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How to Play Badugi Poker

How to Play Badugi Poker

Badugi is a draw game gaining popularity in the poker world these days and for good reason - it's a very fun, action-packed poker game.

Although it shares many aspects of its structure with other draw games, such as 2-7 Triple-Draw Lowball, Badugi uses an entirely distinct system for evaluating the winning hand.

A hand in Badugi is aptly named "a Badugi."

What is Badugi Poker?

The origin of the card game Badugi is somewhat undetermined although many people have noted the similarity to the South Korean word "baduk," which means "black and white pattern" - similar to what you might find in the game Go

How to play Badugi

In North America it was reportedly played as "Offsuit Lowball" in the 1980s in Winnipeg and a comparable high-low game was played in Toronto.

In Vegas some say it originated with poker pro Paul "Eskimo" Clark, who reportedly brought the game back with him from his military service in Vietnam. These reports are unconfirmed, though.

Basic Badugi Poker Rules

  1. Badugi is a "blind game," meaning the player to the left of the dealer puts in the small blind and the player to the left of the small blind puts in the big blind.
  2. Starting with the player on the left of the dealer and moving clockwise around the table, every player is dealt four cards facedown, one card at a time.
  3. Once all players have their four cards the first betting round starts with the player to the left of the big blind.
  4. Once the betting round has completed the players enter the first drawing round.
  5. Starting with the player on the dealer's left the player announces how many cards he would like to throw away from his hand and receives new ones in return.
  6. The dealer deals all of the cards to that player at once and moves on to the next player.
  7. A player can choose to throw away no cards, keeping their hand intact. This is known as standing pat or rapping pat.
  8. Once all players have received their new cards the second betting round begins, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
  9. This pattern repeats until either:
    • Only one player is left, the rest having folded.
    • The players have completed the betting round after the third drawing round.

If you'd like more information on things such as betting rounds or blinds, head to our article about Texas Hold'em Rules and Game Play.

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Badugi Hand Rankings

Once all betting is complete the best Badugi wins the pot.

  1. A Badugi must be made up of the lowest one to four cards from a player's hand.
  2. Hands are counted from the highest card down; the value of the hand is based on how low the highest cards in the hand are.
  3. Aces are low.
  4. All cards used must be of different suits and ranks.
  5. Any four-card Badugi beats any three-card Badugi.
  6. A two-card Badugi is beaten by any three- or four-card Badugi.

How to Read Badugi Hands

A hearts A 2 clubs 2 3 diamonds 3 4 spades 4

This is the best possible Badugi, known as a "four-card 4."

A hearts A 2 clubs 2 3 diamonds 3 3 clubs 3

Since you cannot have a pair this hand can't use the second three, making the hand a "three-card 3." This hand would lose to any four-card Badugi.

2 clubs 2 3 clubs 3 7 hearts 7 9 spades 9

This is a three-card 9. Since the 3  is of the same suit as the 2 , the higher of the two cards cannot be used.

#1 A hearts A 2 clubs 2 3 diamonds 3 10 spades 10

#2 4 hearts 4 6 diamonds 6 7 clubs 7 9 spades 9

#2 hand wins with a four-card 9 beating the four-card 10.

Any two players holding the same hand split the pot. Once the player with the winning hand has received the pot, the player who was to the left of the dealer becomes the new dealer for the next hand.

Play Badugi Online Free

The best way to get a proper handle on how to play Badugi poker (and how to play it well) is to play some actual Badgui hands, either live or online.

The best way we've found to get some free Badugi poker in is on PokerStars, where you can create an account and access the play-money games. You can play free Badugi poker online until your heart's content; then, when you're ready to try it out for real-money you can easily add a deposit to your account.

Get a new PokerStars and access to our up to $600 bonus via the link below:

The Only Badugi Site

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Badugi Poker FAQs

  • WHAT IS BADUGI POKER?

    Badugi is a draw poker game gaining popularity in the poker world these days and for good reason - it is a very fun, action-packed poker game. Although this game shares many aspects of its structure with other draw games, Badugi uses an entirely distinct system for evaluating the winning hand. A hand in Badugi is aptly named "a Badugi."
  • HOW TO PLAY BADUGI POKER?

    The object of the game is to make a Badugi - a four-card low hand with four different suits, and no pairs. Badugi is a "blind game," meaning the player to the left of the dealer puts in the small blind and the player to the left of the small blind puts in the big blind.
  • IS BADUGI POKER HIGH OR LOW HAND EVALUATION?

    Badugi ranks cards from low to high as in traditional poker, except with aces being low. A Badugi hand must be made up of the lowest one to four cards from a player's hand. Futhermore, there is a different hand ranking than it is in texas hold'em.
  • WHERE TO PLAY BADUGI POKER ONLINE?

    The best way to play some Badugi poker is on PokerStars, where you can create an account and access the games. Keep in mind to regiester your account through our link and receive welcome bonus for new players.
  • WHAT ARE THE HAND RANKINGS IN BADUGI POKER?

    A Badugi must be made up of the lowest one to four cards from a player's hand.

    Hands are counted from the highest card down; the value of the hand is based on how low the highest cards in the hand are.

    Aces are low.

    All cards used must be of different suits and ranks.

    Any four-card Badugi beats any three-card Badugi.

    A two-card Badugi is beaten by any three- or four-card Badugi.

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