Squeeze Play

In the later tournament stages, a loose aggressive player raises for the fifth time in a row preflop and another player calls. Is there a way to exploit situations like this one? The squeeze play can be a very profitable move, when used cautiously.

Squeeze play

Squeeze play involves making a big re-raise preflop when there are a loose raiser and one or more callers in the pot, regardless of your hole cards.

The chip sandwich (as some players like to call the squeeze play) makes use of two facts:

 Loose raiser’s hand most of the time will be too weak to call your squeeze. Additionally, the raiser will have to worry about the caller(s) that are still left to act.
 The caller(s) are most likely aware of the raiser often having a weak holding so they are going to call with much wider range than usual that will fold to your re-raise. They would have re-raised themselves if they have had a strong hand.

As always, before deciding on making a squeeze, you need to consider a number of factors:

Squeeze play when you are shortstacked

This move can be particularly effective in later tournament stages and in cash games, when the stacks are small. The squeeze play works best if you re-raise all-in. However, your all-in re-raise should be big enough to make it too expensive for any player to call without a big hand.

For example, when the initial raise is to 3 big blinds and there is one caller on the button, there will be 7.5bb in the pot when it is your turn to act. I suggest that your stack is at least 15 big blinds so when you squeeze, your opponents will be getting bad pot odds to call. Of course, you may squeeze with a smaller stack when your hand is strong.

Squeeze play in early tournament stages and deep stack cash games

The squeeze play is rarely effective in early tournament stages. Players usually play very tight there and re-raising will lose you money, unless you know that the raiser loves to play aggressively from the tournament beginning.

In cash games with deep stacks (100 big blinds and more) the squeeze play has recently been becoming more popular, especially in 6max games. With so many aggressive players, there are plenty of good spots for making a squeeze.

With a deep stack, re-raising all-in is no longer an option. A good re-raise size is 3 times the initial raise plus one time extra for each caller. For example, when one player raises to $6 and there are two callers, you should re-raise to $30 (3 x $6 + 2 x $6). Alternatively you can just use the pot-size raise option in your poker client (most poker rooms have this feature).

However, you should be aware that some players have learned to defend against squeezes by 4betting (re-re-raising) or calling with weaker hole cards. I recommend that you not squeeze against such players without premium hands, unless you play post-flop very well.

Your table image

The squeeze play can be pulled off successfully if you have a tight image at the table. If your opponents know that you raise only with premium hands, they are going to give you credit and fold when you make the move.

On the other hand, if you have been raising a lot at the table, it is much more likely that thinking players will play back at you. It is better to squeeze only with premium hands, when your table image is loose.

Conclusion on the squeeze play

The squeeze play is an advanced preflop bluffing technique. Before making a squeeze, analyze your opponents, your table image, and the stack sizes. If you pick the right spots, this move will add a nice little extra to your bottom line. Just do not overuse it, though, or you will no longer be able to stay under the radar.

More articles on specific poker plays:

 Check raise
 Continuation bet
 Double barreling
 Stealing blinds

Go back to the Online Poker Strategy.