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Squeezing Bets in HORSE

Squeezing and Saving Bets in HORSE and Other Mixed Games

There are several important strategies when it comes to poker. Some will help you gain chips while others will help save them. Either way, the poker chips are right where they belong; right in front of you.

When it comes to Mixed Games, having as many chips in front of you is extremely important. Sure, having chips is important in any game but the difference with Mixed Games is that they are the only games around that play using the fixed-limit betting format. Unlike no limit or pot limit games where a stack can exchange hands within 1 or 2 hands, fixed limit games require players to build their stack a couple bets at a time which can be a slow and gruelling process. So of course, it would only make sense to be protective of your stack and build it up when the opportunity presents itself and realize when there are spots that you could save them as well.

Provided below are some examples of situations where players either can try and get an extra bet out of their opponent or others where they can see that it is worth folding their hand and saving a few extra chips.

Squeezing Extra Chips

In fixed limit games, squeezing extra chips out of an opponent is essentially doing a couple things. To begin with, it is trying to defend against draws. For example, if you had 9s-As and the board came Ad-Kh-Qs and you assumed your opponent was on a straight draw, you would want to put out a bet that would give incorrect pot odds to your opponent to discourage chasing their hand. Since in this case your opponent would be a 4 to 1 dog, this move will "squeeze" a few extra chips should your opponent make an incorrect play. Of course, this is all speculation, but the idea is there. Anytime you make your opponent chase their draws with incorrect odds, you are squeezing a few extra chips out of them.
Another way to squeeze an extra bet out of your opponent would be checking a strong hand or strong draw on the flop with the hopes to check raise your opponent on the turn. For example, in a $2/$4 game a player can check on the flop giving up $2 only to check raise the turn where each bet is $4. This can net a player 2 to 3 times what they would on the flop by showing a little bit of weakness. This should only be done when a player has the nuts or close as they are letting their opponent see a free card and should know that their opponents are aggressive and will take over in the betting.

Lastly, a great way to get a little bit of extra money out of your opponents is with a simple value bet, especially if you happen to be unsure of exactly how strong your hand is. This way, players can get a little extra when their hands are good and not spend too much if they are actually behind.

Saving Bets

Although building a stack is important, knowing when to save them is what will keep the chips in front of you. To do this, a player must be able to lay down hands when they know they are beat regardless of what they are holding. Calling an opponent down because "you want to see what they have" will be the death of your stack.

For example, a real obvious situation that I have seen from personal experience is when a player has a flush on his up cards in Stud and an opponent will call him down with top pair showing. Now, it may be cheap to call one or two bets to see if you are beat, but that is a waste of chips and very neglectful to your stack. Is a pair really worth that much?
The same situation occurs in Omaha cash games. Many players will hit their straights and three of a kind with flush draws on the board. Now of course it is possibly that they are ahead, but any 2 flush cards in your opponent's hands will beat you. How much are you willing to give up to find out that your hand is second best?

Saving and Squeezing Bets in Mixed Games

It is important that players start to realize the times when they should throw out a bet as well as the times when they should fold. Although this seems more directed towards "beginners," being able to induce your opponent into calling a small bet when you know you have your opponent beat or being able to lay down pocket Aces on a draw heavy board is just an art in itself. It takes a lot of practice and dedication to be able to make plays like these; but plays like these are what separate the pros from the amateurs.