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Badugi Game Rules and Strategy

Badugi is a draw poker variant, played with low hands with a very peculiar hand ranking system. Like Holdem, Badugi is played with forced bets called blinds. There is a Big Blind and a Small Blind which move around the table in a clock-wise direction with every hand. After the blinds are posted, the dealer hands each of the players 4 cards face down. Players may take a look at their cards though they may not see their opponents’ cards.

The deal is followed by the first betting round. Based on the strength of their hands, players have the choice to call the BB, to raise it or to fold. Here’s what you have to know in order to determine how strong your hand is:

In Badugi, paired and suited cards are eliminated from a hand. Your Badugi hand needs to be one made up of unsuited cards of different value, the lower they are, the better. The best Badugi hand is A,2,3,4 of different suits. This one is a four card Badugi hand. There are 3-card, 2-card and 1-card hands too in Badugi and you have to remember that a 4-card valid hand always beats a 3-card one regardless of the value, a 3-card one is always better than a 2-card one and a 2-card one is always better than a 1-card hand.
Once the first betting round is over, the remaining players will draw cards. They’ll be able to replace 0-4 cards from their initial hand. The draw is followed by a betting round again. There are 3 draws in a hand, each of them followed by a betting round.
At showdown, the person with the best Badugi hand wins the pot.

As a basic strategy advice: look out for the guy who doesn’t draw a single card: he’s most probably been dealt a very solid hand to begin with.

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