In no limit poker, a perfect hand can refer to a perfect set of circumstances in which two or more players feel that they have a sufficiently good hand to go all-in, the outcome of which can be disastrous for one or more players and profit for another.
For example, if player 1 has a pair of K’s before the flop, but player 2 has a pair of Aces, player one might conclude that he has the best hand even though he doesn’t, and he is very likely to put all of his chips in.
No limit hold-em in many cases is all about getting the perfect hand, and take advantage of the unfortunate soul who has a deceivingly strong hand that is just not as good as yours.
If you are on the inferior side of the perfect hand, you are very likely to lose it all. If you make a habit of assuming your strong hand is no good, you will be bluffed out with regularity. This makes it very hard to make the right decision. There are many factors to tournament success, but avoiding getting trapped in the perfect hand is a key.
Let’s say you have pocket 8’s, and you know your opponent has a hand that he felt was strong enough to move all of his chips in. If the opponent makes a big bet on the flop, a wise player would fold. If the opponent is very confident on his hand and tries to bait you by checking and you end up betting out, he could easily raise and increase your possibilities of having to fold losing more money than you initially would have. This is what happens when the opponent tries to trap you. That’s why it’s a good idea to play small pairs, you can hit sets, because they can create the perfect hand if you’re up against an overpair. On the other hand, if you play an A-K or a King-Queen, it could be you in the trap. Thus, an opponent who has a pair of Aces and tries to trap you by slow-playing his Aces on the flop, can end up allowing himself to become trapped in a perfect hand. So, the key in tournaments is not to just make a big hand, but to also get someone trapped with an apparently strong but actually weaker hand.
There are a few keys to avoid being the underdog in a perfect hand. Be careful with A-9 thru Queen. Many players find themselves busted when the Ace hits the flop, only to find themselves up against a stronger player. Try to avoid risking too much of your stack with medium to big pairs from pocket 8’s to pocket J’s. If someone has raised before you, it’s better to just call and play after the flop. If you’re up against an A-K, re-raising will not normally cause the player with the A-K to fold, so waiting for the flop allows you to see if an Ace or over card hits. It also allows you to trap other players when and if your set does hit. It’s still good to raise with these hands if you are the first to do so, or you’re in late position, but don’t do this to the point of seriously reducing your stack as there will always be a big possibility of somebody else having a bigger hand. Lastly, a lot of people now slow-play their big pairs, Aces, Kings and Queens. These players want to create some action and hope to find themselves on the upside of the perfect hand. But this is dangerous, because you often get way more action than you want. Then the predator becomes the prey, and you the player with the big pair suddenly find yourself trapped on the down side of the perfect hand.