Online Badugi is a draw poker game, similar in nature to other “lowball” games such as 2-7 Triple Draw. However, the hand ranking system in Badugi is very different from the other draw games and the game is played with only four pocket cards. As in most forms of poker, Badugi uses a standard 52-card deck that is shuffled before every hand.
Badugi Hand Rankings
The object of Badugi is to make a four-card low hand of all different suits.
- Flushes and pairs count against your hand
- Straights do not count against your hand
- The Ace is always considered a low card
There are four different types of Badugi hands you can make (ranked in order of strength):
- A “Badugi”: any hand that contains four different cards of all different suits. For example, 4d-3h-2s-Ac, the best possible “Badugi”.
- A “3-Card”: any hand that contains at least three different cards of different suits. For example, 4d-3h-2s-Ad. Since there are two cards of the same suit, the highest suited card (4d) is not counted.
- A “2-Card”: any hand that contains at least two different cards of different suits. For example, 4d-4h-3s-As. Since there is a pair and two suited cards, only one 4 and the Ace are counted.
- A “1-Card”: any hand that contains only one card of individual value or suit. For example, Ad-Ah-As-Ac, or 4d-3d-2d-Ad. In each of these cases, only one Ace is counted.
Any “Badugi” hand beats any “3-Card” hand, any “3-Card” hand beats any “2-Card” hand, and so on.
Badugi hands are counted from the highest card to the lowest card. For example, a 9-8-7-6 “Badugi” beats a T-8-7-5 “Badugi”.
If the high cards are of equal value, the next highest card (or cards) comes into play. For example, an 8-6-5-4 “Badugi” beats an 8-7-6-5 “Badugi”. This holds true for all other Badugi hand types.
Like flop-based games such as Hold ’em, Badugi features blinds to stimulate action at the table. The small blind and big blind are assigned to the players to the left of the dealer button, which determines the order in which cards are dealt.
When you first buy in to a Badugi game, you’ll have the option of waiting for the big blind to reach your position before you begin playing or posting a blind equivalent to the big blind to be dealt immediately, except when sitting in a position that would put you in the small blind position or on the button, where you’ll have to wait for the next hand to play.
The Deal and First Round of Betting
Once the blinds are posted, the hand is underway. With Badugi, four cards are dealt face down to each player in the hand, starting with the player to the left of the dealer button.
After the cards are dealt, the first round of betting ensues. Starting with the player to the left of the big blind, each player has the option to fold their hand, call the current bet or raise it up! If no one raises, the player in the big blind has the option to check their hand, meaning that player makes no bet but still retains their hand.
When the first round of betting is complete, all players still in the hand have the option to discard any or all of their cards and draw new ones. Click on the cards you want to discard, and then click the Discard button when it’s your turn to act.
Alternatively, you can select the cards you want to discard and then check the Discard pre-action option, so your cards will be automatically discarded when it’s your turn to act.
If you prefer not to discard any cards, you have the option to “stand pat”. To do so, either check the Stand Pat pre-action option, or click the Stand Pat button when it’s your turn to act:
Once all players have discarded, new cards will be drawn from the deck and each player will be dealt the same number of cards which they discarded.
Please note: In draw games, it’s possible for more cards to be needed than are available in the deck. In this case, a reshuffling of the deck will take place.
Betting and Drawing Rounds #2 and #3
After the first draw, another round of betting takes place, beginning with the first player to the left of the button. If no one has bet, you have the option to check your hand or make a bet. If you’re facing a bet, you have the option to fold, call or raise.
Once the second round of betting is complete, draw #2 takes place. As with the first draw, any player remaining in the hand has the opportunity to discard any or all of their cards, or stand pat.
After new cards are drawn, a third round of betting takes place, followed by draw #3. Draw #3 is your last chance to make the best hand you can.
The Final Betting Round and Showdown
Following the third draw, one last round of betting takes place. This round of betting follows the same format as the previous rounds.
When the last round of betting is complete, a showdown takes place with any players still remaining in the hand. The player with the best Badugi hand wins the pot! If there is a tie for the best hand, the pot will be split equally among the tied players. Occasionally the pot cannot be evenly split. If there are any remaining chips left in the pot, the ‘extra’ chips will be awarded one at a time to the remaining players, starting with the player closest to the left of the button.
Sometimes a player runs out of chips before all the betting is over. In such case, one or more side pots are created, and the software awards appropriate main and side pots. When a player is all in, a bet or raise can be made that is not called, but a showdown still takes place.
Players often do not show losing hands. You are entitled, however, to see any cards that were active at the showdown even if they were not shown. Click on “Show previous hand” to bring up a new window that shows the results of the last hand and all the active cards.