Badugi is a relatively new poker variant and as such, presents a special opportunity for poker players looking for additional sources of income. There is a major lack of strategy material for Badugi players so the average Badugi player is playing by the seat of his pants. If you can learn how to apply a little basic Badugi strategy to your game, it’s not too difficult to turn a tidy profit.
Badugi Strategy Tips to get you started
Be selective in choosing your starting hands
Like any poker variant, you will lose money in Badugi if you play too many hands. As a general rule, you should only play hands that contain four cards ranked 7 or lower or hands that contain two cards ranked 5 or lower. This includes hands like 3-5-6-7 and A-2-x-x.
If you play starting hands that have cards ranked 8 or above, you will end up spending too much money and drawing to inferior hands. Even though there are three drawing rounds, you don’t have great odds to improve to a winning hand. The best strategy is to save your money and wait for strong starting hands.
Practice selective aggression
If you start out with one of the strong Badugi hands mentioned above, begin with a raise to thin the field and get value for your hand. If you have a strong hand, you need to start raising with it right away to charge people to draw against it.
Don’t be surprised or dismayed if you can’t thin the field in low limit Badugi games. As long as you are raising with strong hands and your opponents are calling with weak hands, you will profit in the long run. Your strong hands will feel like they get outdrawn all the time but you will win enough large pots to make a profit.
Play rough Badugis fast
If you get dealt a rough Badugi right off the bat, such as 2-4-7-Q, it’s often a difficult decision to decide on whether to try to draw and improve the hand or keep it. If you decide to keep a rough Badugi (which is advisable in 6 max games), make sure you bet it hard from the get-go. Make your opponents pay to try to draw against you.
Don’t draw when your opponents stand pat
It’s generally considered a bad idea to continue drawing and calling bets when your opponents are standing pat. If your hand isn’t strong enough to stand pat, it’s probably losing to whatever your opponent has. The one time this rule doesn’t apply is when you have a strong reason to believe your opponent is bluffing.