The Art of Squeezing in Poker

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There are many different types of play in poker and they have all sorts of exotic names. We have the steal-raise, pick up, donk betting, the float play, whipsaw and the list goes on. But there is one particular play that I would like to talk about in this article and it is the squeeze play. This particular tactic can be executed in cash games as well as tournaments and it is designed to focus on the situation and not on your actual hand.

Let us look at an example from a Texas Hold em poker tournament to see a squeeze play in action. Player A raises to 600 with the blinds at 100-200! They have a stack of 24,000 in chips compared to your 22,000. You have been watching this player and they have been raising on a very high percentage of their hands so you know that they must be raising light, crucially they have also been backing down to aggression as well so you know that they are capable of folding a hand.

This player open raises from middle position and their raise gets called by the player in the cut-off seat who has a stack of 17,000. The action is now on you and you look down to see absolute junk with the Jc-8h on the button. Now this hand isn’t total junk of course as it does have some potential but against a raise and a call then folding is a solid play here.

But looking more closely at the situation reveals that you have another option open to you and that is to raise. Now before you think that I have taken leave of my senses here, a closer look at the situation will reveal a far different picture. We already know that the raiser is a loose aggressive player who is capable of folding so this now presents us with a rather interesting dynamic.

The original raiser has a stack of 23,400 remaining so they are not committed to the hand in any way shape of form. Also the caller has definitely implied weakness and also has a stack that will not commit him to the hand either as they have 16,400 remaining. A raise here basically takes advantage of the situation that has arisen.

We have a raiser who is likely not strong enough to call a re-raise and a caller who is almost certainly not strong enough. The remaining question mark is in what the blinds have. But amassing a big stack in tournament poker is all about playing the percentages and you cannot win tournaments without gambling. However if you can turn these gambles into calculated gambles then you can fare a lot better.

So you re-raise to 3000, both blinds fold and so do the original raiser and caller. You pick up a nice 1500 in chips and all because you spotted an opportunity to make a move. But look at another advantage to the play, your own stack before the hand started was 22,000 so even if you run into a big hand from the blinds or the original raiser then you still have a further 19,000 in chips in which to do battle with.

If your raise gets called then you can proceed accordingly as the chances that your opponent will have a real hand have now been magnified. But you now have the option to bet the flop or take a free card and see the turn.

This can allow you to win a big pot in several other ways as well as you will be connecting with a board that your opponent will not expect like with 10-9-7 or 8-8-2 for instance. So remember the “squeeze play” and add this to your arsenal of weapons for future use.

By: Carl “The Dean” Sampson