Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Badugi Rules

HyperMegaGlobalCorp is going to get shortchanged on their pound of my flesh today, as somehow I think production is going to be very, very low. I realize it's a slippery slope but days before major holidays always seem a bit ridiculous at the workplace, as 1/3 of the monkeys are actually here, and only 1/8 of that 1/3 even attempts to get anything done.

I've been playing a ton of Badugi the last few days and really enjoying it. As far as I know, the Tribeca network (Doyle's Room is the best bet for a site on that network) is the only online site that spreads it. Badugi is a four card lowball game, aces low, but the catch is that your suits are also important. The absolute best hand is (no ranking for the suits themselves, so any A 2 3 4 of four different suits is the mortal nuts).

It's just like any other lowball game, as far as beating . Any hand of all four suits (which is known as a Badugi in general) beats any hand that has either a pair or two of the same suits. If you have a pair or two of the same suit, you essentially get to play only three cards, as you have to throw out the second matching card that makes the pair or is of the same suit.

So beats , since you have to throw out the in the second hand because it's the same suit as the 3, giving you just a three card hand that always loses to any four card hand.

beats , as you throw out the pairs and matching suits and are left with two three card hands, with the first one the better lowball hand.

As far as the action, every player is dealt four cards to begin with, followed by a betting round. Remaining players then choose to draw, up to four cards. There's a second betting round, followed by a second drawing round. Third betting round, third drawing round. Then the final betting round and showdown.

One interesting thing is that Badugi is spread at Doyle's Room as a Limit, Pot Limit, and Half Pot Limit game. It's the Half Pot Limit one that's interesting, especially in combination with the drawing nature of Badugi, as you get some pretty large pots going on a regular basis, with people still drawing on the final drawing round. The half pot structure keeps people in the hand, as in many cases everyone is still drawing, so the pots can get ginormous quickly, even at lower limits.

The math is a bit counterintutive if you're used to playing Razz and other lowball games, as it's actually reasonably difficult to draw to a Badugi. If you start with , you're pretty psyched, and are obviously going to pitch the K and keep the A 2 3, likely staying in the hand (and even playing it pretty fast) until after the last drawing round. The problem, though, is that you're actually only 49% to make a Badugi at all by the end, and even then it may be a poor one, with Q high, K high, etc. That's not to say you slow down with the above hand, just that it's more difficult than it first appears to hit your Badugi, which I think leads to inflated pots and lemurs throwing around chips more haphazradly than they normally would.

Like any lowball drawing variant, the real difficulty is knowing when to break a Badugi. If it's short-handed, your starting hand of might hold up, with any Badugi winning, no matter how high, so you can stand pat with that and raise it up. If someone draws one, though, and suddenly wakes up, playing back at you, you more than likely need to break the Badugi, discard the K, and try to draw to a better hand.

A 7 or 8 high Badugi is pretty damn good and will win a majority of the time, so you don't have to be going to showdown with the absolute nuts to win. Remember, the difficulty of getting four cards of low, different suits slightly inflates what you need at showdown to win, so it's a good bit different than Razz, despite other obvious similarities.

I may quickly change my tune, as I've only been playing for a few days, but so far I have to say that there's more dead, dumb money in Badugi than in any other variant I've played online. Yeah, you definitely get some dumbos at Razz and Triple Draw and Omaha that barely understand the rules, but nowhere near what I've seen at the Badugi tables at Doyle's Room. It can be hard finding a game at off-peak hours, but there's generally a decent number of tables running, especially at lower limits.

If anyone has more experience with Badugi and any strategy or tips, I'd be all ears, as I'm definitely still a newbie and there's not a whole lot of information out there written about it.


WillWonka said...

hmmm interesting.. I can't wait to bring this out at the home game.

Is this a mult-deck game? How many players at a table at DoylesRoom?

ScurvyDog said...


It's single deck, so you'll possibly have to reshuffle at times in home games. I think they have full ring tables available Doyle'sRoom but almost all the action is at 6 max.

fozzy711 said...

What is ur screen name? i am on there constantly since it came online, i love it.

Kent said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kent said...

Thanks for introducing me to Badugi! I'm going to play it tonight in a home game.

You got a link-back from my page for sharing the game!

Grinder said...

Badugi Rules

I just found this game myself and feel withteh total lack of any real information on the game besides rules - it's a good thing!

Good take on strategy