How Can I Beat Players That Float Often?

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Today’s question is from Ed R. and Ed wants me to talk about being floated, especially by people with very high VPIPs. Ed, that’s a great topic, and just so we’re on the same page, I’m going to talk about being floated on the flop because you didn’t specify. In your question you specified people with very high VPIPs. Those are people that I’m primarily going to assume are going to be fishy opponents, they don’t have a lot of discipline, which is why they’re playing a ton of those hands, likely you’re going to have wider ranges, that sort of thing.

Now if you’re talking like a really competent lag, these are very difficult people to play against, especially when they’re on your direct left because they will float you a lot on a variety of streets and they’re going to make your life a living hell. But I’m going to assume you’re probably talking about fishier opponents, those kind of people that have 40% VPIPs and are not really folding to a single bet on a flop a tremendous amount of the time.

If you’re in a situation like this, there’s really three kind of adjustments you can make and they’re all kind of simple. The first one is to tighten up your continuation betting range and simply C-bet a stronger range of hands on more flop textures. That way you’re betting more for value when you do make that continuation bet and you’re ahead of more of the hands if he’s going to continue with what he floats you. That’s obviously a good thing.

But you got to be careful with that because if you’re only continuation betting like the strong stuff. Now you don’t really have to be balancing against the fish or anything, but are you really going to be getting to the flop with a super strong range of hands or given your preflop range, or are you going to be missing the flop a large chunk of the time and being unable to bet that flop for value? So it’s a situation where it’s a little bit tricky and kind of tough to get it to a situation where your flop betting range is going to be that strong side weighted and you’re going to be destroying his flop floating range, so definitely something to keep in mind. That’s a tricky way to adjust in a situation like this.

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The second way you can adjust in this kind of situation is to get more aggressive, continuation bet flops, but also keep that aggression going into the turn and/or river more often. In doing that, it’s going to obviously risk more money and you’re going to have more bluffs in your range, possibly some thinner value type hands and it can get really tricky and really expensive quite quickly. This allows you to bet for thinner value and also use scare cards to bluff. Because when you’re playing against these fishy opponents, we know they’re going to peel their pairs on the flop because fish really don’t like folding pairs and again, I’m assuming high VPIP equals fish. If you’re assuming high VPIP equals a laggy poker player, well, the thought process is a little bit different because they are better, they do have discipline where they need it, but again, I’m going to make the assumption that we’re talking about probably fishy or high VPIP type players.

They’re going to peel their pairs, they’re going to float the flop with things like ace high, king high, gut shots, way more, way more often and because of that, we don’t necessarily know how they’re going to continue on turns and rivers. Now I assume a fish probably isn’t going to fold very many pairs, which makes it tough to generate folds and the other thing is, how are they going to play like ace high? Are they doing to like double float you and their ace high beats you? That sort of thing.

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Against that kind of situation, do I really want to be throwing out a lot of money with a lot of uncertainty. It’s going to get very expensive very quickly and I’m not 100% sure how often I’m going to be able to generate those folds. It becomes tricky and tough. I like doing that with information against tighter opponents who have fold buttons, but against fishier opponents, high VPIP type opponents, I usually like to veer away from this because it can get really expensive and again, very, very uncertain, very quickly.

The third option is to continue continuation betting the flop a large chunk of the time and then essentially check/fold turns a lot and get out of it on turns and rivers a lot of the time. Now this is by far and away the worst option, simply because you’re going to be continuation betting a large chunk of the time and you’re not going to improve enough on turns and rivers, you’re going to get blown off the pot a lot of the time, and you’re just not really going to win that situation very much. But this is the option that a lot of people employ. They just continue continuation betting because they read a book years ago that said you have to continuation bet a lot and then they just keep blindly doing it and keep blindly throwing away these little pots, little pots, little pots—which add up and by the end of a session you’re down half a buy in to a full buy in.

Avoid this whenever possible. If you know it’s a situation where you’re going to get floated a lot, which means you’re going to be going into the turn and river a lot, make the decision early, am I going to just check fold a flop and be done with it? Again, no one said you have to continuation bet 100% of the time in 100% of the situations. You can check/fold the flop, you could tighten up your ranges preflop so that you can get to the flop with a stronger range of hands, you can continuation bet the flop with intentions on double or triple barreling more often and throwing some bluffs into that, but again, usually I want some information on that.

There’s a bunch of different options and ways that you can adjust in this kind of situation and a lot of players try to play it too statically. In my opinion, you need to play this pot very dynamically. Think about your opponent, the range they’re going to continue with, if you have any turn or river information on them, consider that in advance. Maybe this is a good situation where you can double barrel a large chunk of the time and very, very profitably. But you have to think ahead, you can’t just play statically in this kind of situation!

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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