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Poker Strategy | Poker Variants

Badugi Rules - How to Play Badugi

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Badugi is a poker variant of triple-draw, where each player is allowed to draw as many of his/her cards as desired up to three times before the showdown.  The object of the game is to construct the lowest possible four-card hand containing one card of each suit with no pairs.  Badugi is played with a small blind and big blind, much like Texas Holdem, and can be found at limit stakes (where each bet and raise is a specific value based on the house rules, and where the limit doubles after the second draw), pot limit stakes (where players can bet up to the current value of the pot at any time) and no limit stakes (where players can risk any amount up to the full amount they have on the table on any turn).

Before the deal, the small blind (the player to the left of the dealer) puts up a bet normally equal to 50% of the big blind (in some cases, it may be less than this), and the big blind also puts out a bet.  Each player is then dealt four cards face down, one at a time.  Assuming that it is a limit game, the player to the left of the big blind has the option to fold, call the amount of the big blind or raise the same amount as the big blind.  Each player in turn then has the same option, with the maximum number of raises in the round determined by house rules.  If the pot is not raised before the action returns to the small blind, that player needs to complete his original bet to the amount of the big blind in order to stay in the hand.  The big blind, again assuming no other raise has been made, then has the option to either check or raise.

Once the betting for the first round is complete, the remaining players, beginning with the first player with cards, can draw up to four cards.  This process happens in a clockwise fashion, until all players have had the opportunity to draw.

After the first draw, another round of betting takes place, with the first player with cards starting the action by either checking or betting.  The betting then proceeds in the same manner as the previous round.

A second draw now takes place, in the same order as the first, followed by a third round of betting, in which the betting limit doubles (note that in pot limit and no limit games, the betting is the same in every round).  Once this round is done, a third draw is dealt, and one final round of action at the higher limit completes the hand.

•    The hands are compared.  The hands are ranked as follows:  
•    If only one player has made a Badugi (a card of each suit with no pairs), that player wins the pot.  
•    If more than one player has a Badugi, the highest card of each hand is compared, and the player with the LOWEST high card wins (with aces being considered low).  
•    If more than one player has the same best high card, the second-highest cards are compared, and so on.  

Straights are not counted against the hand - the best possible hand is the 4-3-2-A of different suits.  If no one has a Badugi, the player with the lowest three-card qualifier is the winner, based on who has the best high card that can be played.  For example, if one player has {A-Spades}{2-Spades}{3-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}, he would lose to {6-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}{K-Clubs}, because the first player would have to play the 10-2-A, while the second would have a 9-7-6, since the king would not play in the latter hand, while the 10 would have to be used in the former.  Should no one have even a three-card hand, the best two-card hand would win, based on the same comparison.  If more than one player has the exact same best low hand, they split the pot.

*Introduction to Badugi*

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