1. A description of a weak, low value hand.
2. A description of a flop or board that is either not congruous, or is not likely to fit with a strong preflop holding.
Hands that have a low numerical value, or win at an infrequent rate, are commonly called “rags.” You will frequently hear incongruous
medium to low valued starting hands described as “ragged” or “rag hands.” Players may choose to play ragged hands for a variety of
reasons. They may have a loose style of play, leading them to overvalue a rag. They may try to
steal with a rag and get played with. They may be
forced to play a rag from the blinds. Or they may simply not care about their relative hand strength enough to give it much
Just as a player’s hand may be described as ragged, the
board in a flop game may also be
described as ragged. A ragged flop is one that is incongruous, and unthreatening, and composed primarily of rags. When the flop is
ragged, players will need to adjust their strategies accordingly. They will have to take into account the “texture” of the flop.
The type and style of cards that predominate the flop or the board are referred to as the “texture” of the flop or of the board. For
example, a board with four cards to a royal flush would have one texture, while a board with unpaired, unsuited, unrelated cards would
have another. The texture of the flop and of the board can have important strategic and game theory implications.
In Texas Hold’em, players typically raise with strong starting hands. Since Texas Hold’em is played as a high only game, many of the
strongest starting hands contain only high cards. So, when you are facing a raise, you can assume that there is a high probability,
but not a guarantee, that your opponent’s hand contains high cards. In the case of a high textured flop, the prevalence of high cards
on the board represents a significant risk to your hand, as the raiser’s hand is likely to contain high cards, and is likely to fit
with the texture of that board. You need to be extra careful and proceed with caution if the texture of the flop is high after a solid
player has raised.
Alternatively, if the flop is ragged, it will be less likely to match the hand of the preflop raiser, leaving you in much better
position. If you believe that the raiser has raised a legitimate hand preflop, and the flop comes ragged, it is usually safe to make a
few assumptions about the hand. The first assumption that you should make is that in general, you will be in less danger with this
type of flop than with a high or suited flop. If the raiser is holding only high cards, he will not have had a chance to pair if no
high cards appear on the board. You may even want to lead into the raiser if you flop something. If he has only high cards, he may be
hard pressed to put a raise in against a ragged board. If he does not raise when you lead into him, it is frequently a sign that he
missed the flop and is crying and calling. If he raises you, it may indicate that he has an over pair or a set, or a good draw at something.
Another assumption you can make is that it will be easier to bluff a preflop raiser after he has shown weakness by checking, when the
board is ragged. If you are defending your blinds from a raiser, you may not need to make anything at all to win the hand, if your
opponent backs off betting on a ragged board. Once your opponent has shown weakness by checking the ragged board, it opens up bluffing
as a strong possibility, because the board is unlikely to have helped your opponent. The bottom line is that in flop games, the
texture of the flop and the board will play central roles in the action. If you want to maximize your profit, you need to fully
understand the relationship between the texture of the board and hand strength. The two are intrinsically interdependent.
Usage: Ragged Blind Hand, Ragged Flop, Ragged Board, Played a Ragged Hand
Previous Poker Term: Rack
Next Poker Term: Rags