There is a bluff move that works best in psychological variations of poker like NL Holdem. Essentially, floating the pot means calling a bet or raise with nothing, either to bluff a draw or to see if your opponent continues a suspected bluff. The move allows you to increase your share of pots won, without depending on actually having real hands, so it increases the real edge you have over other players and is an important part of increasing your EV.
It works like this preflop there is one early limper and you raise from the button with some suited connector, the blinds fold and you go heads up. The flop is 4h 5h Jd which misses you completely but your opponent makes a half-pot sized bet into you. Let’s say we have this player marked a simple to read tight player that is also capable of folding a marginal hand. So we can guess that he has hit the flop. But because we have missed the flop completely, the bet would normally make most people fold out of the hand. But we can be a bit stronger than that. There are over-cards and two draws on this flop and we can exploit that to make a “fake” draw. If we are reasonably confident that this is a tight player that is capable of folding then in fact we have REAL outs, we just need a scare card to hit on the turn and a big sized bluff should win us the pot. If any heart, six, seven, queen, king or ace hit on the turn, we have a chance at winning the pot. This many outs actually makes us the mathematical favorite to win the hand but depends on what the other guy has actually hit on the flop (i.e. the ace may not be an out as it might make him two pair or he may already be holding a set) but we can assess the situation from reading him and watching his betting pattern when the scare card hits.
Remember when you are floating the pot in order to pick off bluffing, make sure you have consider the player you are floating. There is no point floating the pot against a tight weak player. This is because they have more likely bet because they have a hand and they are less likely to be able to fold when the scare card hits. This is where aggressive players often complain about donkies who couldn’t make the lay down, “even though there was a straight and flush out there they couldn’t fold top pair”. So it is important that your opponent is capable of bluffing and also capable of folding.
You want to float the pot against an aggressive player who tends to bet whether they hit the flop or not. Calling his flop bet, forces him to make a second bluff on the turn. If you sense weakness on the turn or the river, you can snap him up and take the pot away. These players are bit more tricky and you need to have a handle on their betting patterns, especially their bluffing patterns. Are they capable of bluffing the flop, turn and river? Or do they give up by the turn? Once you have this pattern, you can exploit his predictable bluffing. On the hand betting that breaks their bluffing pattern is a good signal of strength and you can back off.
The important strategic reason for making these kind of moves is that, it adds a layer of deception to your game. In fact, it may be good to get caught floating the pot once or twice, so that you can get paid off when you do actually make your draws. Finally, while you don’t necessarily need position to float the pot, it is much much easier to float the pot from position. Position buys you information and that advantage can keep you from playing the guessing game.
In tournament play, where there is more room to create fear in your opponent. You must bet into your opponent once he shows weakness. So if he made a standard continuation bet, you should float him and if on the turn he checks you should bet into him. There is no point floating a pot if you don’t intend to steal it at some point with a raise or bet. Floating the pot is basically a bluff move, where you intend to out-play your opponent and is nothing like fishing.