The Rare Times to Play with Rags

In Texas Holdem, most players understand that the best starting hands are those in which both cards are either paired or higher than 10. In televised games, however, it is common to see players with unorthodox hands. All of this has people questioning whether rags, or bad pairs, are ever actually safe.

Bad Reasons and Risky Times

One of the riskiest things that a rookie can do is try to emulate the style of some oddball poker icon. If you see a player on a televised tournament who repeatedly wins with rags or other cards of low value, you are witnessing someone who has mastered super skills through years of playing; skills which cannot be mimicked by the common player. In most cases, you're liable to wind up putting money in the pot with a worthless hand, for which the loss would be greater than any possible gain.

Safe Times for Using Rags

If you ever do play with rags, it should be when you're in late position during a winning streak. If you have consistently held good hands throughout your recent games, your opponents will generally view you as a strong hand, regardless of how much you bet. Another opportune time for rags occurs whenever you get the chance to place a low wager. If you raise and lower your bet, you can show your bad cards and benefit from good hands later in the game. Once your rivals have seen you playing with junk, they won't be prepared when you score a huge upset.

Rags should generally be avoided, unless you have little to lose. There are times when you can use rags to slide under the radar, but only when there's a further distance to climb than fall.

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