I have a confession to make. I have only played Badugi a few times in my life.
The game is relatively new compared to games like Omaha and NLHE, but that's no excure not to learn an exciting new game!
If, like me, you intend to play in tonight's WBCOOP Badugi tournament, here's a quick guide:
Each player is dealt four cards face down, and the preflop action is the same as Hold’em (Button, SB, BB then action moves to the left). After the first round of betting, the first draw takes place. Players can discard any number of cards from 0 to 4 and receive an equal number of cards in return.
A second round of betting then starts, after which there is a second draw. This is followed by two further draws, with the third and fourth betting rounds after each one.
If at least two players make it to this stage, there will be a showdown.
Hand rankings in Badugi are unlike those in any other poker game. Players only receive four cards of course, and unlike many popular games, suited cards and pairs count against you.
A four card Badugi hand must consist of all four suits and no pairs. For example:
Ah 3s 4d 6c
Any four card Badugi hand beats any three card hand, which would be any three non-suited cards and one that either paired one of the others, or was the same suit, for example:
Ah 3s 4d 4c
Ah 3s 4d 5d
A two card hand would be any hand where only two cards qualify, and two others are either the same suit, or pair one of the others. A one card hand would be one where just one card qualifies.
The best possible hand in Badugi is A234 with four different suits.
If two hands contain the same number of qualifying cards, the hands are evaluated by comparing the highest card in each hand, lowest wins. For example:
Ah 3s 4d 5c
Ah 4s 6d Kc
When drawing one card, remember that there are only 10 possible cards from the remaining deck that can improve your hand (all the hands from the required suit, minus those that make a pair) so working out your outs against a given opponent should be easy relative to some other forms of poker. This allows you to calculate your pot odds too, which again should be easy as tonight’s tournament is fixed limit.
As with any poker game, a solid understanding of the rules is essential to success. Failing that (as will be the case with many tonight, I’m sure) it’s important to take advantage of transitional poker concepts like position and aggressiveness.