Squeezing in Poker
The squeeze play takes advantage of other players’ wide ranges in a given situation and forces them make a decision for more chips, when they most likely do not want to continue. Squeezing is an aggressive poker play that can be used with great success against specific opponents.
What is squeezing in poker?
The opportunity to make a squeeze play arises when an aggressive player makes a raise in a situation where he is likely to have a reasonably wide range (usually from middle or late position). After this player has raised he gets called in at least one spot and the action gets round to you. Recognising the wideness of your opponent’s ranges here you decide to re-raise as a bluff, expecting to have a significant amount of fold equity. This raise is known as a squeeze and can be very effective, especially if your opponents fold to a lot of 3bets.
You are on the button, 6 handed in an online MTT. The blinds are 100/200 with positions and chip stacks as follows:
Player 1 (SB): 8,000
Player 2 (BB): 6,000
Player 3: 2,450
Player 4: 8,550
Player 5: 5,800
You (BTN): 9,500
Player 4 who has been reasonably loose and aggressive, raising often from middle and late position, makes a standard raise to 550. Player 5 who has also been quite loose and somewhat aggressive up to this point calls for 550. You are on the button and look down at 97o. You decide this would be a good time to raise as a bluff and pop it up to 2,100.
Player 4 thinks for a few seconds then folds, quickly followed by player 5 who instantly folds. You pick up another 1,400 chips.
The perfect squeeze conditions
For the squeeze play to work best there are some conditions that need to be present. The power of squeezing depends heavily on how much fold equity you have so when all of the following factors point towards you having good fold equity then you have an excellent squeeze opportunity.
The opening raiser’s range must be sufficiently wide. It’s no good trying to squeeze someone who only plays 6% of his hands because his range comprises solely of strong holdings and so he is unlikely to fold often. A player with a wide range is likely to have a lot of hands he doesn’t want to play a big pot with and will have to let go. The beauty of the squeeze play is that he has to make his decision with the caller still to act behind him which should tighten up his range a little further.
It also adds to your chances of success if the opening raiser is a player who often folds to 3bets. If you are playing online and are using a HUD then having a players fold to 3bet percentage available can be extremely useful for picking good targets for 3bets, squeezes and re-steals.
Your image should be that of a solid or tight player. If you have shown down a total bluff recently you are much less likely to have the fold equity you might normally expect. If your opponents view you as tight and solid then your raise should get a lot of respect. You must also not overuse this move as even players that aren’t paying too much attention will notice if you start squeezing them at every opportunity.
Squeezing is a powerful poker move that should be in any good player’s arsenal. Take into account your table image, position and opponent’s ranges and tendencies and you should be able to recognise perfect squeeze opportunities.