Top 10 Badugi Tips
Badugi is a great draw game that's being introduced at more and more online poker rooms.
Players are dealt four cards, and must 'draw', or change, cards to form the best low 4-card poker hand
As not all poker rooms offer the game in 2023, it's one of those games where there's money to be won as so many fish have a stab at it. While we won't turn you into Badugi fiends overnight, with these quick tips we can at least start you off the right way.
1 - Learn The Rules Before Betting
The aim of the game is to get the lowest 4-card hand possible. Aces count as low cards in the game and are powerful if you get dealt them at the beginning. Bigger cards like queens and kings, conversely, are bad starting cards in Badugi.
The strongest hands in Badugi online poker games are those containing no pairs and four cards that are low and in different suits, known as a 'Badugi' (e.g. 4s 3d 2h Ac).
You can go to showdown with 3-card Badugis (e.g. x-5d-4h-3s) and 2-card Badugis (x-x-2d-Ah), and even 1-card Badugis, but it's not common.
2 - Learn Good Starting Hands
It's important to get a basic grasp of hand rankings in Badugi. Refer to this handy 'cheat sheet' when playing so you know what Badugi hands you're aiming for. All hands are four cards in different suits.
A-2-3-4 (lowball straight, the 'nuts')
3 - Position Means Power
As with other draw-type games like 2-7 Lowball or 5-card Draw, position is extremely important. If you're last to act, you know whether players are going to draw cards or 'stand pat'. If you're fifth to act and the first three players have stood pat, chances are at least one of them has a solid hand.
In terms of betting, late position also lets you bet unraised pots and then stand pat on the draw to give the impression you yourself have a big hand.
4 - Look Out For Four Different Suits
Your objective in Badugi is to get a 4-card 'Badugi' - a hand that contains cards of four different suits. So, it's important to pay attention to your hand and make sure it really DOES have four suits and not two hearts and two spades. Conversely, look carefully to make sure your supposedly "garbage" hand of Ah 2h 5c 6c isn't actually Ah 2d 5c 6s, giving you a pretty solid Badugi.
5 - If Your Hand Sucks, Toss it Away
Draw games are fun as they are always changing and there's a certain thrill from receiving new cards on each betting turn. However, if you're drawing three or four cards to make a hand you're just chasing; toss it away and wait for another hand.
Drawing two cards is fine if you are in late position, you have two low unsuited cards, and the pot was unraised before the draw, but if there's been a raise beforehand, don't bother with calling and drawing the two cards.
6 - Play Your Strong Hands....Strongly
If you're dealt a strong hand like a Badugi from the off, you need to get those chips in there early to get rid of several players before the first draw. You don't want to have a Badugi going up against two or three players who may be drawing to a bigger Badugi than you. Your aim is always to get to a heads-up situation before the drawing starts.
7 - Adjust to Pot Limit Betting
If you're used to No Limit Hold'em you'll have to adjust to the Pot Limit betting you'll usually find in Badugi online. Protect your 3-card or 4-card Badugis with pot-sized bets as much as possible and put the pressure back on your opponents.
8 - Learn Pot Odds
If you're used to pot odds in Texas Hold'em, you're always looking for the odds of drawing cards to make a better 5-card hand. In Badugi, your hand only contains four cards and you have the luxury of three draws.
So, if you are on a final draw and you need to draw one card to make a Badugi you're looking for one of 10 cards in the deck to help you. Are those odds good enough for you, especially if one or more opponents have stood pat? If the odds don't make it a value bet, throw your hand away.
9 - Try Out a Well-Timed "Snow"
A "snow" in Badugi is when you stand pat on the first draw without a made Badugi. It can be a good ploy against weaker players who are paying attention to what you're doing, and standing pat will always be seen initially as a sign of strength.
It's particularly good to try a bluff if your opponent draws two cards on the first or second draw. He's hit a bad hand and he's desperately trying to improve.
Although you may not be that far ahead of him, a bluff may be enough to make him fold there and then.
10 - Hunt Out The Fish
Although it's still growing in popularity, Badugi isn't that widely available online in 2023. The majority of players are new to the game and that's why there's money to be made.
So, watch out for the aggro loons who keep drawing dead, bet your hands strongly, and target the passive fish with some nice bluffs. Start your stakes small, and once you've built up some experience online, move up to a tournament or higher-stakes cash game.
Finding Good Badugi Games Online
Lowball games in general are hard to find online, but hunt hard enough and you should be able to find a decent range of friendly Badugi games at low stakes.
PokerStars runs a huge range of Limit and Pot Limit Badugi cash games from .25/.50 all the way up to /800.
Tournaments are also available, with buy-ins ranging from .20 to . A Weekly Fixed Limit Badugi game carries a ,500 guaranteed prizepool but daily tourneys with buy-ins of have k guarantees. The games are popular enough that the guarantees are regularly met.