decent river bet in.

But most of his range will be weak made hands, and whiffs. Which is great for me, now you have to pounce, and I always recommend betting large on the river in these spots for value and as bluffs. I can represent a lot of big hands still, sets, J9, AJ, 57 with a straight. All of those are viable hands for me.

I bet 14 bbs, and my opponent folds. If the river comes a diamond or an 8 or K, I’m betting the same amount. Maybe even on a Q as well. It just depends on my opponent and our history as well. Every overbet I make against someone I note. Because I’m guessing they will note it a decent amount of the time, and I want to know how curious they are getting about what my over bets are.

So that’s the 101 truth on floating OOP. I would do it sparingly in these spots, and if you execute like I outlined here, you’ll find more profitability in your poker game… and that’s the truth! 🙂



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