Squeeze play, is the use of a very large raise to enter a bluff on the first betting round if someone raises and at least one person calls.
Nowadays, this style of play is very common in intermediate to high level no-limit cash games. But if you are a loose and aggressive player who likes to flat call in back position with a lot of hands (such as flush straights and small pocket pairs, trying to hit a lot of pot in favorable positions), then this style of play can hurt you. Because of the fear of being squeezed, you can’t play a pot with one raise in favorable position and have to fold marginal hands.
Table of Contents
Defeating squeeze play: Calling with a big hand
Calling with a big hand guarantees you the highest profit when you resist squeeze play with any possible trick. This play must be done with caution; it can also spell disaster for you if you are not vigilant.
Three purposes can be achieved using this play：
- Isolates your opponent in a disadvantageous position
- Hiding your own hand
- Maximize the potential profit of your own big hand
The concept is fairly simple, but be aware of the following factors that may influence the decisions you make about the best use of this play：
The likelihood of your opponent making a squeeze play and his tendency to consistently bet
Take some time to notice who the most aggressive players at the table are. Try to determine if you would choose to call with an overcall if they were pressing from a favorable position. Also, make sure that these players will keep betting after being called. Once the trap is set, this will help you determine how to play pre-flop.
Your opponent’s impression of you
If you notice a lot of squeeze play at the table, you can call a counter-raise or two with a medium hand when you are in position. If you don’t hit the flop, your opponent will fire and take down the pot. He will then most likely treat you as a weak player who is playing loose. When you do get the hand, this is to your advantage.
The further forward you are in position to call a pre-flop raise, the more likely you are to be squeezed by your opponent.
The number of people in the pot who acted before you
If you are squeezed, having 2 or more callers in addition to your own call can greatly increase your chances of winning a big pot. Also be prepared, as this also increases the risk factor.
Your hole card
When I say big, I’m referring to the top 4 hands: AA, KK, QQ, and AK. When you are dealt one of these hands, you will have to act differently when squeezed.
Let’s look at the following scenarios：
Texas Holdem Poker Tips – Scenario 1
You are sitting at a 6 player NLHE (No Limit Hold ’em) 2/4 game where squeeze play is rampant. You notice that 2 players are particularly active in the blinds, pressing on almost every hand where someone raises and calls. Now here’s your chance. A loose player opens the pool in gun position, the two players in front of you fold, and you hold AK square in CO position (Cut off, the off brake position, the position to the right of the button position). You flat call and wait for an aggressive player in one of the blind positions to counter-raise.
As you would expect, the big blind 3bets and the player in gun position folds. Now you have several options. It’s OK to flat call again, but it’s risky. Your hand can certainly be covered, and if you hit the A you can beat a lot of cards in his range like AQ, AJ, or even AT to take down a big pot. The problem with this hand is that if you don’t hit the flop, you’ll be in a tough spot when he keeps betting. In my opinion, the best play at this point is to press all in. The worst case scenario is usually that you flip a coin with your opponent. Since your all-in has a fold win rate, this is a profitable play. In this scenario, you go all-in and your opponent folds, you still increase your chips.
Texas Holdem Poker Tips – Scenario 2
You are sitting in button position at a 6 player table in a 5/10 game and a crazy squeezed player is sitting in the big blind. The preflop raiser opens the pot and the CO position flat calls. You look down at your cards for pocket aces. you take a deep breath, flat call, and wait for the battle to ignite. As you expected, the big blind 3bet. The muzzle position raiser calls and the CO position calls as well. It’s beautiful! In this situation, you’re in good position to hold the best hand and have a big stack in front of you waiting to be pocketed with an all-in. You go all-in and the squeezed player in the big blind immediately folds. The muzzle position player thinks for a moment and then calls! The CO position player folds. The muzzle position player shows pocket jacks and your AA holds up to win, taking down this huge pot.
What really comes into play in this scenario is that by the time you flat call with AA, 2 players have already joined the pot. I have noticed that this play is particularly effective at hiding hands. Because of your position and the players already in the pool, they won’t think you’re holding AA or KK.
Texas Holdem Poker Tips – Scenario 3
You are in the small blind and to your immediate left is an aggressive 3bet player/squeeze player. You look down and see KK. the CO position opens the pot and the button position flat calls. You flat call with KK and wait for the big blind to press. He doesn’t press and the big blind folds. The opponent in button position hits two bottom pair on the flop circle and wins you some chips…ugh. Where did it all go wrong this time? While you’re 90% sure your opponent will press, you’re not 100% sure. Even the most aggressive players are generally reluctant to play cards that have absolutely no potential.
The positive thing about this type of play is that if you are squeezed at this point, your hand can be completely covered. The likelihood of you taking down a big pot is very high, as no one would normally think that you would flat call in the small blind with any good hand after two players have called. An all-in in this spot after a squeeze will always lure a medium hand like TT or AQ to call. The problem is that there is only one player behind you who is likely to press, so your chances of getting the desired result are greatly reduced. At these times, I would normally recommend that you reraise in the small blind unless you are willing to risk being in a tricky situation.
You have pocket aces in HJ position (Hi jack, hijack position, first position to the right of CO position) and flat call a raise from muzzle position, hoping that the aggressive squeeze player in the blinds will fall into the trap. You call, and CO position and button position fold. The small blind position reraises back and the first player to raise folds. Thus you have accomplished the task of isolating your opponent in unfavorable position and have covered your hand. It’s time to maximize value and you call.
Your opponent’s card is: K♦-Q♣
Your card is: A♣-A♦
The flop is: Q♣-6♥-7♥
Your opponent fires a three-quarters bet to the antes and you go all-in. The reason you go all-in instead of making the standard raise is that the flop is too audible. Not only can you give your opponent an unfavorable price if he hits a listening hand on the flop, but you are likely to induce a call with a hit pair. The opponent himself is more likely to presume that your overbet is a call, and he thinks about it and calls. The turn and river are both harmless hands and your chips are increased.
As you can see, there are many plays that can be taken after you set a trap. The most important factors you have to consider before executing this play I have already mentioned above. This play maximizes your profits. I have found a significant increase in the profitability of big hands.
Another advantage of this style of play is that your opponents are less likely to continue to press you after seeing you flat with a big hand. You find yourself able to expand your flat call again when you have position. They will be afraid to have a trap because they know you have a knack for setting them.
Nothing works 100% of the time for all players playing all poker. But it is a powerful weapon to turn a disadvantage into an advantage when you face squeeze play at the table.