Squeezing is when you re-raise a pre-flop raiser with another player in the pot. Unless you have a history of 3-betting a ton, this will look extremely strong and will give you a lot of respect and folds. Most of the time, the person squeezing will be from late position or from the blinds. At 50NL, a squeeze is usually a strong hand. At 600NL, ranges are wider and Villain can show up with speculative hands such as A4s, 75s, and KJo.
Here is a simple squeezing spot.
The example above illustrates that you can 3-bet to punish a habitual isolator, whose range in this spot is likely wide. Squeezing also discourages the CO from playing more hands because he has to worry about you.
Another squeeze spot is when a loose player opens in MP or in the CO and the BTN calls. If you are in the blinds, then this is a good squeezing spot. The main reason is when a loose player opens, the BTN has a wider value range to 3-bet with. So when the BTN only calls, the majority of his calling range is marginal holdings such as small pocket pairs, QTs, and ATs. Let’s stop for a second. If you have JJ+/AQ+ on the BTN and a loose player opens in the CO, what would you do? You would 3-bet the majority of the time because your hand is so ahead of your opponent’s range and your hand dominate some of the hands he calls a 3-bet with. This is the main reason why good players always advocate folding marginal holdings on the BTN or CO against an early position open if there is a squeeze happy player on the blinds.
While squeezing is a powerful play, it can easily be misused. Learn the guidelines below to prevent yourself from making mistakes that cost you money.
– Squeeze until they give you a reason to stop: If they don’t adjust by either 4-betting you light or start shoving flops lightly against your c-bet, then there’s no reason to stop. Keep running them over. You will be surprised to see so many players willing to let you have your way. If a player, especially a regular, has been folding to your 3- bets, suddenly 4-bets you, then fold anything worse than AK and QQ. He isn’t leveling nor adjusting against you. He has the nuts.
– Villain’s Hand Range: A good, tight-aggressive player’s hand range for calling your 3- bets consist of 88+, AQ, KQs, QJs, JTs, T9s, 98s, and 87s. On a flop like A73 rainbow, you should consider betting your entire range since you have a lot of fold equity. And because it’s a flop where you can have a lot of combinations of strong hands in your range (AT+), your betting range is easily balanced with air. For this reason, just bet one-half to three-fifth pot. There’s no reason to bet bigger since hands that are behind your made hands aren’t going to outdraw you often. Betting small also allows you to bluff cheaply on future hands.
– Ace high flops: If you 3-bet with TT-KK OOP and the flop comes Axx, you should bet- fold more often than check-call. Although you won’t often get called by worse, it makes the hand easier to play, especially if your opponent is aggressive. Of course, if your opponent is passive and let you get to showdown easily, then checking is fine.
– Against NITS: Don’t squeeze a NIT when he raises from early position because his range will be too tight and strong.
– Against loose-bad players: Don’t squeeze loose, bad players with low suited connectors. They will call your 3-bets and c-bets too often that it’s just not profitable. It’s much better to just call their raise preflop and stack them when you hit something big.
– Against shortstacks: Don’t squeeze when there’s a short stack in the hand and you don’t want to call his all-in raise. He’s not going to fold often, and will just jam with any A or any pair. AT+ or 77 are decent hands to squeeze with but stay away from medium or low suited connectors.
– Against light 4-better: Don’t squeeze against an opponent who 4-bets you back frequently. This won’t happen much at lower stakes, although it’s something to keep in mind as you move up.
After Villain calls your squeeze, never bet unless you think he will fold a lot or you are willing to get it in on the turn. It’s very exploitable to always check-fold the turn after you bet the flop. Good players will pick up on this and you will lose a lot of money. Fewer players are capable of detecting this at micro-stakes or small stakes, but be aware of it.
His hand range for calling the flop mostly consists of weak-type hands or even overcards if he’s tricky. You should be betting the turn a ton of the time against players like him. Unless he’s stubborn and calls you down lightly, it’s tough for him to do anything about it.
Here’s another example.
You should consider betting three-fourth pot or near pot to commit yourself. Don’t bet so small that he would take it as weakness and shove over your bet with a pair or a draw.
Most of Villain’s range will be Tx, 77-99, 98s, 87s (occasionally 6x and A4s), and cannot continue on the turn. You have tons of equity (overcards and OE) to make the best hand against a hand like ATs. If he shows up with a set, you can always suck out. On the same note, if he can show up with a set on this board, he’ll have a lot of other pocket pairs in his range that will fold to the turn bet.