Badugi Poker And How It’s Played

December 16, 2013 :: Posted by - scott :: Category - Poker

You are probably not familiar with Badugi with its weird betting structure and moves but it is big in Asia and is becoming more well known in North America. The game consists of four cards and three drawing rounds in which bets are placed and players begin to assemble that fine Badugi hand into showdown. The game is usually played as fixed limit with two blinds and similar playing methods to other poker variations. Badugi games may also include pot or no limit play, most often seen in tournament play.

Badugi Goes Like This:

To start the game, the dealer deals four face-down cards to each player, round one of betting follows starting with the player right ahead of the large blind. One can call, fold or raise up to the house limit. Players who stay with the game post-round one betting can then draw no cards at all or up to four cards. These drawn cards are not played. All players must be very cognizant of their discards and update their odds accordingly. Interestingly, similar to the streets used as terms for rounds in Texas Hold’em, Badugi uses the time of day to describe rounds.

Of special note is that successful hands are valued very differently from your usual poker version. You must be very clear on how hands are ranked, do not play Badugi unless you are. In Badugi, the only cards that count are those with distinct values and suits. So duplicates, or pairs and dual suits are worth nothing in your hand. The very name Badugi refers to the hand comprised of separate and distinct suited cards. As you compare hands, first consider the count of live cards, then the lower value of the highest card, realizing that ace is low. So, the epitome of the winning hand would contain ace, two, three and four, all unsuited. At the very bottom of the scale lies the hand of four kings.

Winning Badugi Strategy

Badugi is somewhat like 2-7 triple draw poker in it shares with it the three drawing rounds. The hand rankings are nothing alike as the no duplicate rule in Badugi is certainly not the rule in triple draw. Most poker variations will stress the importance of the player’s position at the table and with Badugi position is even more critical in determining the strength or weakness of opponent’s hands. If a player can see the draws his opponents make, he can determine the value of their hands relative to his own, many draws show a weak hand, few draws a stronger one.

Let us assume that you have a Badugi, i.e. a hand of four cards, and want to set about determining the odds that your drawing opponent will make his own Badugi. Every time a player swaps a card, it means he must hit the suit not present in his existing hand. The odds are 10 to 52 that he will do this because he can’t match even one of the three values in his hand. Add to this that he might draw a lower high value and the odds are even greater.

Suppose you hold in your hand a four-card ten high. In this case, the player has a 6 in 52 chance of hitting a lower, discrete value as any card higher than ten in the correct suit will not make his hand better than yours.

Before beginning that first betting round, the player has a little more than a 50% chance of drawing to a discrete four-card hand during each round, which adds up to a 20 % chance of doing so in each round.