How to play Badugi poker
Badugi is a poker variant found mostly in online poker rooms throughout Asia. The game is usually played with six players, who compete to break even. The game could be described as a four-card version of lowball triple-draw with a twist. Badugi shares many features with other poker variants; however, players only play against the dealer in Badugi, who also acts as the banker. Players compete for the best possible hand made up of one or more unpaired cards of any rank; they are not allowed to use more than four cards unless they are suited.
Badugi poker Rules
Badugi is a draw poker game that’s played with a standard 52-card deck. Since there are no wild cards, the game can be played with fewer than four players, but it’s generally most exciting when played with about six players.
In the first round of betting, the player to the left of the dealer must either call or raise to stay in. If he folds, he forfeits his ante bet.
The second line of betting begins with the next player to the left, who may check if he chooses not to bet. If all players check, the hand is over and each player takes back his ante. The dealer will then burn a card and deal four more cards, this time face up so that all players can see them. This is known as “the bring-in”.
Once again, the first player clockwise from the dealer has an option : he may fold or call. If he calls, he must place an additional bet equal to double his ante bet into the pot. The next player then has a similar choice: fold or call. This goes on until there is a pre-flop showdown between all remaining players who have called.
If there are no raises at any point before the showdown, only one card is dealt to each player at that time and betting resumes as usual after everyone has seen their cards. Because no draws were made during this round of betting (and thus no hands were improved as a result), there is no reason for any more than one card.
Badugi poker general strategy
Badugi is often compared to lowball poker, but it’s much more complex than that. It’s a form of triple draw where each player gets dealt four cards and must discard two before the next round of betting begins. It’s a very unusual game that can be difficult to master.
Tournament play requires a very different strategy than cash games because of the blinds and antes. Also, tournaments usually have more players than cash games and the skill levels are usually higher as well.
The most important thing in Badugi is understanding your opponent’s range (which hands they play) and their tendencies (do they limp or raise, do they cap preflop, etc.).
Hand Rankings in Badugi
In Badugi, each player is dealt four cards, and they have to use any combination of them to make the best hand possible. Aces are low, as are pairs, and straights or flushes do not exist. From that information, let’s take a look at some possible Badugi hands:
Badugi – This is the best possible, known as a “four-card 4.” Four unpaired cards of different suits.
Three-Card Hand – Three unpaired or flush cards, with the fourth card paired or flushed with one of the other three cards.
Two-Card Hand – Two unpaired cards of different suits that are paired with at least one of the other two cards of the same suit
One-Card Hand – This is the worst hand, four cards of the same suit
In Badugi, each player is dealt four cards face-down. Because there are no traditional poker hands, it has been described as playing chess while blindfolded. Knowing when to hold, hit, or fold requires a keen understanding of the odds, until finally you can calculate a winning hand.
Badugi is simple to learn, but can be a challenge to master
Badugi is a game of choices, and each decision you make can affect the outcome. That’s why it helps to have some structure behind your decisions. Your plan should include a few strategies for every hand. Use strategies that favor your strengths and exploit your opponents’ weaknesses. Know how you will play each hand in detail before you act. Keep an overall strategy in mind as you plan a strategy for each individual hand.