Badugi was originated in Korea and moved to west during the last two years. There are also claims that Badugi is originated from a similar European game.
Until a year or two ago, almost no one outside Asia (Korea to be specific) knew about Badugi. It has now picked up in a few online poker websites as well some poker room in California. You can play as low as $0.05/$0.10 limit and as high as $100/$200 blinds in online casinos like Doyles Room or Full Tilt Poker. Some casinos in Las Vegas offer Badugi as a part of their high limit mixed games.
Badugi is similar to triple draw four card game where the low-hand wins. Don’t panic if you are not familiar with triple draw as Badugi is very straight forward and easy to learn.
In short, Badugi is a drawing poker game that:
- Players get several chances to exchange your cards for new ones.
- There are betting rounds after each time players draw cards.
- The betting structure is based on the game (limit, pot limit, or half-pot limit).
- The best hands are the low hands.
- Players only use four cards and therefore the evaluation system is different than the one used for Texas Holdem
First the dealer is determined by high card and small and big blinds post their blinds. This is typical for all poker games.
First four cards: The dealer deals every player four cards (one at a time) in a clockwise motion starting from the small blind.
First betting round:
The action starts from the under the gun player (player to the left of big blind). This is right after the original dealing. This round’s bets are small (As for small and big bet in limit games). Each player can call, fold to, or raise previous bets.
In between each betting round:
- Every player gets a chance to draw for new cards in a clockwise motion starting from the small blind position.
- Players can change as few as zero or as many as all the four cards in their hand.
- Cards have to be discarded before getting new cards.
- The dealer deals the new cards to each player from the top of the deck.
- If at anytime there are not enough cards in the deck, the discarded cards can be added to the deck. The deck has to be reshuffled before more cards are dealt.
Second betting round: The action starts from the small blind position. The bets are still in small amount.
Third betting round: The action starts from the small blind position. This follow the same procedure of betting as second betting round, except this time the bets are big (typically twice the small bet).
Fourth and last betting round: This is the final betting round which uses big bets (like third betting round).
Once all the betting and calling in the last round is over, every player who still has cards (has not folded) will put their cards face up on the table and the dealer identifies the winning hand based on the Badugi hand evaluation system.
Badugi Hand Evaluation
To determine a Badugi hand first you have to make sure you don’t have any two cards of the same suit or any pairs. For example if you have two cards both spades, you will have to discard one of them – same if you have pairs. Therefore your hand would consist of three cards and practically. A hand can contain 4, 3, 2, or one card. However a 4 card hand beats a 3 card hand. A 3 card hand beats a 2 card hand and so forth.
- The best hand in Badugi is: (the suits don’t matter as long as they are different)
Once you have four cards of different suit and numbers, you are holding a Badugi hand. Remember, you don’t have to hold a badugi hand to be a winner.
Hand evaluations in Badugi are the same as Omaha low hands. So a hand like 6-4-2-A is read as 6,42A and a hand like T-7-3-A is read T,732. Therefore the first hand is better (remember in Badugi, the lower hands win). That is because 6 is smaller than 10(T).
To compare the 4 card Badugi hands you compare the highest number in each hand and the winning hand is the one which has the lowest of all. Lowest high card wins.
Of course a four card Badugi hand is better than a three card hand (if its three cards, its not called Badugi hand anymore). A three card hand is better than a two cards and so forth.
Go to our Poker Strategy section and look through our articles which will help you with strategy.
Where to Play Badugi
- You can play Badugi mostly at online poker websites. Those include Doyles Room and more.
- I am not aware whether Las Vegas casinos offer Badugi in their low limit poker tables, but I have heard of couple poker rooms in California that host Badugi. However Baduig i offered at high limit mixed games at Bellagio, Wynn, and some other casinos.
- You can always host a dealer’s choice poker game and make Badugi your choice.
Points to remember:
- Betting rounds are explained above. The amount of betting is determined by the type of Badugi game. It can be limit, pot limit, or even half-pot limit.
- In a Badugi poker game, there are no community cards. Therefore flop, turn, and river don’t exist.