What is the Poker Squeeze?
A phrase given to a pre flop play in Texas Holdem where a player will re-raise over an initial raise and one or more pre-flop calls. It is usually with the intention of picking the pot up before the flop without showdown. When executed properly, the poker squeeze is one of greatest pre-flop plays. It’s a move we regularly offer in our poker training too.
History of the Squeeze Play
Twenty years ago, the squeeze was not even a play as such. A few of the best players probably did it without giving it the name but it was seldom used. Then Dan Harrington brought out his tournament books and with it, a revolutionary concept. Tight aggressive players found a new weapon to use and exploit opposition with.
However, poker is an evolving game with trends and once this strategy was being used all the time, winning players started taking note and with it, a shift in mentality. No longer could the squeeze play be used with impunity as you were likely to get 4 bet by a competent and thinking player. Or they would flat call an open with AA/KK from an aggressive player, hoping you would squeeze.
The pendulum has swung back again though and it is not a move mentioned too often. It’s used less than the aftermath of its revelation to the poker world. It’s a brilliant move to use but only if the ingredients are there and you don’t over use it.
When is the Right Time to Squeeze?
The squeeze play loosely rests on the assumption that the open raiser is unlikely to be holding a premium hand. The theory being that a flat caller is also unlikely to be super strong, otherwise, they surely would have re-raised themselves. Whilst this is logical you need certain factors to be on your side for the squeeze to be successful. Please consider the factors below before squeezing.
It baffles me when poker players try a squeeze and are priced in, disregarding stack sizes. Have a close look at the stack sizes when you are considering a squeeze. It’s possible that a flat caller is setting a trap when short stacked.
Your Table Image & Reputation
If you have a reputation for creative 4 bets and tricky aggressive moves then it far less likely to work. You must have a solid table image at the time of making a squeeze. Your squeeze has to be credible i.e. your opponents need to believe that you are likely holding a premium hand.
Calibre of Opponent
If your opponent has shown no inclinations to fold before the flop, do not consider squeezing. Whilst your logic that they are weak pre flop could be true, it does not mean they will fold. You can still squeeze if you wish but be prepared to play a big pot!
As always, position is important. It’s better to be squeezing in position than out of position obviously. You prefer to play the hand in position for the rest of the hand if you get called. It’s not essential to be in position when squeezing though. After all, the intention is to pick it up pre flop. However, it is another factor to consider.
There’s no use turning very playable hands and positive scenarios into wasteful ones by squeezing. If you are holding a suited connector or a little pair in position, multi-way, then it’s best to play the pot and try to get value. A squeeze is usually better to do with a hand of little value or good blockers, e.g. Ace Three.