Snappy Floats

diamond_white1-e1480084552211I was playing $5/10 no-limit hold’em at the Venetian and I had the ideal arrangement. Predictable Pete on my left was playing 20% of his hands, and Generous Gene on my right was playing 80%. I figure I don’t need to show my work to this crowd. Obviously my correct preflop percentage was to play 50% of the hands. Which I did joyously.

An hour into the session, this hand came up. I had the button and $2500. Gene was in the cutoff with more than that. He opened for $50. I had A4o. I snap floated him.

(I realize that you can’t technically float before the flop. Probably because there’s no proper word for it, yet. If we allow the word “float” to describe more of an attitude than an actual play, then I think it’s okay to call my call a float.)

Both blinds folded so now we were headsup.

I entirely missed the flop. He bet $100, using ten $10 chips, and I snap floated with one $100 chip. I had a plan. If he checked the turn, I would snap bet $300 with three prepared black chips. If he bet the turn, I would snap float him yet another time.

(To float someone, there has to be at least one more street to go. You can float on the flop, and you can float on the turn, but oddly, at poker, the one thing you can’t do is float on the river.)

The turn came. My hand was still ace-high with a one-pair draw. He took his time and then he said, “I bet $300.”   I snap floated him using the three black chips that were resting under my palm like a coiled snake’s tongue. With a quick and barely perceptible nudge from my thumb, my three black chips suddenly appeared across the betting line. This was intended to make him fold while be begged forgiveness for having been born. But instead, he asked me a question:

“What do you have?” he said. “Pocket nines?”

Apparently he wanted me to think that he thought I would play pocket nines just as bad as I was playing A-4.

After I called the turn, the pot was $900, I had about $2,000 left, and he had me covered. There was still plenty of time for me to pull this one out.

My plan to maybe bluff the river was thwarted when an ace came, my best possible card, giving me a pair of aces with no kicker. He snap checked. His body was saying, “Don’t you dare bet. I’ve got my hand and I like it and I’m calling.”

But I didn’t necessarily believe all that.  I deftly conjured up a range of hands for him that he might call a bet with that I could beat. And also a range he might check/call with that beat me. I factored the factors and I decided to bet $500 because betting is fun. He took not that long and said, “Call.”  I turned over A-4. And so did he.



  • Alan Bostick Posted July 26, 2011 8:12 am

    But I’m sure you won a few more Sklansky bucks from him through your expert sixth-street play.

  • ready2win Posted July 26, 2011 8:47 am

    Isn’t the right term for your pre flop play just “flat” (if you don’t want to use “call”)?

  • admin Posted July 26, 2011 9:09 am

    “Isn’t the right term for your pre flop play just “flat” (if you don’t want to use “call”)?”

    Yes, but not quite. Years ago, when limit-hold’em was what almost everyone played, the term “flat” connoted, “Call, as opposed to raise.” It meant, “I could have raised, but I decided to just call.” That was true for the word “flat” on any street including preflop.

    To say that I “floated” him before the flop means the same as “call,” but the connotation here, at least in my mind, is that when we float, the second best choice would have been to fold, whereas when we “flat,” the second best choice would have been to raise. Be advised that I am totally pulling all this out of my ass. 🙂

  • admin Posted July 26, 2011 9:10 am

    “But I’m sure you won a few more Sklansky bucks from him through your expert sixth-street play.”


  • ready2win Posted July 26, 2011 10:39 am

    OK, makes a lot of sense. 🙂

  • Anna Paradox Posted July 27, 2011 5:12 am

    Oooh, there’s nothing tastier than teasing out the connotations of new words.

    I agree — there’s an idea that flatting is instead of raising and floating is instead of folding. The other element of this is that they are both holding in reserve the option to make a move on a later street. Calling doesn’t have as much of a forward-looking aspect. It’s simply what it is. Flatting comes with a trapping-like option to lead your opponent into being more aggressive against your hand than he would if you’d raised. Floating is more holding the option to become aggressive yourself later if your opponent blinks.

    Or so I read them! The language is always evolving.

  • YourDoom aka Ryan Posted August 17, 2011 9:06 pm

    Nice hand. Cool story.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 × five =