How to do the "squeeze play"

Poker players like to create cute technical jargon to represent various plays or situations. The squeeze play is one of them. The squeeze play is indeed an advanced move.

There is always a foundation for the name and here squeezing really occurs. The principle is very simple: one player raises, a second player calls and you reraise in late position. The first raiser is squeezed between you and the caller, and he will often fold his hand. The second player often does not have a premium hand (otherwise he would have reraised himself), so he will fold as well, surrendering the pot to you.

But that is not exactly that easy, as some conditions are required for successful implementation of the squeeze play.

Conditions for the squeeze play

The initial raiser should be loose aggressive. As the squeeze play is a bluff aiming to win the pot immediately, it is necessary that the initial raiser does not have a premium hand such as QQ+. Otherwise he will not fold his hand, and he may even 4-bet you. Do not attempt the squeeze play against a tight player, but only target loose aggressive players. The latter will almost surely fold his ace rag.

The first raiser should be in late position. As an early position raise even from a loose aggressive player is normally synonym of a premium hand, it is too dangerous to attempt the squeeze play in this case. But if several players have folded, the late players will raise will wide ranges as they approach the button. Ideally the raiser should be at the hijack position or later.

Finally in order to succeed with this move, you must have a tight table image. This means among other things not having shown a missed bluff in the last hour and not abusing the squeeze play. Not abusing this move, because your opponents will hate this play forcing them to give away their chips uncontested in a large pre flop pot. They will be on the watchout and will not let you do it repeatedly without a fight.

If you have the image of a solid tight player and have not reraised much before, then it might be the time to try the squeeze play. You should receive credit for a good hand and take the pot right away.

What hand is required for the squeeze play? This is the least important factor. If the three above conditions are met, you can make the play with any two cards. More realistically hands such as small suited connectors are excellent candidates as they balance well the range of the raiser and you can get paid handsomely if you hit the board strong.


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Example of a squeeze play

A famous example of the squeeze play was performed by Dan Harrington at the final table of the 2004 WSOP Main Event (Dan finished 4th of this event won by Greg Raymer).

The blinds were 40,000/80,000 with antes 10,000. The chip leader was Greg Raymer with 7,920,000 in chips. Josh Arieh, a loose aggressive player had 3,890,000 in chips, while Dan Harrington who is very tight had 2,320,000 in chips, the second shortest stack at the table. Arieh raised to 225,000 with K9, Raymer called behind with A3s.

Harrington was ready to fold his garbage hand 62o, but the call by Raymer offered him a great opportunity for a squeeze play. All three conditions were met: Arieh is a loose-aggressive player, Raymer may have called with a wide range of hands and Harrington himself had a very solid image and had not tried any move yet. Dan reraised to 1,200,000. Everyone folded and Dan increased his stack by about 30%.

The key is to use good timing and to make sure the three conditions are met.

 

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