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Squeeze Play

Make no mistake about it, a lot of poker is psychological.  And gaining a psychological advantage on your opponent requires getting proper reads on their style of play, which then allows you to get a little creative with such things as the Squeeze Play.

The idea behind the Squeeze Play, as the name implies, is to put the squeeze on a couple of players who are essentially "squeezable."  It involves making a late-position raise against players whose styles are well scouted and defined.

There's a initial bettor, in early position, who places a bet pre-flop - a caller, in mid-position, calls - and finally you, in late position, who makes a big reraise or go all-in, causing the other two to fold.

The first player – the initial Bettor – should be loose and aggressive.  Loose Aggressive players are susceptible to things like the Squeeze Play because they essentially tip their hand because of how little they bet. 

Another way that the Loose Aggressive player is helpful to the Squeeze Play is because they too like to use their intuition and ability to read other players.  And the read the two of you have on the Caller should be that he is tight -- the type who only plays strong hands, and is prone to under-betting them.  His limp-in from mid-position is as good as pot-raise from most other players. 

That way, when you come over the top of the two of them, the Bettor would firmly believe that the Caller is likely to call you. 

Psychology + position = one less player in the hand.

From that point, the hope is that the Caller will demure to his tight ways, and simply fold.  It's not a huge pot, but it's a savvy message and one that can earn you much-needed respect down the road.

5 thins to watch out when trying the squeeze play

Now, needless to say, there are several places where this strategy can go wrong.  For one thing, you should probably make the play when you have at least SOMETHING in your hand.  Suited connectors, at least.

Second of all, there's always the chance that the Bettor is playing a savvy trap game by purposefully under-betting.  After all, he is smart.  In a way, we're counting on that.  He may not be setting the trap for you specifically, but you could be the one falling into it. 

Third, remember that there's a fine line between the "Loose Aggressive" player and the "nutcase" who will call any raise that's perpetrated against him more out of pride than out of intelligence.

Fourth, the bigger risk is that the Caller may in fact have a strong hand.  He is the known under-better, and he may decide that his mid-size pocket pair are actually worth the extra money.  The less likely scenario is that he's holding a monster hand, because even from middle position, a tight player would want to eliminate as much of the competition as possible.

Finally, another risk involves the players yet to act.  While your focus may be geared toward the Bettor and Caller, you be blindsided by a player to come after you, especially if one of them is short-stacked and prepared to go All-in.