How To Use The Squeeze in Texas Holdem Poker
The squeeze play occurs when a loose-aggressive player raises from an early position and another player follows the raise by calling prior to the action coming to you.
You will be in late position and will come over the top with a huge re-raise or an all in bet to force the other two players to fold and win the pot. This pre-flop move can be effective in both tournaments and cash games, but must be used cautiously.
Loose and Aggressive Raiser
In essence, you are squeezing both the loose and aggressive raiser and the player hoping to see the flop, who are entering the hand with weaker than optimum starting hands. You know this because the loose player is often raising with less than stellar hands and if the caller did have a strong hand, he probably would have re-raised himself.
Must Know Your Opponents
The success of the squeeze play is reliant only upon the situation and your position, not on the cards you are holding. For that reason, the ability to read your opponents correctly, as well as the situation itself, is critical.
The amount of your bet when re-raising should generally be at least four times the amount of the initial raise. Keep in mind that sometimes an all in bet may be a better choice, depending on the game situation.
Although the cards you are holding are not the main focus of the squeeze play because you are banking on your opponents to fold, of course it’s always better to have some type of hand–drawing or otherwise–on the outside chance that you read your opponents incorrectly and one of them happens to call your bet.
Your Table Image
The squeeze play begins with the table image of the loose-aggressive player. You and other players will have noticed that he often raises pre-flop with mediocre or marginal hands. The player who calls knows this as well, but does not have a hand strong enough to re-raise.
That is where the squeeze comes in when the action gets to you and your re-raise or all in forces both players to fold because neither one has a strong starting hand.
There is other ingredients that are crucial in making the squeeze play work. Successful reads on both players involved in the hand are necessary. But just as important is knowing that other players who may be acting behind you will also fold their hands because if you should get called or raised by another player in better position, your squeeze attempt of the first two players will be gone. That is why the later the position you are in at the table, the greater the success of the squeeze play.
I mentioned the table image of the loose-aggressive raiser being of extreme importance. In addition, your table image will also be a factor in the other players deciding if they should call your huge raise or not. In that regard, it helps if your opponents view you as the tight-aggressive type who would make such a play only with the most premium of hands.
If you have been seen playing loosely with marginal hands, players will be more prone to call your raise. The whole idea is to entice the other players into believing that you have a monster hand. You will not have proper credibility to make the squeeze if your image leans toward the loose end of the spectrum.
Size of Raise
Also key in the squeeze play’s success is the amount or size of your re-raise. Your goal is to push both of your rivals off their hands, which is why at least four times the initial raise or perhaps an all in is the recommended size that will accomplish your goal of taking down the pot pre-flop.
As a short-stacked player during tournament action, the squeeze will not be effective because an all in that is equivalent to, say, two or three times the initial raise, is not large enough of a raise. There is no squeezing involved if your raise is too small to push your opponents off the pot.
The squeeze play’s success will hinge on an accurate read of your opponents, as well as a tight and solid table image on your part. To make the squeeze play work requires a loose raiser, a loose caller, and a strong re-raise or all in.
Remember to use the squeeze play sparingly in only the most ideal situations to maintain credibility. Adding this play to your repertoire will increase profitability and can enhance your reputation as a player to be feared.
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