Badugi is essentially a lowball draw game. This means that the aim is to make the lowest possible unpaired four card hand, but with one very important twist. You only hold a qualifying four card hand provided they are all different suits. This makes the primary objective to obtain a club, heart, spade, and diamond, which is called a Badugi. Ideally they should be low cards, although any made Badugi will often be enough to win, with an ace counting as the lowest card in this game. Each player has three chances to draw cards in order to complete a hand and if no one can make a Badugi, the lowest three card hand wins. Against a player drawing one card on the final draw, you’re actually a favourite to win with Ac2s3h, so don’t immediately give up on any pot where you don’t make a four card hand.
How to Bet on Badugi
Each hand begins with blinds being placed and any subsequent raises then being made. In a 0.25/0.50 game bet sizes are 0.25 in the first round of betting and also after the first draw. The next two rounds of betting, after the second and third draw, would then be 0.50. The game is almost exclusively played with a fixed limit betting structure.
As with any fixed limit game, bluffing is less common and player focus on trying to make good decisions based on pot odds. That isn’t to say that bluffing is obsolete however. With three good low cards, you will complete a ten low Badugi or better, quite infrequently on the final draw. As an example, Ac2h3s leaves you with seven diamonds of value ten or low that don’t pair you. That’s seven good cards and forty bad ones, if we assume you drew one card in the first two rounds of betting. This means people will miss often, and you can stand pat without a real hand and get players to fold.