Poker Rules: Badugi

by: Jasmine Edler

Getting tired of the same ol’ poker games? You already know how to play Texas holdem by heart? Why don’t you try something else? Badugi is in many ways different from most other poker forms, but at the same time quite similar to triple draw. What differentiate Badugi from other forms of poker are the hand values and the fact that a hand only consists of four cards.

In short, each player is dealt four cards followed by three drawing rounds were the players can exchange up to four cards. The player showing down the best Badugi hand in the end wins the pot.

Hand Ranking
As mentioned earlier, the ranking of the hands is different in Badugi. The object is to create a four card Badugi hand. In order for all four cards to count, the hand can’t have any cards in the same suit or any pairs. Badugi is a low game and aces count as low cards. The best hand is A 2 3 4 in different suits. A hand like A 3 3 6 is counted as a three-card hand (A 3 6). All four-card Badugi hands (often just called Badugi) beat all three card hands and so on.

If two or more players hold the same number of cards, the hand with the lowest cards wins. If the high card is the same, you look at the next card. In case the hands are identical there is a tie (suits do not count).

Here are the top ten hands in Badugi (rainbow cards):
1. A 2 3 4
2. A 2 3 5
3. A 2 4 5
4. A 3 4 5
5. 2 3 4 5
6. A 2 3 6
7. A 2 4 6
8. A 3 4 6
9. 2 3 4 6
10. A 2 5 6

Playing a Hand
Let’s take a closer look at how Badugi is played. Like in Texas holdem, a big and a small blind are usually used (but the game can also be played with an ante). Each player is dealt four cards face down. The only person allowed to see the four cards is the player himself. When all the cards are dealt, it is time for the pre-draw betting round. The player directly left of the big blind (or the button if an ante is used) is first to act and the action then proceeds clockwise. The player can chose between calling, raising or folding and the betting round ends when all players left in the pot has put in an equal amount of money.

Now it’s time for the draw. The first player to the left of the dealer (still in the game) is first to draw. He/she may discard between zero and four cards and are dealt new cards from the deck. Each player is dealt new cards before the next player in line chooses how many to draw.

This is followed by a second round of betting. Where the first player to act can choose to check, bet (or fold). The betting proceeds in the same manner as in the last round and is followed by a new draw. This is followed by another round of betting and a final draw. There is a final betting round and if two or more players are still in the pot when the round is finished there is a showdown. The player making the last bet is first to show the hand and the remaining players then show their hands clockwise and the pot is awarded to the best Badugi hand.