One poker play that you should have in your pre-flop arsenal is the squeeze play. They’re a great way to collect dead chips and exploit players with a tendency to overcall with weak ranges.
Let’s say the player in the cutoff open bets 10 chips and the button and small blinds both call. It comes around to you on the big blind, and you put in a big 3 bet of 70 chips. Since these players often call openers with marginal to junky hands, they’ll often fold to your bet.
Congratulations! You’ve just executed a squeeze play.
How to Squeeze
Squeezing is most effective against players who want to see a cheap flop. They’ll call a small amount in hopes that their hand will hit the flop, but their cards aren’t good enough to stand a lot of pressure. The squeeze applies that pressure and forces them to fold.
That’s why it’s so important to use a large bet sizing. If you only make a small raise, then they might call along because they’re still getting good odds. Remember, your primary objective is to force folds and scoop up the pot then and there.
However, we need to remember that sometimes we’re still going to get called. Maybe the open raiser has a reasonable holding, or maybe one of the callers was trying to set a trap. That’s why it’s important for us to have a reasonable amount of equity when going for a squeeze.
Basically, you don’t want to open up your range any more to squeeze. Instead, play the same cards that you would anyway, but just play them more aggressively. Hands like QQ, AQ, and 77, for example, are great hands for squeezing.
How to Not Get Squeezed
On the other side of the coin, you need to also be careful not to put yourself in a situation where you can get squeezed. Especially if you know that there’s an aggressive player coming in behind you, don’t just call off with bad hands.
The most essential thing is to not follow the herd of callers. If everyone is limping in or calling a small open and you do the same with a weak hand like 56s, then there’s no way you’re going to be able to call a big 3 bet.
To prevent this, employ these two strategies. First, only call with hands that can stand a 3 bet. That way it doesn’t matter if you get squeezed since you’re going to call anyways. Second, pay attention to your position. If you’re closing the action, then there’s no chance of getting squeezed before you see the flop. This lets the big blind call with a wider range than the small blind.
Now get out there and start squeezing.