Today we’re going to spend some time looking at a way to make you a little more money even when you don’t have great cards.
This is the famous poker squeeze play, and it’s going to become a very important part of your overall poker arsenal. For those who don’t know, the poker squeeze play is a three-bet that’s done when one player opens the pot and at least one of the other players on the field calls.
Your goal here is to learn how to be the better poker player at the table. You’re going to look at some of the basic poker rules and figure out how your opponent deals with his or her poker hand. Once you can read another player, you can use the poker squeeze play to take every possible chip.
Making a Poker Squeeze Play
Alright, let’s start with the big stuff.
When you do a poker squeeze play in poker games, you’re taking advantage of a very specific kind of opportunity. You need two loose players to make this work – one who raises before the flop and one who decides to call after the first player raises. Your goal is to squeeze them out by dropping a three-bet.
Why are you going to do this in poker games? Generally speaking, because anyone who plays loose and aggressive is going to make some mistakes. They’ll bet even with a really wide range, and the player behind them is also going to call because it’s kind of cheap to do so. Neither one of them, though, is likely to have a hand that’s good enough to stand up to a three-bet.
To do this, you’re going to have to figure out your marks. You want that loose and aggressive player who bets without knowing the value of his or her poker hand. You’re also going to need to find his more passive buddy who just likes to call whenever there’s the chance to see a cheap flop.
This important poker strategy can be used mainly in no limit poker games. It’s most often used, in NL Texas Hold’em poker tournaments. In fact, it really shines in these NL Texas Hold’em poker games and allows you to really get the big money out on the table.
How to Do a Poker Squeeze Play
Alright, now we know the component parts of a poker squeeze play. Since we know the general poker rules for how this works, we’re going to adapt our poker strategy to look for two things – the raiser’s table image both from our point of view and from his own.
What we know is that the player who raises is a loose player, right? He’s going to raise on a huge poker range. We also know that the player who calls is aware of this – he knows that he can probably safely call and thus has a very wide calling range.
You cannot pull off this poker squeeze play unless we have the right players in the right positions.
We also need to make sure a few other things are done in order to make this a successful play.
First and foremost, you’ve got to be willing to bet big in order to make a poker squeeze play effectively. Your main goal is to make your opponents fold, price them out of the pot, after all, and this means scaring them off. Typically, this means going with a bet that’s about five times the initial bet.
You also probably want to make sure that there is no one behind you when you try a poker squeeze play. You can probably pull this off with one or two players behind you, the blinds, but it gets tougher with each individual player.
Finally, you want to make sure that you’re a credible player. If you’ve been playing tight, you’ll be scary when you do this. If you’re loose, though, you might get your bluff called.
Tournament Poker Squeeze Plays
One of the most common places you’ll see a poker squeeze play is in poker tournaments, especially when players decide to go all in.
There are some good reasons why this is done, of course. You’re probably not going to see the post-flop play you’d see elsewhere, and you’ll be able to deal with some added strength at the same time.
Now, you’re still going to be dealing with the same basic factors as you would in any other game. You’re still relying on the same raiser and caller pair, after all. You’re just doing to be dealing with some added variables.
The big thing you’re dealing with here is stack size. You need to have enough chips to scare off your opponents. You also need enough chips to make your all-in scary as they relate to the blinds.
If you want to pull this off, you’re going to need a reasonably-sized stack – somewhere around at least fifteen blinds. Any smaller and you’re just a nice target.
When you have the right size of stack, though, you’re going to be a rock star. Your opponent won’t be able to deal with your big bet, the players who are just calling probably don’t have anything, and you’re going to be able to bully players who deserve to be bullied. All this is going to get you paid more often than not.
Why You Squeeze
So, what does a poker squeeze really do for you? It lets you take advantage of pot odds when other players set you up into a good position. It also gives you more options to get more money.
If you pull this off right, one of three things happens – everyone folds and you get everything, one player calls and you have a good range, or you’re at least stuck back where you were before. Not bad, right?
Dealing with Position
Position, as we stated, is pretty important when we are dealing with a poker squeeze play. If we’re in a typical six-person game, we really want to stick to trying this play either as the button or cutoff.
Again, we’re really shooting to do this particular play from the button or cutoff when at all possible. If we squeeze from the button, we’re positioned against everyone. If we’re in the blinds, we will be out of position, and every player will have an edge against us after the flop, but the whole idea is to take the pot without seeing the flop.
Can you squeeze when you’re not in a good poker position? Of course – it’s just much less of a sure thing. You’re going to have to look at the range with which you’re going to be comfortable and get a lot more familiar with how the game is working.
If we’re in position and we want to squeeze, we can generally work with hands that include:
Pair of Solid Suited Connectors
Smaller/Medium Pocket Pairs
Good Unpaired Hands Like King/Queen
All of these hands are really solid, and they’re going to give us a really good chance to hit big on the flop. If we play when we’re in the right position, we can absolutely dominate the game.
These hands play well multi-way and can flop monster draws or hit big hands like sets and straights. Playing them in position gives us the possibility to control the size of the pot or attack weakness when we see it.
In fact, what you really need to learn here is how to get as much value out of great hands in this position so that you can kill off any potential competition on the flop. When you’re playing a squeeze play and you actually have something good, you’ll be able to get a lot from your game.
When you choose to squeeze in a position that’s not quite as ideal, you’re going to have a much larger challenge. Some of the hands that you might have relied on when you were in position are now going to be very tough to use. You’re not going to play around with a King and Queen here, for example – you need a little more power in the pocket.
When most people play around in this spot, they’re playing with hands that give them a good chance of producing something spectacular. Really strong connectors, for example, tend to be popular. What you’re looking for isn’t necessarily the type of hand that’s going to win in any situation, but one that has really strong potential as you move forward in the game.
Making Money from a Poker Squeeze Play
As a poker player, you should look at any proposed poker strategy and figure out how it’s going to make you money.
In this case, it’s pretty simple – you’re taking advantage of players who tend to fold when things get too rich, typical small ball players. When you know how to put that pressure on properly, you’ll take the bank.
Oddly enough, your best friend is going to be the mediocre player who just hates to fold. You can use a huge range on your squeezes if you’re dealing with a player who just doesn’t like to fold when he or she is in the wrong position. You’ll get to extract an awful lot of value out of this type of player, so pay attention.
At the same time, you’re going to push away some of your stronger hands against those players who fold more often. You’ve got to play loose when players fold too often because they’re going to be far too skittish to give you money. It’s a tight rope that you’ve got to walk, in essence.
This is one of those situations that requires you to have a good idea of the person against who you are playing. You need the guy who checks instead of bets, and you also need the loose and reckless monster who goes chicken when things get bad in order to make these plays work.
Dealing with the Three-Bet
Finally, we’re going to talk about how we size up our bets.
Generally speaking, we are going to shoot for a bet that is somewhere around four times the amount our friend in the second position called. If we get two people calling, we can still pull out a squeeze – we just have to add another bet. If we’re out of position, we’re looking at six times the original bet amount.
Honestly, though, these are suggestions. How things work at your table won’t always be the same. Pay attention to how people bet – you might get away with going a lot bigger if you are playing against someone who can deal with it, while going smaller can convince another player to stay in the pot just a little longer.
The poker squeeze play is a good idea, but it’s also something that has to be adapted to the table at which you play. You’ve got to be really good at reading others before you can start to rely on this strategy.
Once you get to a place where it works, though, you’re going to make money. It’s a time-tested way to take control and one that’s going to win you plenty of cash and even more Texas Hold’em poker tournaments.
The squeeze play is one of the most powerful plays in No Limit Hold’em and one every poker player, whether a tournament or cash game specialist, should study and perfect in order to maximize profits. See you at the WSOP!
Poker Squeeze Play – FAQ
What is a poker squeeze play?
This is during pre-flop action. A player raises and there are several callers. Since those several people only called, it usually means they're not strong. You raise a large amount to take all the chips without anyone seeing a flop. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.
Is a poker squeeze play profitable?
There is no concrete information, but I would say no. However, if you only squeeze with premium hands, then yes.
How do you properly do a poker squeeze?
When there is one pre-flop raiser and many callers, raise a large amount or go all-in with a premium hand.