Squeezing from the Big Blind vs Open Cut-Offs

One of the most profitable squeezing situations in poker is when your opponent opens raises too wide from the cut-off, and another opponent flats, and you’re in the big blind. You get to close the action, and you know that your opponents won’t have decent hands most of the time. Of course most opponents are going to know that you know this as well.

There are pros and cons to what is the best situational squeeze when your opponent opens from the cut-off. If you have an opponent flat on the button, then you know their flatting range will be tighter than someone flatting from the small blind (which is good for you), but then they have position on you if they call (bad for you). There’s a higher probability of your opponent trapping you in a situation like this (or thinking they are trapping the CO), and there’s a higher probability that they could simply look to outplay you (bad for you).

On the other hand, squeezing when an opponent flats from the small blind puts you up against a tighter range, which will reduce folding percentages (bad for you), but when you are called by the small blind you’ll have position (good for you). There’s less of a chance that your opponent will trap or will be looking to call to out play you post flop (good for you).

In the above example, you are in the big blind with KcTc (110 BBs), and a losing regular opens in the cut-off for 3 BBs (100 BBs). The player on the button is a decent winning regular and calls (135 BBs). The small blind folds and the action is on you. Let’s use our poker thought algorithms to think through the situation to make the best possible play.

1. How often is our opponent opening from the cut-off? Our opponent is opening about 28% of his hands from the cut-off. Right about in the middle of the road, but on a slightly more tight side of the opening scale. In a reasonable sample size it’s also nice to see how often our caller flat calls. Obviously being on the button his flat calling range will be widest. His VPIP overall is somewhat high at 30%, so we can assume he takes a good amount of flops. Overall our cut-off opponent’s opening range, along with our button opponent’s probable slightly looser flatting range makes the situation for 3-betting slightly positive, and the situation for flatting fairly neutral since we won’t have position on a tough opponent.

  1. How aggressive is our opponent? Our opponent in the cut-off is reasonably aggressive, but shades slightly more to being passive with an aggression factor of 2.7. Our opponent on the button is slightly more on the aggressive side with an aggression factor of 3.8. Since you’re squeezing, you need to take into account that there’s a possibility one or both might call. The fact that our most aggressive opponent has position on everyone is a negative in this case for both calling and squeezing.
  2. What are stack sizes? Effective stacks are 100 BBs, but could be as high as 110 if the button calls. Pretty reasonable stack sizes for both squeezing and flatting.
  3. Is our hand more for drawing or flopping top pair? In this case it’s a bit of both. Most of the value in our hand will be from making a straight or flush, but with the king, it has reasonable top pair showdown value as well. Again, somewhat neutral overall for both situations.

All things considered it’s close between flatting or squeezing. Folding doesn’t come up as an option too much when we go through the hand, and between flatting or squeezing, squeezing has slightly more value since if we flat we’ll have to play well against two decent players out of position. If we squeeze, the worst case scenario is that our opponent on the button calls, and we play slightly deeper in a re-raised post against them. However, stacks aren’t deep enough for them to warrant calling with a lot of their drawing hands unless they really love taking flops in position, which is a possibility. However, we still have a strong hand that has big hand and top pair potential.

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