Let’s introduce a new and exciting draw poker variant. Unlike Texas Hold’Em, in this game, it’s all about the lowest hand. The less you have, the better.
Lowball’s Little Brother and Its Origin
We represent Badugi, an interesting poker variation, also known as Padooki, Badougi or Paduki. This card game shares some similarities with the triple draw. Since it is a draw poker type game, having low hand-values makes it compatible with lowball.
You could say that Badugi represents a mixture of a couple of poker variations. The main point of this game is that the lowest hand wins the prize. If you got tired of the classic card games, but still enjoy a little bluffing every now and then, this is a poker game you should try. At least, that’s what many poker players claim.
Badugi betting structure and overall gameplay are the same as the standard poker. This game uses blinds (forced bets), but its main difference compared to traditional poker is in the number of the cards players can use.
Where Did This Game Come From?
While talking about Badugi and its origin, we came across a few controversies. Some claim the game emerged back in the 1980s.
Namely, some reports indicate that the game appeared in Canada, in Winnipeg. However, its name was ‘Off Suit Lowball,’ and they played it in the back rooms of pool halls and poker clubs. There were also some leads which placed Badugi in South Korea, also in the mid-1980s.
On the other hand, some claim that the ancestor of the game is specifically ‘Off Of High Low,’ also found in Canada, only this time in Toronto. They claim it appeared during the 1970s to 1980s with another variant called ‘Leapfrog.’
In both of these variants, the primary objective was to get a five card hand with a mandatory pair. Since the rules were a bit demanding and complicated, the pot was often being transferred to the next hand — which made the prize even more desirable to the players.
Learn How to Play With Us; Remember — Less is More in Badugi
Namely, players use a minimum of 5 cards in poker, while in Badugi hands, players use four cards. The match begins with the forced bet, also known as the blinds. The player to the left of the dealer makes a small bet (small blind). On the other hand, the player sitting on the right makes a big bet (big blind). It is usual for the small blind to be half of the big blind’s value.
Each player gets four cards, all of them facing down. This initiates the first betting round, where you have the choice to either raise, call or fold. The players placed left of the big have the option to choose if they are going to draw.
Now, the idea of drawing is basically your choice — you can discard any unwanted cards or replace the ones you have with some new random ones. Additionally, you can also abandon all four of your cards if you want to.
After this, the second betting round can begin. The players have the options to either fold or bet, or to check in case there are no bets placed. Once this round is completed, another betting and draw match takes place. Then the fourth and final betting round commences. After that, an ultimate showdown can take place — in case that more than one player remains in the match, that is.
The player with the strongest hand (with the lowest value in this case), takes the pot as the big winner.
Badugi Basic Strategy
The primary purpose of this game is to make a Badugi, which means you need to have a four card low hand of different suits, and you can’t have any pairs. Therefore, the most robust winning card combination is of different suits; 4 – 3 – 2 – Ace.
A player who holds the so-called ‘Nine Badugi’ (9 – 8 – 4 -3), each of different suits, loses to a player holding an ‘Eight Badugi’ (8 – 7 – 3 – 2), also of different suits.
Furthermore, a ‘Six Badugi’ (6 – 3 – 2 – ace) is stronger than the two named above, but it loses from the ‘Five Badugi’ (5 – 4 – 3 – 2) combination. If the highest cards in the player’s hands are tied, then the next highest card is considered. This means that the ‘Six-Five Badugi’ (6 – 5 – 4 – ace) loses from a ‘Six-Four Badugi’ (6 – 4 – 3 – 2), with a card combination of different suits.
Now, in case a hand reaches a showdown, and if no players have Badugi, the pot will be won by the individual who owns the best two or three-card hand.
Why Would You Choose Badugi?
It is essential to always think about the position since the player who acts the last can obtain the information on which hands the other players might have. They can base this assumption on the number of discarded cards.
Naturally, this leaves a lot of place for calculations and strategy making. The more you practice these strategies, the better you’ll become. Bear this in mind — if the opponent acts before you, then don’t discard anything — they probably have a strong hand.
We have to mention that once we tried this fun poker variant, we were blown away. It is refreshing to try your luck in something entirely different than the Seven Card Stud or Texas Hold’Em poker. So if you are getting tired of the most popular card games, you should definitely try this one — we promise that you will love it. That being said, there is nothing more to add than the usual — good luck and have fun!