Why should you float only when you're in position?

Poker float is something similar to a bluff-call. You call one raise or put money in it not because you have enough to do so but because you believe it will give you the chance to take the pot later on. A poker float is an important ammunition in your arsenal of strategies. The first advantage is its being relatively cheap compared to bluff raising. For example, if your opponent wagers and you believe there's a 30% chance his hands are strong enough for him to continue, when you raise that money, there's a 70% chance you'll take the pot. Provided that you pick the right size for a rise, you could be profitable in this position.

But when your competitor will play as expected on turn, and many are sure to do so, it is possible that you'd be more profitable if you'd just call the wager and wait for his moves upon reaching the turn. There's a 70% chance that he has weak hands, he'll check and then you can put the similar amount you would've in a raise or lesser but surely take the pot. In the 30% chance that he actually has a strong hand, he will wager again and you could fold, cutting you back from the amount the bluff raise would've cost you.

Of course this is only speaking in simpler terms. The situation presumes that your competitor's behavior at the turn would be totally predictable. It does not take into account the probability that his hands will be improved by the turn. But then again, the possibility of this turn card improving your hand is also ignored. When you got outs in the best hand, a poker float becomes more profitable.

Moreover, once your opponents are aware that you can float, they will feel compelled to increase their wagering, check raising at turns and calling limits. This way, you'll win more in pots which you only have to call the flop using a big hand.

Lastly, this helps to defend you against bluffs. When you fold bad flops all the time, you'll lose more money to basic bluffs for continuation bets. But if you call on a flop bet with another 20% chance as float, in addition to the 30% of the hands, you will lose less.

When To Float

There's a lot to be considered when deciding if and when you should float. The first thing to be considered is your position. It's dangerous to do so if you are not in the position. The next is the range of your opponent. Obviously, one of the best poker tips is to float only when your opponent cannot put a big amount on the pot. You should also consider your leverage over other players' stacks.