Badugi is a game with a few similarities to Texas hold ‘em poker (and many differences). Badugi is sometimes called Padooki, which means “spotted dog” in Korean. It’s a “draw game” and falls into the same category as other games like 5-card draw. The game involves blinds and a dealer button.
The origins of this game aren’t completely clear. Players from Canada and Korea claim to have invented the game sometime in the 1980s, making this a fairly new type of game.
What is Badugi poker and how can you start playing it? You’ll know all that, and more, after reading this short GipsyTeam guide.
Things To Know Before You Start Playing Badugi
Badugi is usually in a fixed-limit format with 8 players. A 52-card deck is used.
Players start the game with smaller bets and are allowed to make larger bets in the final two betting rounds of the game. There are two bet sizes in Badugi:
- Small Bet (same size as the big blind): Before the first draw and after the first draw.
- Big Bet (double the size of the big blind): After the second draw and third draw.
Raises are usually capped at 4 bets (Small or Big Bets), but this depends on the poker room or player's choice.
Unlike Texas hold ‘em, there are no community cards in Badugi; the only cards you can use are in your hand.
Badugi Hand Rankings
These might seem complex at first, but take a look at our illustrations for an example of Badugi's hands. Even a weak four-card Badugi hand beats the best possible three-card hand. A three-card hand always beats a two-card hand, and so on.
Cards are discounted from your hand if they match another or if the card’s suit matches another. This is how we get 3, 2, and even 1-card Badugi hands.
Badugi is a lowball game, meaning the lowest cards are the strongest. Instead of looking to make a strong hand combination like in Texas hold ‘em or Omaha, your strategy is to draw for the worst possible hand.
The best hand in Badugi is Ace-deuce-three-four, with each card being a different suit.
You want to have four cards with different suits – giving you a four-card Badugi hand.
If you have two cards with the same suit, one of those cards will not play in your final hand combination. The same rules apply to three or four of the same suit; you can only use one card in your final hand. It’s a good strategy to exchange the highest card of the two.
You also don’t want pairs or any cards with matching values. Pairs are a good hand in hold ‘em, but a bad thing for a Badugi hand. If you have a pair or any matching cards, you can only use one of them in your final hand.
If you have pairs or suited cards, you might only have one or two cards to play at showdown. If you have the same number of cards as your opponent, the player with the lower cards wins.
Badugi is a triple-draw game, meaning that you will have three opportunities to exchange cards.
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Step By Step Rules For Badugi
Shuffle your cards and get ready for your first hand of Badugi!
1. Big and Small Blind.
The players to the left of the dealer button begin by placing the blinds on the table. The small blind is always half the amount of the big blind.
2. Deal Cards.
Starting with the small blind, deal each player one card at a time until everyone has four cards.
3. First Betting Round.
Players can fold, call the big blind amount, or raise by one big blind.
4. First Draw.
Once the action is finished and all bets are matched, it's time for the first draw. Players can select any number of cards to exchange, in an attempt to make a stronger hand. It’s fine to choose not to exchange anything.
5. Second Betting Round.
Players can check, bet, and raise during this round.
6. Second Draw.
7. Third Betting Round.
The same actions apply (check, bet, and raise), but now using the Big Bet size (double the big blind).
8. Third and Final Draw.
9. Fourth and Final Betting Round.
Players can choose to check, bet, and make raises. Once the action is complete, players show their cards and decide the winner.
Can You Play Badugi Online?
Badugi is a popular home game, but there isn’t a lot of traffic at the online tables, though some games on Play Money PokerStars tables run occasionally. Nowadays, PokerStars is one of the only trusted sites to offer real money Badugi, but the tables are usually empty. Don’t worry, there’s a way to fill those seats.
If you select Home Games in the PokerStars software, a new window will open. This is your way to create your own private games of poker, including Badugi. There are 17 different poker formats to choose from, including Texas hold ‘em, Omaha (PLO and Hi/Lo), short deck, razz, stud games, and more.
This is the best way to play online Badugi with friends. If you don’t want to put real money on the table, select Play Money when setting up your game to make everything free. The stakes for real money Badugi Home Games are either $0.25/$0.50 or $0.50/$1, with a fixed limit format.
PokerStars lets you use built-in webcams at the table for Texas hold ‘em Home Games (if you choose to allow it), so work on your poker face!
Once you create a PokerStars account, click on Home Games in the top menu. You’ll need to set up your club at this time or join one of your friend's clubs. Arrange weekend tournaments or cash games and get your friends to the tables.
Check out our full guide to private online poker games for a detailed walkthrough.