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The Poker Squeeze Play

Poker Article: The Squeeze PlayOne of the newest and most popular plays in poker these days is a maneuver called the squeeze play. The “squeeze” was made famous by Dan Harrington in the 2004 World Series of Poker and later in his ground-breaking series of books Harrington on Hold’em. Although it is a move that is beginning to catch on in the poker community, it is still an important tool to add to your poker repertoire.

Taking Advantage of Your Tight Image

First let us explore what exactly a squeeze play is. Imagine that you are playing in a no-limit Texas hold’em tournament (the best time to employ a squeeze). You are at the final table with nine other players. Sitting on an average stack, you have a relatively tight image and have been card dead for the past few orbits. While in the big blind a player in middle position raises to three and a half times the size of the big blind.

Then, an opponent two seats behind the original raiser makes the call. Action then folds around to you and you look down at 10-4. Or jack-six. Or even seven-deuce for that matter. Any form of garbage you care to envison. Most players in most situations are mucking their hand without too much thought. But using the squeeze play you make a healthy raise. If a normal raise is two and a half to three times the original bet, now is the time to squeeze—you raise five times.

Scare Off Mediocre Hands

Sound crazy? Crazy like a fox. Think about it. A raise from early position from a tight player is a scary thing, and most people would give you credit for a strong hand. Maybe the original raiser had a hand like ace-ten suited and the caller had a pair of fives (or hands close to that range).

Can either of them really call a large re-raise? You are essentially “squeezing” the two players that have been caught up in the middle. It’s a risky maneuver, but the pay off can be huge considering the antes, small blind and the dead money in the pot you are picking up a nice sized pot with little contention.

Highly Situational Play

Now there are certain parameters that you must operate under to perform the squeeze play.

  1. First of all you must not have a loose, ultra aggressive image because, if you are others may not respect your raise and are more likely to call with marginal holds.
  2. Second, you have to be familiar enough with the other players that you know that they are both capable of laying down a hand. Do not attempt the squeeze play against a calling station because it is a sure fire plan for disaster.
  3. Third, realize that it is a much stronger play when you are in the later stages of tournament poker where players are less willing to gamble. If you attempt the squeeze play in cash games or in the early blind levels of a tournament you are much more likely to find someone willing to call you down.

The squeeze play is an ingenious formula to pick up some extra chips in very specific situations. As long as it is used sparingly and in the correct situations, it is an excellent tool to squeeze into your poker bag of tricks.

By Tom Bostic
Poker Expert

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