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January 6th, 2010
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Poker Lesson: The Squeeze Play
Author: Lee Markholt
In tournaments, you should always be looking for ways to pick up chips. You can’t just sit around waiting for Aces or Kings and hope to double up when you do. One of the best and most popular ways for adding chips to your stack is by implementing what’s known as the squeeze play.
A typical squeeze play works like this: an active and aggressive player raises in late position, and he’s called by another player on the button. You’re in the blinds and you have to decide what to do.
There’s no real indication yet that anyone has a particularly strong hand. The aggressive player could be raising with a wide range of hands, and the call from the button could mean a lot of things. He may have a medium strength hand, or he may be pretty weak and just looking to play post-flop with favorable position.
At this point, a big re-raise from the blinds effectively squeezes the original raiser who is between you and the player on the button. Your aggressive re-raise gives you a great chance of taking down the pot right there.
It used to be that good players used the squeeze play occasionally. It was just one of the many tools they used from time to time. But recently, the squeeze play has become extremely popular. Sometimes it seems that pretty much any time there’s a raise and a call, there’s a player in the blinds looking to squeeze.
I prefer to be a little more selective when initiating a squeeze. I like to have a hand that can hit a flop if I run into a decent hand and get called. In my experience, suited connectors are good hands to squeeze with.
I think the squeeze is most effective when you have a tight table image. When you’ve been playing actively and aggressively the other players at the table are less likely to give you credit for a big hand and will call you down.
You can try the squeeze in ring games, but it’s really most effective in tournaments. When players have to fear for their tournament lives, they’re far more likely to fold in marginal situations.
If you haven’t been using the squeeze play, you should try working it into your tournament game. Start out by squeezing selectively and wait for opportunities where the players, cards and your table image give you the best chance of winning the pot
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