What makes a good Badugi hand

The rules of Badugi are very straight forward. Every player is dealt four cards face down and the goal is to get all 4 cards in different suits, and as low as possible. Aces are low.

Having all cards in different suits is called a “Badugi”, and that is crucial in making a good hand.

If you end up with a hand that has multiple cards of one suit then the highest card of that suit is not counted in your final hand. And a 4 card hand always beats a 3 card hand and so on.

The same goes for cards of the same rank. If you have a pair that means one of the paired cards doesn’t count and you have a 3 card hand. If you have trips then you have a 2 card hand and so on. The absolutely worst hands in Badugi are quads or when all cards are of the same suit, which means only one card is counted to make the final hand.

Sometimes you may find yourself holding both pairs and suited cards. Your final hand is always consisting of keeping the lowest cards among the maximum amount of cards of different ranks and suites.

The Game

The game starts with the person to the left of the button being delt one card and then the dealing goes on in clockwise direction until every player has 4 cards. Just like in holdem and many other forms of poker, the one to the left of the button posts a small blind and the one to the left of him posts a big blind. The player first to act in the game is the one to the left of the big blind who then can opt to fold, call or raise just like in any other form of poker. Bets and raises in Badugi are most commonly restricted to limit, pot limit or half-pot limit sizes.

If two or more players have identical ranks of their cards, the pot is split between them, just like in holdem. The same holdem rules applies to side pots, when a player is all in.

In full ring games where lots of cards have been drawn it can happen that there are no cards left in the deck. If that occurs, all discarded cards (from players who have folded and cards discarded when drawing) are reshuffled and reused when dealing.