Badugi is a simple poker variant to learn because the rules are short and sweet. It’s played with a normal deck of 52 cards and the object of the game is to get the lowest hand possible. Only four cards are dealt and pairs and suited cards count against you. The best final hand you can have is A-2-3-4 without any cards sharing a suit.
Any time you end up with a hand that contains four cards of different suits, that hand is called a “Badugi.” If a hand ends up with two or more cards that share suits or ranks, cards must be discarded until that hand contains no cards that share suits or ranks.
For example, if a hand ends up with two spades, the highest spade must be discarded. That hand would then be played as a 3-card hand. It can still vie for the pot but that 3-card hand will be beaten by any Badugi.
Badugi hands are ranked starting from the highest card in the hand and working down. This means that a hand like A-2-3-8 would lose to a hand like 4-5-6-7. Even though the first hand has more low cards, the second hand wins because its highest card is lower than the first hand’s highest card.
Basic Badugi Rules
- The two players to the left of the dealer pay the blinds.
- Each player is dealt four cards face down.
- The player to the left of the big blind begins the betting. That player may call the big blind to stay in the pot, fold or raise.
- The betting action continues to the left around the table until each player has had a chance to act.
- There is now a drawing phase. Each player may discard up to 4 cards and receive new cards at random from the deck.
- There is another round of betting. This time the betting begins with the first remaining player to the left of the dealer. That player may check or bet. The betting action continues to the left around the table.
- There is a second drawing phase just like the previous drawing phase.
- There is now a third round of betting. From this point on, all bets must be made in increments of the upper betting limit.
- There is a third drawing phase.
- There is a fourth and final round of betting.
- The players remaining in the hand have a showdown and reveal their hands. The player with the best Badugi hand wins the pot.
These are the basic rules of Badugi Poker. Now that you know the rules, you should try to learn a good badugi strategy to help you maximize your winnings.