There is always a lot of talk about the importance of defining a good strategy in poker to be able to opt for victory. However, we rarely consider the option of how to react to a good strategy of the opponent if he manages to put us against the wall.
The first thing to do, both to shape a good offensive and defensive strategy, is to know the different strategic options available, and the squeeze, along with some others, is one of the most attractive options in certain cases. Let’s see how squeeze plays in poker and how to face an opponent with this peculiar play.
What is squeeze in poker
Basically, we call squeeze to a preflop raise or re-raise that takes place when facing a bet and a call from our opponents. It is a sort of semibluff that demonstrates the importance of skill in the early stages of the hand.
Nowadays, the squeeze concept has been transferred to most of the semibluffs that take place preflop, although not all of them can be properly called “squeeze”. The term comes from the English term of the same name, which means “to strangle” or “squeeze”, since it is the initial player who is in a tight spot because he has to worry that he is not closing the action if he decides to call.
In general, the hand ranges suitable for a squeeze are stronger than the common 3bet ranges, because it is done against several opponents and not just one. The size of the bets is also usually larger.
The squeeze is important if we take it as a weapon in a multi-table tournament and in cash games. Normally, the squeeze play is done preflop and as a bluff, at the moment a player re-raises after a previous raise and one or more calls in between.
When to squeeze?
The big question: when is it best to squeeze? It is best to squeeze when a weak player raises, and at least one other player calls that raise. If they call or raise again, you have a good window to take the pot if everyone folds, which they do more often than you think.
Considering that a player on his own tends to open an excessive number of hands, which denotes that none of them are really strong, this is not so strange. Do limpers seem strong to you? A limper is a player who does the action of limping. By limping we mean paying without re-raising.
They are not strong, although they may seem so. In fact, they exhibit a lot of strength, but they have none. If they were really strong, they would raise. On the other hand, if you re-raise, you will be showing that you are strong, even if you don’t have a particularly good hand. That’s what instills the most fear, and why so many end up folding the pot.
For a squeeze to be successful, it is important to be in a good position. The later the position, the better. And what kind of cards are used to make a squeeze? This is more difficult to answer, because the effectiveness and suitability of a squeeze is dictated by the moment and not by the cards. This is something you have to get ingrained in your mind, because a squeeze done when it’s not the right time can compromise you.
If you are a little naughty, you may wonder if the squeeze can be useful when you go all-in. The answer is yes, but it should only be done under certain circumstances. Normally, if the pot size is not attractive enough, going all-in with a squeeze will be unnecessary.
Poker squeeze tips
Although it is not the most innovative play, it has managed to remain effective over time. To help you understand the basics of the squeeze play, we have compiled a series of vital facts that you should not forget.
- The objective of a squeeze is to cause your opponents to fold and bring down the pot preflop.
- Always squeeze IP. If you play out of position, it won’t do you any good.
- You should avoid squeeze play against tight opponents.
- Always focus your efforts on long stacks. If there is a predominance of short stacks, you should leave it alone because they tend to pay.
- Work on your tells. Intimidating your opponents will increase your winrate in the long run.
- Do not abuse the squeeze. If you lose credibility, the squeeze will be useless.
- Keep in mind that squeeze play is only effective in high stakes games. NLH and PLO are the most popular games where squeeze can be put into practice.
Bluff vs squeeze in poker: elementary differences
It must be taken into account that a bluff is not the same as a move to squeeze the opponent. Although the effect on the opponent is the same, being between a rock and a hard place, they are different moves.
A bluff is a bluff, crude and frontal. Lying to others with your move to mislead them requires skill, which is why an effective bluff is so difficult to pull off. On the other hand, with a squeeze it is not that we are not deceiving the opponent, but we are going a step beyond the real possibilities that our cards are giving us, in order to put the opponent in trouble and make him withdraw from the pot.
We may not have everything to win, but if we make believe that our hand is so strong that we do not think twice about going for the pot, and they believe us, the others will think that they have nothing to do and will withdraw. That is a squeeze.