The badugi is one more variant of poker that coexists with other more well-known ones. Whenever we talk about varieties of poker, we focus on Texas Hold’em, Omaha poker or Chinese poker, the three most played, but there are more kinds of poker and it is interesting to know how to play to expand borders.

What is badugi poker

The term “badugi” comes from the South Korean word “baduk”, which means “black and white pattern”. The game of badugi was used in the 1980s in the United States and was played as “lowball out of the suit.” In some areas of North America, it was more of a game of ups and downs.

Badugi is a variant that is played with individual or player cards, rather than community cards. Translation? That the strategy has more weight and is more complex. It is a style of poker that has its origins in Asia, especially known in Korea and China, and precisely because of its challenging nature, it has gained much notoriety in recent years, especially among high-level players looking for a stimulating challenge.

In the badugi the hands are ordered from lowest to highest in the hierarchy, as we will now see. That is, the lower ranks are higher and vice versa.

Badugi rules

In badugi poker, the rules are different than what you probably already knew. We are going to review the key points of the rules that govern the badugi so that you know how to play if you decide to try it:

  • Discards. As you will see below, the game takes place over several rounds of betting and drawing. When you are dealt your first four cards, you will have the opportunity to discard a specified number of cards to improve your hand. Normally, up to three discards are allowed, but each table can have its own rule.
  • Value of the cards. In badugi, the cards have their own value. Aces have the lowest value, and high cards the highest.
  • Possible combinations. The objective in a badugi poker game is to use your player cards to form the best hand, making as many discards as you deem necessary. But making three of a kind or two pair of the same suit is not allowed here.
  • The betting rounds. After each round of draws, there is a round of betting. All players can choose whether to fold, bet or call.
  • The final discards. After the last round of betting, the showdown arrives. Here the players reveal the hands and whoever has the best hand according to the badugi hierarchy wins the pot. Be careful, because in the badugi the hands are governed by another order, remember that.

How to play badugi poker

Do you want to learn how to play badugi? Well, the dynamics are as follows:

Well, the dynamics is as follows, these are the basic rules:

  • Card Deal: Each player receives four cards face down. The action starts with the player to the left of the dealer.
  • Betting Rounds: There are four betting rounds in Badugi. The first betting round begins after the cards are dealt. The betting rounds follow the low limit/high limit betting format, where the first two betting rounds are low limit and the last two rounds are high limit.
  • Draw Cards: After each betting round (except the last one), players have the option to discard any number of their cards and receive new cards from the deck. This is known as “drawing”. Players may choose not to draw any cards, which is known as “staying pat”.
  • Badugi Hands: A Badugi hand is a hand of four cards of different suits and values. If a player has two cards of the same suit or value, only one of them counts. Therefore, the best possible hand is A-2-3-4 of different suits, which is a “Badugi”. Hands are ranked first by the number of unique cards they have, then by their highest value. Therefore, any hand of four unique cards will beat a hand of three unique cards, and so on.
  • Winning the Pot: At the end of the betting and drawing rounds, if there is still more than one player in the hand, the players reveal their cards and the player with the best Badugi hand wins the pot. If no player has a Badugi, the best single three-card hand wins, and so on.
  • Strategy: Strategy in Badugi involves deciding which cards to draw and when to bet, raise or fold. As in other forms of poker, position is important, and players must pay attention to their opponents’ actions to try to determine what kind of hand they might have.

This whole dynamic repeats until there is only one player left at the table, or until the betting phase ends in the third phase of the draw.

I hope this helps you better understand the rules of Badugi – it’s a fun and challenging game that requires both skill and strategy!