Badugi Rules and How to Play Badugi
Badugi is a four-card, triple draw, lowball poker game with its own unique method for ranking hands. The goal of Badugi Poker is to make a hand that includes one card from each suit (without making a pair) with lowball rankings then used. The best possible Badugi hand is A-2-3-4 in four suits, and the second best hand is A-2-3-5 with each card being a different suit. When a player makes a non-paired four-suit hand, this hand is called a Badugi. If more than one player makes a Badugi, the player who has the lowest Badugi wins. The value of the Badugi is ranked by highest of the four cards. For example, an A-2-3-J Badugi is a Jack high Badugi. Kickers only come into play when the players’ highest of four cards match with one another.
If at showdown a player has 3 suits in their hand, this is considered a three card hand. A card in matching suit can not be used, as Badugi rules require all cards to be in a different suit as part of the hand rankings. If no player at the table has a Badugi, the pot will be awarded at showdown to the player with the lowest three card hand. In the rare case no player has a three card hand, then the pot will be awarded to the player with the best (lowest) two card hand.
Badugi rules are similar to those of Triple Draw lowball games, where the differences, already covered, are the unique hand ranking system and four cards instead of five. For those not familiar with Triple Draw, we’ll break the Badugi rules down further here.
Detailed Badugi Rules
Badugi is played with up to eight players at the same table and uses a fixed limit betting structure. The exact “How to Play Badugi” is covered below.
Badugi starts with the two players to the left of the dealer-button posting a live small blind and a live big blind. Starting with the small blind, players are dealt one card at a time until each has four cards. The first round of betting takes place and when complete, the first of three draws begins. The draw starts with the player to the left of the dealer having the option to discard any number of their cards and have them replaced with new ones. This option goes around the table, with each player having the chance to draw.
After the first draw, the second betting round takes place with stakes equal to the first, and a second draw follows. After the second draw, a third betting round occurs with the stakes now doubled. The players then have one more chance to draw new cards and when complete, the final betting round takes place using the same doubled stakes. The final action is a showdown where the player with the best Badugi hand is awarded the pot.
Badugi Rules on Reshuffles
Badugi rules allow up to eight players per table. For the math minded player, you’ll see it is possible that with each player getting four cards and with three draw rounds, the deck might run out of cards. In the event there are no cards left to deal, a reshuffle occurs, creating a fresh deck. Badugi rules on the reshuffle vary from house to house. In many live games the discards of the players still in the hand are left in front of them, and only cards from mucked hands are used for the reshuffle. At PokerStars.com the rules state that all cards will be reshuffled, however their software has been programmed in such a way that no player will get a card they’ve previously discarded. It is worth noting that in most cases a reshuffle is not needed, as many players have folded before making it deep into the drawing rounds. For a full guide on dealing Badugi check out this article: How To Deal Badugi