Poker strategy essays
The Squeeze Play
In No Limit Texas Holdem
By Tarum Nahas
Before delving into the complications
of the squeeze play, it would help to know what exactly
A squeeze play in poker is a bet that
holds the purpose of extracting more chips from an
opponent who is not likely to win the pot. It is a
very common technique used in the world of hi/lo games,
when two players basically argue with their bets,
believing they have a lock on the high or low draw.
In No Limit Texas
Hold'em however, the stakes are usually
much higher, and the squeeze play isn't something
that can just be used based on premonition alone.
Based on his extremely tight style,
Dan Harrington is perhaps the master of the squeeze
play; itís a vital part of his Texas
Holdem strategy. He only uses the play when
he believes he has an excellent read
on an opponent. In explaining the squeeze play from
his perspective, the read on an opponent is key.
There's only one way to offer an educated
guess at what your opponent has, and that is by learning
their game when you sit with them and when you have
any other opportunity to observe them. Every player
will offer you insight into their decision making
process during every hand, based on what they do with
what they're holding. If evidence leads to the conclusion
that an opponent has a habit of raising and eventually
showing a weak hand, you are building a case to use
the squeeze. If another opponent has a tendency to
raise on such a consistent basis that they simply
can't be playing a solid game, they are flying another
red flag. It is all about the read, and the proper
timing. A few hands into a game is way too soon to
get a good feel for what an opponent will offer and
it's too soon to rely on plays such as the squeeze.
Good solid play will allow you a deeper look into
your opponent's game so you can make your move when
there is not a doubt left in your mind as to what
they are holding in their pocket.
The reason a squeeze works so well
for players like Harrington is because of their extremely
tight and aggressive style. Playing when you've got
the goods and getting out early when you don't will
also work to the advantage of using a squeeze play.
It would seem the squeeze play is
just another way to bluff. In a way this is true,
but ultimately, you can squeeze with a solid pocket,
so it wouldn't be disastrous if an opponent were to
move all-in and you were to call. But, as is more
likely, the stakes will be higher when you decide
to use the squeeze while holding little to nothing.
The play comes simply by raising a bet handsomely
right out of the gate. At the 2004 WSOP final table,
Harrington did exactly this after getting a good read
on on two of his opponents. He would make a handsome
re-raise pre-flop, based on the evidence that had
been previously presented. Unwilling to challenge
a the tight player, his squeeze play took the pot
after the other two competitors had donated to it
Again, squeezing those extra chips
out of an aggressive player is not difficult to do,
but it is difficult to know when to do it when you
Texas Holdem. When you can predict how they'll
play by their pre-flop action, you're on the right
track, and eventually it can be a useful tool in scooping
a nice pot from an aggressive player.
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