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Making Moves: The Squeeze Play
The squeeze play is a well-known move that every poker player needs in their arsenal. Making a squeeze play is not as common in the online poker world as it once was, but it is still highly effective. This article highlights what a squeeze play is in addition to when you should and should not make one.
What Is A Squeeze Play?
A squeeze play is a simple yet effective move employed by both cash game and tournament players. You can only make it in a no-limit or pot-limit games, do not bother trying in a fixed-limit format.
In short, a squeeze is when one player raises, another calls, and you three-bet. The player three-betting is squeezing.
There are four possible outcomes when you make a squeeze play. Your opponents folding is the best of the quartet because you win a fairly sizeable pot without seeing a flop. One player calling is not bad either because you have a range advantage going to the flop in a substantial pot.
Both players can call which is not disastrous but is not ideal. The squeezer still has a range advantage, but it lessens with each additional caller. An opponent coming over the top with a four-bet is the worse possible outcome of the four. Facing a four-bet puts you in a potentially tough spot depending on what hands you made the squeeze play with.
The Ideal Squeeze Play Scenario
You can make a squeeze whenever there is a raise and a call in front of you. There is an ideal situation, however. It is perfect if the initial raiser is loose and opens a lot of pots before giving up to pressure. Likewise, the caller being a loose player is perfect because neither the raiser nor caller is showing any real strength.
A situation like this means you can make a squeeze play with a much wider range of hands. An increasing number of your hands can be squeezed for value.
Why The Squeeze Is a Powerful Play
The squeeze play takes advantage of situations where players have not shown much strength. Deploying a squeeze properly mostly results in winning a decent-sized pot with little to no resistance.
Players often expect you to make a squeeze play when the opportunity presents itself. This almost disguises the strength of your hand. Imagine waking up with aces or kings in the big blind after the cutoff opens and the button calls! Your opponents expect you to three-bet here and one of them will consider four-betting you, which is perfect!
Which Hands Should Your Squeeze and How Much To Bet
It is possible to make a squeeze with any two cards against the perfect opponents, but you should not. The obvious squeeze play candidates are the powerhouse hands of AA, KK, QQ, and AK. These are hands you squeeze for value and do not mind an opponent calling or four-betting you.
Feel free to add JJ, TT, and AQ for value against loser opponents or raises and calls from later positions.
Hands that play well if called and make it less likely an opponent will continue are good to mix into your squeezing range. Think along the lines of AQ, AT, KQ, QJ, JT and medium-to-high pairs from eights upwards. These hands perform well post flop against a raise-call range. They are also blockers that make it less likely your squeeze is called.
The size of your squeeze bet depends on if you are in or out of position. Three-bet the size of the pot minus one big blind if you are in position. This is usually 4-4.5 times the size of the initial raise.
Raise the size of the pot plus one big blind if you are out of position. This is around five-times the initial raise with one caller.