The Squeeze Play – Understanding The Poker Squeeze Play And When To Use It!

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As you gain experience at the poker tournament tables many opportunities to play your opponents and their chip-stacks, rather than the cards, will appear. The ‘Squeeze Play’ is one such move in which the cards in your hand are less important than the stacks and the situation. This article describes the poker ‘Squeeze Play’ and the importance of making sure that the circumstances are correct before you attempt to use it.

Executed correctly the squeeze play can significantly increase your chip stack during the vitally important mid to late stages of a poker tournament. Getting this move wrong can equally result in your chip stack being decimated – or even busting out from the tournament completely.

Overview - How To Execute A Poker Squeeze Play.

Here is the situation: A loose and aggressive player open raises from middle position to 3 times the already high big blind, the player on the button flat calls this raise. You are in the big blind and choose to re-raise all-in - causing both the aggressive player and the button to fold.

This 'move' succeeded because the gap between the range of hands the aggressive player would raise, and those he could call your all-in with is wide. Also the second player only flat called, effectively narrowing the range of hands he could be holding. Thirdly, your all-in move looks super-strong, since you saw a raise and a call ahead of you.

Depending on the size of the stacks your bet does not have to be all-in to be effective. Notice we did not discuss your hand here, since the dynamic and players involved are actually far more important. Having said that you will get called sometimes - so choosing hands which are not easily dominated can add to the percentage gains from this play.

The Squeeze Play - Stack Size Considerations

You need to have enough chips to threaten both the players already involved in the hand. If your raise would offer enticing pot-odds to either of these players then you can not squeeze. For example, if any player in the above example was sitting with a 10 Big Blind stack then after your bet (including the blinds) they would be seeing pot-odds of more than 2-to-1 - meaning they only need to win more than 33% of the time to show a profit. Since a large number of hands fit this category the small size of the chip stacks may lead to your squeeze being called.

Deep stacks also create questions, since you can not profitably re-raise all-in with too many big blinds (more than 25 would be borderline here). This means you would have to re-raise, risking a flat call from one or more opponents. While this can still be effective in the right situations, having extra backup in the form of a hand or position on your opponent(s) is certainly helpful.

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The Squeeze Play - Player Tendencies

It is important to make sure that the players who have entered the pot are actually capable of folding their hands. Many online poker players, particularly at the lower to middle limits, are simply not capable of laying a hand down once they have entered a pot with it.

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The Squeeze Play - Your Cards

While the poker squeeze play is independent of the hand you hold there is little point ‘wasting’ a decent hand by using it to squeeze. If you have a good hand which may have some showdown value then there may be better ways to make use of this and your late position.

The Squeeze Play - Summary

To summarize, the right conditions for the squeeze play in a poker tournament are when a known loose opponent raises, gets one or more flat calls and you have enough chips to make a large and threatening raise from later position. Since any callers know that the initial raiser is loose they have not shown strength by simply calling – increasing the chances that you can take a big pot without a showdown.

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