Poker Road Warrior: The new online sensation: Badugi
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The new online sensation: Badugi

New : Play Badugi at Poker Stars

Badugi is an action game that originated in Asia and is quickly making its way through North America (and into online card rooms.) Badugi is a triple draw lowball game. You’re dealt four cards and you draw three times. Wagering takes place after the initial deal and after each of the three draws. You don't want high cards, you don't want pairs and you don't want matching suits. When you hold four cards of different rank and suit, then you’re holding a BADUGI!
Badugi Primer
Since Badugi is a lowball game, a good hand is one in which your 4 cards are low valued (with four different suits.) Aces are low, so the best possible Badugi hand is A-2-3-4 of all different suits (straights do not count against you.)
When there are no “Badugis” (rainbow hands) the best hand is deduced by removing the higher of any two suited cards and/or any paired cards from the four. This generates a hand of one to four cards. Any four card hand beats a three card hand. Three cards hands beat two card hands and two card hands beat a one card hand. Here’s a little more info:
Paired Hands: If your hand is Ah-2d-4c-4s this is known as a three-card hand (as you can only use one of the cards you have paired) and your hand value is really Ah-2d-4c. A full 4 card Badugi beats any three-card hand. Similarly, a hand such as A-2-2-2 would have a final value of A2 (a two-card hand) as the other two cards are counterfeited. A three-card hand beats any two-card hand. Another rare example would be when you hold four of a kind, e.g., 4-4-4-4 or 9-9-9-9 giving you a final hand value of either 4 or 9 respectively. This is known as a one-card hand and is the worst possible type of hand to hold.
Suited hands: Suited hands work like paired hands. If you hold a hand such as Ac-4d-5h-6h (where both the 5 and 6 are hearts) then, your best hand would be a three card hand: A-4-5
Suited and paired hands: Occasionally, you may be dealt a hand containing both paired and suited cards. (Ex: Kd-Kh-4d-4h So, your hand is K-4) This is bad situation and unless you’re in an unraised pot playing from the big blind, hands like this should be mucked before the wagering begins.
One Card Hands: On the rare occasion someone holds four of a kind: A-A-A-A, this is known as a one card hand (and should rarely, if ever, reach showdown.)
If at showdown there are two Badugis (or two 3-card hands or 2-card hands) the lowest one will win. Here are a few examples:Badugi vs Badugi: Ah-2s-3d-4c beats 3h-4d-5s-6c3 card vs 3 card: 3c-3s-7d-9c beats 3d-8d-8s-9h2 card vs 2 card: 4c-4d-6c-6d beats 5s-8s-8h-5h
Top 10 Badugi Hands*when all cards are different suits
1: 4-3-2-A2: 5-3-2-A3: 5-4-2-A4: 5-4-3-A5: 5-4-3-26: 6-3-2-A7: 6-4-2-A8: 6-4-3-A9: 6-4-3-210: 6-5-2-A
The worst Badugi you could hold would be K-Q-J-10(this is still a ‘decent’ hand with winning potential)
Badugi Game play
The game begins with a small blind and a big blind (just like in Texas Holdem, though, that’s where the similarities between the two games end.) Each player gets four cards; the cards are dealt one at a time in a clockwise direction starting with the player in the small blind. When everyone has their 4 cards the action begins with a round of betting.
In the first betting round, the initial player to act is the player to the left of the big blind. This player may fold, call, or raise in increments of the low stake (the value of the small blind.) Play continues clockwise with succeeding players choosing to bet, call, raise, or fold. Once everyone has had their turn and all bets have been made, you move on to the first draw.
In the first drawing round, players are offered the opportunity to draw zero to four cards. This action takes place clockwise from the first player to the left of the dealer button (the original small blind.) Drawing zero cards is called 'standing pat'.
Once players have completed their initial draws, the second betting round takes place. Again, the bet increment uses the low stakes. The second drawing round is the same as first (zero to four cards may be drawn, or a player may stand pat.)
The third drawing / betting round is the same as second, with one exception: In this round the high stake is used for the betting increment.*Note: a reshuffle of discards may take place as is necessary.
The fourth and final betting round follows the same rules and leads to a showdown if more than one player remains standing.
The Showdown: After the final betting remaining players show their hand to see who won. The winning player scoops the pot.
Badugi Wagering Variants
Badugi can be played Limit, No Limit, Pot Limit, or even Half Pot Limit
In Limit Badugi all bets are made in incremental units. During the first two rounds players bet the lower unit. So, in a $1/$2 game the bet for the first two rounds would be $1. On Rounds 3 and 4, players wager the higher level (in a $1/$2 game the bets would be $2.) Betting is capped at four bets per round as is standard in all limit games.
In Pot Limit Badugi players can bet/raise any amount ranging from the value of the big blind, up to how much is in the pot. All subsequent bettors can bet/raise the pot by the total value of the current pot.
Half Pot Limit Badugi is very interesting. Half Pot Limit plays just like Pot Limit. The only exception is: the maximum a player can raise is the value of half the current pot.
The half pot variant is a mega-action game. The structure tends to keep people in the hand. Even on the final round, action is often multiway (so the pots can get gigantic… even at lower limits.)
No Limit is just that… there are no limits on what a player may bet. If the money is in front of them, it can go into the pot (and often will.) Tread these waters carefully.
Badugi Tips and Strategy
Here some info that could/should help put a few extra chips in your stack
Badugi is new to the online poker world, so there are lots of players who don’t understand the game and will easily ship a great deal of money your way. Just knowing “the basics” and playing a straightforward, intelligent game will put a nice chunk of change in your pocket at the end of a Badugi session.
As a general rule of thumb: You have a playable hand if you have three cards to a seven low (ex: 7s-4c-2h-kh) and/or two cards to a five low (ex: 5h-2s-10s-Qh)
If you have a good hand (especially early in the betting rounds) you want to thin the field by betting &/or raising at every opportunity. Free cards/draws are a no-no.
If you are dealt three cards to a Badugi, you will only hit your will draw 48% of the time (after drawing three times.) Your chance of hitting your hand gets worse on each drawing round. Make sure the pot odds warrant drawing/chasing.
As in most poker games, position is important. The closer you are to the button, the looser you can be with your preflop starting hand standards.
Dealing with frustration is crucial in Badugi. Having three cards to a Badugi and missing the fourth card on all three draws can drive anyone bonkers. Emotional / Tilt control is key.
Badugi is a game that offers some great bluffing opportunities, especially when playing shorthanded. Note: the more people there are at the table, the more likely someone holds a Badugi. Bold bluffs are not advisable at a full table and/or in multiway pots. It’s best to reserve you bluff attempts for pots that are heads up.
Drawing on the last round against an opponent who is standing pat is generally a mistake. Cut your losses and move onto the next hand.
Anything worse than an eight low Badugi (e.g. 8c-7d-6h-4s) probably isn't worth paying off a big bet @ show down (especially against a player who understands the game.) Although, if you’re playing limit, you’ll usually want to call a single bet with most/any made Badugi hand.
Well, there ya go… that’s the bare-bones of Badugi. Note: I’ve just brushed the surface of this intriguing game. As with most poker games, the best way to learn is through experience. I highly suggest you give yourself the chance to experience Badugi. Try it, I think you’ll like it. And, the sooner ya try it, the sooner you’ll have a leg-up on the pool of players that are discovering/playing this game. Those numbers will be growing over the next few years. Get a head start on the craze and start developing your Badugi skills now!

Play Badugi at Poker Stars

Badui 101 was authored by Doug Conn


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