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Rules of Badugi Poker

3 September 2008, By:
Badugi is a poker game that is unlike any you have ever played before. It is a four card lowball triple draw game where not only do suits matter, but the number of valid cards in your hand matters. As you can imagine, knowledge of other poker games will not help you too much in Badugi.


Structure of Badugi
Badugi follows the same blind structure as many other poker games, with a small blind and a big blind driving the action. Each player receives four cards. Once all players have called, folded or raised the big blind, or have called folded or re-raised if someone has already raised, there is a draw. There is a round of betting after the draw starting to the left of the dealer. This continues until three draws have been completed. There is a final betting round and a show down. Badugi is commonly played either fixed-limit, with betting levels doubling after the first draw, half pot-limit or pot-limit.

Rank of Hands in Badugi
The objective in Badugi is to hold four low cards. The catch is that if any of your cards duplicate in either rank or suit, the duplicate card does not count. This means a player may be left with a one-, two- or three-card hand. All four-card hands ("Badugis) beat all three-card hands, all three-card hands beat all two-card hands, which beat all one-card hands. If two players have the same number of valid cards, the lowest hand wins, so the best hand would be 4 3 2 A of mixed suits. The worst hand would be K K K K, which one count as a one-card king.

Playing Badugi
If more than two players go to a showdown, you will probably need a Badugi to win. If someone stands pat before the last draw, he or she almost certainly have a four-card hand and your three-card hand, no matter how strong it is, will probably not win.

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