Badugi poker is an old Korean card game that at one time was unknown to the rest of the world. In recent years, however, Badugi poker has spread to countries around the world and its popularity has grown tremendously. Today, Badugi Poker can be found at large online poker sites like PokerStars and also in many live card rooms.
Interestingly, the name “Badugi” comes from a Korean word that is used to describe multi-colored or spotted dogs. Apparently the name was chosen because the goal of Badugi is to get hands that consist of cards of different ranks and suits.
The game is played with a similar betting structure to triple draw lowball, with four betting rounds and three drawing phases. The biggest difference between Badugi and other poker games is that Badugi is only played with four cards.
The object of Badugi Poker is to end up with the four lowest cards possible, preferably of different suits and ranks. The best possible hand, therefore, is A-2-3-4 with no two cards of the same suit. Any hand that is composed of four different suits is called a “Badugi” and is ranked better than any hand in which two or more of the cards share a suit.
If a player ends up with a hand that contains a pair or two cards of the same suit, one of those cards is removed and the hand is played as a 3 card hand. If there are three cards of the same suit or rank, two of the cards are removed and the hand is played as a 2 card hand. Any Badugi beats any 3 card hand and any 3 card hand beats any 2 card hand.
After years of playing poker games with high cards, new Badugi poker players sometimes find it difficult to get used to looking for low cards and unsuited cards. Just rest assured that after you get a little experience under your belt, looking for low cards will feel completely natural. After just a few hours of playing Badugi you will get the hang of it and it will become your favorite poker game!