Badugi is a 4-card triple draw poker game originating in Korea. It is one of the simpler poker varieties, and can be played online at sites such as ACR Poker
To win a round of Badugi you are aiming to construct a four card hand with one card of each suit and no pairs. A hand constructed that way (for example 4d-Qh-9s-Tc) is known as a ‘Badugi’. Badugi is a lowball game, meaning that you’re looking for the lowest possible hand. The value of a Badugi is determined by the highest card in the hand, so in the example above we see a Queen Badugi. Only the highest card is important for determining hand rank, and so a 5c-6d-7h-8s Badugi would beat a Ac-2d-3h-9s Badugi. This means that the best possible Badugi hand is A-2-3-4, each of a different suit.
Badugi is a triple draw game, meaning that you are given three opportunities to swap the cards in your hand for ones from the top of the deck. You are permitted to swap none of your cards, all four of them, or anything in between.
The game is usually played using a pot-limit, half pot-limit, or limit betting structure. In pot-limit you are permitted to bet anything up to the current size of the pot, or up to half the pot in half-pot limit. Limit stakes will be written as $X/$Y. In the first two rounds of betting all bets must be $X, and in the remaining two rounds all bets must be $Y.
The order of play is similar to many of the more popular poker games. A large and small blind are placed by the players to the left of the dealer and four cards dealt to each player. A round of betting then commences, with the action moving clockwise from the player to the left of the big blind. Players can fold, check, call, or raise as normal. Once betting is complete you are given the opportunity to swap cards, starting with the player to the left of the dealer (small blind position) and proceeding clockwise.
Another round of betting begins, this time from the small blind position, followed by another chance to swap cards. Then begins the penultimate round of betting (at which point the bet amount would raise in a limit game), followed by the final chance to swap cards. The last round of betting follows, after which the remaining players show down their hands, with the winner taking the pot.
In the case were neither player has made a Badugi the winner would be the player with the best 3-card hand. In a 4s-5s-8c-9h hand one of the two spades would be discounted, effectively making it a 9-high three card hand. If there are no 3 card hands then you consider the two card hands, and finally the 1 card hands. A larger hand will always beat a smaller one. In the case of ties, the pot is shared.
You can find Badugi games on ACR Poker!
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