Continuation bet (c-bet) is a common poker strategy where a player continues their pre-flop aggression by betting on the flop, regardless of hand strength. This tactic often leads to decent profits with minimal effort as opponents tend not to resist unless they hit a big hand. Facing this strategy, it’s crucial not to let our opponents dominate us, especially given its widespread use. When we’re positioned well, particularly on the Button, using c-bet is almost expected. Therefore, having a counter-strategy to exploit the continuation bet is essential for success. One such strategy is ‘floating’, where we call a continuation bet from a pre-flop raiser intending to steal the pot on the Turn with our own bet or raise. Executed correctly, floating can be an effective addition to any player’s toolkit.
The Psychology of Floating
Successful poker tactics often involve understanding players’ thought processes and acting accordingly. To exploit those who like to c-bet, we need to understand why it works. Most players frequently give up against the c-bet, primarily due to the probabilities involved in poker. Often, starting hands that aren’t pairs miss the Flop, leaving us ill-prepared to fight against a c-bet based solely on hand strength. The beauty of the c-bet strategy lies in its effectiveness even without a strong starting hand, capitalizing on the opponent’s likely miss. Understanding the psychology behind the c-bet allows us to turn it to our advantage. Just as we’re unlikely to hit the Flop, the player using the c-bet tactic often doesn’t have a strong hand either. They’re merely leveraging their initiative to apply pressure with the c-bet. Floating changes this narrative, leading our opponent to believe that their usually successful strategy hasn’t worked this time due to our stronger hand. Players who successfully use continuation betting understand it as a ‘three steps forward, one step back’ process – we’re simply convincing them that this is a necessary step back. Position is crucial for floating, and it’s easier to execute when it’s just us and the c-bettor. We should look for spots affording us a positional advantage and featuring a single opponent. Remember, the key to all of this is crafting a believable narrative that convinces our target to fold. Enjoy your game!