Arts & Entertainment

Daniel Negreanu on Poker: The Squeeze Play

The squeeze play has been around poker for a long time but I’ve seen many more players using it in recent years. What is the squeeze play? Well, it goes something like this.

Player A raises before the flop and player B calls. Then, usually from late position or from one of the blinds, Player C reraises – with anything.

The theory behind this play is that the initial raiser, Player A, has to be worried about at least two other players — in this case, Players B and C — although he’s less concerned with Player B because he doesn’t figure to have a monster hand.  Why? He didn’t reraise before the flop and that’s a sure sign of weakness.

You see, squeezers will attack whenever they sense weakness. And when they do, they’ll turn to the squeeze play because it works. It’s even more successful when there are multiple callers after the initial pre-flop raise.

Here’s an example.

With blinds at 100-200, a player makes it 600 to go and three others call. At that point the pot’s worth 2,700. Now for the squeeze play.

A squeezer in late position reraises pre-flop to 3,000 whether he has a strong hand or not. Unless the initial raiser has a powerful hand himself, he’ll probably fold, as will all the other players. The squeeze play works and the squeezer picks up a nice pot without even having to see the flop.

Now, if any other player happens to reraise the squeezer, well, the squeezer can fold, unless, of course, he actually does have the goods. On the other hand, if other players just call the reraise, the squeezer can usually win the pot with a bet after the flop since he has position.

Fortunately, there is an effective counterplay specifically designed to trap a squeezer. This tactic can be a bit risky but when it works out like planned, it generally results in a hefty payday.

Here’s how it goes.

With the blinds at 100-200, a player raises to 600. You look down at your hand and see pocket aces. Normally, you’d reraise to protect this monster hand. However, with potential squeezers still remaining, you set the trap by smooth calling instead of reraising.

A squeezer will see this as a sign of weakness and might decide to try and steal the pot right there with a big reraise. In fact, the more players that call the reraise, the more enticing the squeeze play will be to the potential squeezer sitting to your left.

Okay, let’s continue with the example.

Three other players call the 600 raise as the squeezer lays waiting in the big blind with 7,000 chips. The 3,300 in the pot would increase his stack size by almost 50% if he were to move all-in and get everyone to fold. He thinks that if his big reraise could force the first player to fold, the other players would probably fold too. He (mistakenly) assumes that if any other player had a strong hand they would have reraised before the flop.

That’s why a squeezer might even move all-in with a hand like Ks-5d, trying to pick up an uncontested pot. Were that to happen, though, you’d obviously move all your chips in with A-A and likely win a big pot, eliminating a cagey player at the same time.

There’s another added benefit to this counter strategy. Once squeezers catch on to the fact that you don’t always reraise before the flop with a strong hand, they’ll be less likely to attack you when you call with marginal hands like middle suited connectors.

Visit for information about Daniel Negreanu’s new book, Hold’em Wisdom for All Players.

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