Badugi Poker

Badugi is a poker game that originated from Asia. It is a fast growing poker variant of lowball triple draw. Even though it has Asian origins, today the game is played offline outside of Asia too, but it’s mainly played online where it is gaining in popularity among online poker players. Being a lowball poker game, the aim of Badugi is to get the lowest hand possible, i.e. the lowest cards of different values and suits.

Even though Badugi is one of the newer poker variants, it is also one of the easiest games to play and understand and with some practice at the online Badugi poker tables, even novice Badugi players have a chance to do well.

Badugi is usually played at a poker table with a maximum of eight players. As the usual norm in a poker game, blinds are placed before the game begins. The most common betting structure you will find when playing in Badugi games is Fixed Limit, but you can also find Pot Limit and Half-Pot Limit Badugi poker games online.

How to Play Badugi Poker

Starting with the player in the small blind, the dealer will deal each player four-cards face down in a clockwise motion.

The first round of betting starts with the under the gun player, the player to the left of the big blind. In each betting round, all players have the options to either call, raise or fold. After each round, players also have the chance to change or draw their cards if they choose to in an attempt to make the winning hand. They may choose to draw up to four cards to replace the ones in their hand. The existing cards in a player’s hand must be discarded first before new card(s) are dealt. If a player thinks they have a winning hand, they are not required to draw any cards and if a player doesn’t draw any cards it’s known as “Standing Pat”.

If you happen to have two cards of the same value or suit, the cards should be discarded because they don’t count and you should retain the cards of the lowest value to try and making the winning hand. When playing Badugi poker, it is a good idea to keep track of the discarded cards, as this information will give you an idea about the cards in your opponent’s hands.

The game then continues with a second, third and fourth betting round of betting, and the bets are also increased after each round.

Showdown in a Badugi Poker Game

At the end of the fourth betting round, if there are more than one player still left in the hand and all bets and raises have been called, a showdown will take place to determine the winner. The cards of the remaining players are forced to display their hands so they can be evaluated and a winner can be declared.

Any 4 card Badugi hand will always win in this game. If you do happen to make a 4 card hand it is known as making a “Badugi”. If at the showdown there is more than one player with a 4 card hand, players will compare their hands, and the lowest 4 card Badugi hand wins. If two players have the same hand, then the pot is split between them. The best possible hand in a Badugi game is A-2-3-4 all of different suits.

If at the showdown, there are no 4-card hands, the pot shall go to the player with the best 3, 2 or 1-card Badugi hand. Aces are low cards and pairs as well as suited cards will count against your hand.

For example, if at showdown a player had 2h 7c 9s 9d. They would be forced to remove one of their Nines because they have a pair in their hand, leaving the player with a 3-card hand.

Using another example, if the showdown hand was 2c 3s 6d 6c, the player would be forced to remove the Six in their hand because it makes a pair, and it is also the same suit as one of the other cards. So again it would make a 3-card Badugi hand.

Don’t let the fact that Badugi not being as popular as other poker variants stop you from playing the game. Badugi Poker is great fun to play and can be played at several of the top online poker sites in the world, including PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, with stakes ranging from $0.05/$0.10 through to $1k/$2k on Full Tilt, and stakes from $0.25/$0.50 to $400/$800 on Stars. It has to be said, that there is more action for Badugi online poker players at PokerStars.